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Hybrid vs. Electric: Everything You Need To Know

Image via Flickr by Daniel Piraino

Image via Flickr by Daniel Piraino

This year the Detroit Auto Show will introduce many new electric and hybrid cars. Some are concept cars and won’t be available for a while, but others are already for sale at local dealerships. With tax incentives often offered and the need to lessen our carbon footprint, you may be considering one of these fuel-efficient vehicles. If so, it’s important to understand the differences between a hybrid and an electric car.

The Rebirth of the Electric Car

Tesla introduced its all-electric vehicle, the Model S, in June 2012. Since then, sales have rapidly grown. The car leads the electric pack with approximately 265 miles per charge.

The success of Tesla encouraged other manufacturers to join in the pursuit of creating the best all-electric car. Now, Audi is close to releasing its R8 e-Tron, which is expected to be in the 280-mile range. Ford and Chevy are following suit and have also released electric cars. Their cars do not come close to the distances driven per charge of the Tesla and Audi, but their prices are much more affordable for the masses that want to own all-electric vehicles.

History of the Hybrid

Hybrid vehicles were available before the Toyota Prius, but the Prius marked the beginning of hybrids availability for the masses. The Toyota Prius set the bar for hybrid vehicles. Since then, most automobile manufacturers have introduced some form of hybrid.

Hybrids run on both electricity and gasoline. They are more affordable than their all-electric counterparts and have grown in popularity. Today, hybrids are commonly seen on the road.

Pros and Cons of Owning an All-Electric Vehicle

The biggest advantage of all-electric vehicles is that they are green, benefiting the environment far more than any gasoline or hybrid vehicle ever could. They have almost no carbon footprint. EV automobiles come loaded with the latest technology, which gives them the cool factor. Also, you can hit the gas and feel the instant torque with almost no sound.

The biggest con to owning an all-electric is the EV range when compared to the price. To get a car that can go the same distance as your gas-powered vehicle, you are going to pay $70,000 or more. As more of these cars become available, that is likely to change.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Hybrid

The hybrid combines the technology of the gas-powered engine with electric technology. Once the battery drains, the car converts to gasoline power. If used correctly, the conversion makes the cars up to 80 percent cleaner than cars with traditional gas-powered engines. Significant gas savings paired with tax incentives make hybrids a wise investment.

One of the biggest problems with hybrids is that they are best in terms of fuel economy if driven in the city. If you commute to work on a highway, you probably will not enjoy the savings, because the difference in fuel economy is negligible.

Both all-electric vehicles and hybrids are excellent overall investments, in particular for the environment. Today, you will find more options available with hybrid models, but with new technology and vehicles in the electric market, those options may change quickly.