Electric cars are said to be the wave of the future. And despite relatively low demand, certain consumers turn to electric and hybrid vehicles in order to help them cut down on fuel costs, or because the greener option aligns with their values.
Still, hybrid and even fully electric cars rely on emerging technology and are a very new area of the market. If you’re inclined to go green, you might not know whether to chose a hybrid vehicle (one that runs on gas and electricity from a battery) or one that is entirely electric. Here’s what to consider when making the choice:
Fully Electric Cars: Fully electric cars rely solely on battery power to run. When the battery runs low, it is plugged in to a source of electricity where it can recharge before the next ride without ever needing gas.
- Pro: Never visit a gas station again. Re-read that last line: If you chose a fully electric vehicle you’ll never need to stop by the pump. For individuals committed to reducing their dependence on fossil fuel, this is a considerable selling point.
- Con: Limited Choices. Fully electric vehicles remain rare. Tesla is arguably the most well-known electric car manufacturer, but the starting price may be a deterrent for some car buyers looking for affordable EV options. However, more traditional manufacturers are getting in on the action with Kia Soul EV, Ford Focus Electric, and Chevy Bolt.
- Pro: Zippy Engines. You might not hear the roar of a V8, but electric engines respond (and accelerate) quickly, making them fun to drive.
- Con: Fear of The Unknown. Because fully electric cars are relatively new to market, no one knows exactly how they will be holding up in 10 years. If you’re looking for a long-term car, an EV may not be the best investment over the long haul.
Hybrid Vehicles: Hybrid vehicles rely both on battery power and on energy produced by a traditional combustible engine. In some hybrids — like the popular Toyota Prius — the battery is recharged when the car brakes or coasts. Because of this, it never has to be plugged in. However, there are some hybrid models that do need to be plugged in to recharge.
- Pro: Easing The Transition. Because hybrids have a combustible engine, as well as battery power, many drivers feel more secure in the range department. If you chose a hybrid, you won’t need to worry about running out of power and being stranded (the so-called “range anxiety” that many electric vehicle drivers fear).
- Con: Less Thrilling To Drive. Hybrid vehicles are all about efficiency. They have to pack two types of engine into one car, which can make them heavy compared to the amount of power those engines produce. Hybrids will get you where you need to go, but won’t produce any thrills along the way.
- Pro: More Variety. These days there are lots of options for hybrid vehicles. The Prius remains the best selling hybrid, but it is far from the only option. In fact, most mainstream manufacturers now offer hybrid options of popular SUVs, and Chrysler recently introduced a hybrid minivan.
- Con: Still Relies On Gas. While hybrids take a step away from reliance on fossil fuels, they still need gasoline to run. For people who are looking for the most environmentally-friendly driving option, this is a negative.
Hybrids and fully electric vehicles still make up just 1 percent of total car sales in America. However, for those look to go green, there are plenty of good options at your disposal.