Sales of hybrid cars have gone from strength to strength since the iconic Toyota Prius first hit the roads back in 2000. Now, there’s no longer just a choice of petrol hybrid vehicles, but several manufacturers now offer diesel powered units too. With a plethora of hybrid cars available for sale in 2015, and more planned for the future, hybrid models now rank favourably alongside conventional cars as the preferred form of transport.
Why should you buy a hybrid car?
After over a decade of sales, hybrids are now a common sight and are considered as a realistic option when choosing a new car, especially when you consider that, in comparison to conventional cars, hybrids improve fuel economy by approximately 20%-25%, while also showing a considerable reduction in exhaust emissions. If you find yourself doing most of your driving in urban conditions, a hybrid would prove to be a good choice as they’ve been seen to perform well in start-stop conditions, particularly as the battery has the ability to recoup some of the energy that would normally be lost when using the brake. Furthermore, many hybrid cars offer a zero-emission mode for those times when you’re only covering a short distance, as it’s possible to drive solely in electric mode.
However, if you tend to mainly drive long distances, a hybrid car is probably not the best choice of vehicle for you, as the hybrid power-train is unable to add much to the efficiency of the engine when it’s driven at a high constant power. For long distance drivers, a clean diesel engine is more likely to offer better fuel efficiency.
What kind of hybrids are currently available?
While there are now a plethora of hybrid models available, the third generation Toyota Prius still remains very popular. However, other car manufacturers have come up with their own versions of the hybrid car, including Honda, Volkswagen and Porsche, with many more looking to jump on the bandwagon in the future. Ford have just brought their all-new Mondeo to the UK market, with the advanced Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) version; Ford’s first HEV to be manufactured in Europe, available through UK Ford dealers now.
Incorporating the latest technologies
Hybrid cars are constantly being updated with the latest technology and plug-in hybrid cars are now making an appearance. Equipped with larger capacity batteries and a charging socket, the plug-in hybrids could be considered to be one step closer to being a battery operated car.
Are hybrids more expensive than conventional cars?
At present, the cost of buying a hybrid car is around 20% higher than the cost of a non-hybrid petrol or diesel equivalent. This additional cost covers the price of the hybrid drive-train, which is obviously more complex and also requires a higher quality and larger battery. As hybrids become more commonplace and the cost of hybrid drive-trains comes down, the overall price is set to reduce in the future, although that’s likely to be several years down the line. However, on the plus side, running costs are generally less for hybrids as compared to conventional cars, due to the high fuel economy of the vehicles.