Hybrid cars 101

Feb 16, 2018 | Cars

When most of us think about cars, we think about the kind that run on gas – normal cars, you might say. (Don’t say that in front of a hybrid though.) We’re giving hybrid cars their own moment in the spotlight by sharing the ins and outs of these interesting vehicles

What is a hybrid car? 

A hybrid car is one that has two sources of power — an electric motor and a traditional engine. Regular cars don’t have an electric motor. This is different from an electric car, which is totally battery-operated. A lot of people want to drive an environmentally friendly vehicle, but they’re not quite comfortable switching to an all-electric car. The hybrid is a nice compromise between going completely green and sticking with what you know.

Types of hybrid cars 

There are two main kinds of hybrids — the regular and the plug-in. The regular hybrid has a gas engine and an electric motor. The plug-in hybrid has a gas engine and an electric battery. It’s creatively named a plug-in because you can plug it into an outlet and charge it. Charging the car can take anywhere from eight to twenty hours and it will last for forty miles or so.

Pros of hybrid cars

Fuel

The most obvious advantage of a hybrid car is that it uses less fuel. The electric motor will take over when the car is idling, or going slowly through stop-and-go traffic. Plus, when you brake, the energy you create through braking goes back into the battery, prolonging its life. A hybrid balances the two fuel sources efficiently and even shows you how to be a better driver. That’s right — a hybrid car is your personal efficiency guide. The display will show you how much gas you’re burning per mile and how much energy you get back through the brakes.

Environmentally friendly

Hybrid cars are also friendlier to the environment than traditional cars. They create fewer emissions, which generate fewer greenhouse gases. That’s definitely a good thing. Some states will even let you skip out on an emissions test when you register the car because it’s cleaner than gas cars. That’s a win you’ll especially appreciate when you spend Saturday morning sleeping in rather than waiting in line at the area testing center.

Tax breaks

There can be tax incentives for hybrid cars as well. Depending on the make and model of your car, you can get a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. Individual states have incentives as well. For example, if you live in California and you own a Kia Niro, you can get a rebate of $1,500. Hybrid cars tend to have a higher resale value, too. That’s because used hybrid cars can be a rare find, and they tend to be in better shape than other cars.

Cons of hybrid cars

Cost

The most obvious disadvantage of a hybrid car is that it’s very expensive. The tax incentives and fuel efficiency can make it less daunting, but buying a hybrid is still a costly proposition. Hybrids can also be harder to maintain, since a lot of mechanics don’t typically work on hybrids.

Size

If you have a big family, hybrids can be problematic from a space perspective. There aren’t a lot of hybrids that have a third row. Most of them are smaller, which is fine if you’re a party of two, but difficult if you’re trying to fit Danny, Susie, Jenny, James and Ben in the back. (Move over!)

With any vehicle, there are upsides and downsides. If you’re looking into going green and need some help financing a hybrid car, our team is always here to help. Whether you have questions about APR rates or mechanical repair coverage, we’ve got you. Check it out at https://www.andigo.org/Borrow/Vehicle-Loans

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