hybrid vs electric cars

Hybrid Cars Vs. Electric Cars: Which One Should You Buy?

by

Noel Joseph
August 9, 2021
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The technology surrounding car manufacturing has always been dynamic.

However, never in the history of making cars has there been a single unified method followed by all. Instead, every automaker has strived to make its signature tech stand out.

Now, companies across the globe have worked to create emphasis around electric cars. We must add that they have been wildly successful in their endeavors and that there is considerable demand for the new groundbreaking technology in vehicles. 

We have collectively begun moving away from traditional gasoline and fossil fuel-powered cars and have started embracing cleaner electric energy to run our vehicles. EVs are a billion-dollar industry that has potential markets all over the world.

Numerous automakers are rushing into markets with new electric models every season to cash in on the enormous potential of this industry. 

Electric cars can be fully electric or hybrid. Both types have different mechanisms that power them and have their pros and cons, too.

Here, we will try to understand how each type of car works, the costs of owning each type, and the benefits of each kind. Of course, we will also answer most questions about EVs that any layperson would have. So, let’s dive into it.

Speed

How fast does an electric car go compared to a hybrid model?

To answer this question, we must look at how each type of vehicle functions. 

How fast can an electric car go?

how fast are electric car

Electric cars are just as efficient as any other regular car. They are powered by an electric motor that needs to be charged to move the vehicle ahead. These motors are different from the engines of traditional gasoline cars. Gasoline cars are run by Internal Combustion Engines or ICEs, which run on fossil fuels. 

The engine of an electric car is what makes the technology stand out. It enables the vehicle to cruise at average speeds, just like any regular automobile. If you wonder just how fast an electric car can go, prepare to have your mind blown.

The fastest recorded electric car has reached top speeds of over 250 mph. Now compare it to the maximum speed of an ICE car, which is a little over 300 mph, and you will realize that electric vehicles are just as fast as any other car. 

An electric car engine is more straightforward than an ICE. That allows it to give superior acceleration to electric cars. There is zero loss of power when the electric charges move from the engine to the wheels.

That gives an unreal amount of acceleration to electric cars. In fact, ICEs can never work to their full potential because some part of the generated energy is lost in transmission inside the car’s powertrain.

Consequently, electric cars accelerate just as fast as any other car and sometimes even quicker. For example, the fastest electric car can go from 0-60mph in less than two seconds.

Lastly, thanks to their smooth and sturdy engine motor, electric cars can sustain their speed for a long time, unlike ICE cars, which have to worry about overheating.

How fast does a hybrid car go?

Let’s try to gauge what exactly a hybrid car is. A hybrid vehicle has both a gasoline engine and an electric motor powering the vehicle.

It is an amalgamation of powerful and eco-friendly driving. However, some people perceive the amalgamation as a compromise, a step down from their regular car with a roaring engine. 

The ICE in a hybrid car is smaller than one in a regular car. As a result, hybrid car engines produce lower torque and give you lower horsepower. You should know that this engine is the primary driving force of the car.

The electric motor is used only when the vehicle is stationary or in traffic. The car consumes less fuel this way and proves to be very eco-friendly. On most other roads, a hybrid car will be powered by its gasoline engine so that it can travel at faster speeds. 

Hybrids are not the fastest cars on the block. But they still fare well on the road. While it is true that you will not flame through the highways on a hybrid vehicle, you will also not be sitting in a clunky little box trying hard to climb a slope.

Commonly used hybrids are known to reach speeds of 100 mph comfortably. That speed is more than enough for any travel or commute. Most regular cars and electric cars also have engines that might show discomfort after the 100 mph mark. Therefore, hybrids may not be the fastest, but they are not falling behind. 

Some upcoming concepts from EV makers include a hybrid car model that can go from 0-60 mph in less than four seconds. That model is also set to have a top speed of close to 200 mph. 

Power

Pop culture has created a perception of electric and hybrid cars to be “flaky.”

However, all-electrics and hybrids have potent engines that work just the same without making loud noises. Let us look at what kind of power each engine generates. 

Electric car engine power

engine inside tesla

Let’s clear something up. The performance of a 100 kW electric motor in a car is superior to that of a 100 kW ICE. It is because a regular car’s maximum torque can be achieved only at certain engine speeds, whereas electric motors deliver their maximum torque over a wide range of RPMs. 

In an electric car engine, electric energy is converted into mechanical energy. A battery stores direct current converted into alternating current and is finally converted into mechanical energy using a 3-phase AC motor. You will notice that there are no effluents created in this conversion process. Therefore, there are no emissions from the engine of an electric car. 

While the design of electric car engines is drastically different from that of ICEs, their power output range is similar to that of ICEs. The concept of ‘power output’ means the amount of energy (mechanical output) delivered within a time frame. For example, a car’s power output decides its ability to accelerate or climb up a hill. It describes the pulling power of the car’s motor. 

The power output of cars is generally calculated by multiplying the car’s speed with its torque measured in units like watts and kilowatts. 

The engines of all-electric cars are more efficient than gasoline engines. This is because they convert a more significant chunk of their input into mechanical energy. Consequently, you end up losing less fuel (electric charge) in an electric car than an ICE-powered one. 

Hybrid car engine power

Hybrid car engine power

A hybrid electric car has two power sources – an ICE and an electric motor. The electric motor runs on a battery.

However, you cannot charge this battery by plugging it into a socket. Instead, it is charged by techniques like regenerative braking. Alternatively, it can be charged using the ICE as well. These features have been clubbed together to create a more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly car without compromising on performance. 

The real question to answer here is whether hybrid car engines generate more power than all-electrics and ICEs. Since their engine combines two power sources, a hybrid car can generate extra energy when needed using the electric motor.

That means, if a hybrid vehicle has to run up a steep slope while lugging considerable weight, it can generate the energy of a larger car without having the bulky engines of one. 

The ICEs inside a hybrid car are smaller than traditional ICEs. The decrease in size is to accommodate the electric motor in the engine.

However, the main ICE inside a hybrid car produces less power output due to the smaller size than a conventional ICE. That means a hybrid vehicle will generate less torque and lower speeds than a standard ICE-powered car. 

Durability

All-electrics and hybrids are gradually entering the modern stereotypic lifestyle.

The sales of each type of car have only been increasing in the last decade. That means people are slowly trusting these vehicles more and more, and we can expect a rise in various kinds of electric cars around us now. 

The pertinent question to ask is, how long do these electric and hybrid cars last? How durable are they? People choose to purchase such machines based on their life expectancy. So, let’s find out how long each type of car lasts. 

The durability of electric cars

All cars on the market today are made of the same kind of materials and entail the same amount of durable goods on their machines. The only stark difference between each manufacturer’s cars is inside the hood. That’s right; the real question is how long do an electric car battery and engine last. 

While a single full charge of the electric battery can take the car approximately 200 miles on average, the car’s durability is tested by how long the battery of an electric vehicle works.

Most EV makers claim that their stock batteries will last as long as the car will, i.e., for life. However, upon careful inspection, users found that EV batteries last approximately a decade before they have to be replaced. 

Additionally, there have been a few reports of all-electric engines spontaneously combusting. Often, that is because of a faulty battery or a few faulty spare parts in the machine. Such instances are generally counted as exceptions for battery life, but you cannot ignore them completely. 

Ideally, after purchasing a brand new electric car, you can expect the batteries to last 10-12 years before you need replacements. However, it is safe to bet that you will have purchased a new car by then. 

The durability of hybrid cars

durability of hybrid cars

The durability of hybrid cars is roughly the same as that of all-electric vehicles. However, a dual-power source system means that there is less pressure on the electric motor. As a result, the motor itself is expected to last longer than the motor in an all-electric car. 

However, the ICE in a hybrid car may have a shorter lifespan than its electric motor. Cumulatively, the engine of a hybrid vehicle is expected to last approximately 150,000 miles. On average, that distance equates to car use for more than a decade. 

If you have a newly bought hybrid car, then you have nothing to fear. The worry of battery lifespan only plagues the drivers who ride older hybrid vehicles, think five years and older. The lifespan of hybrid car batteries can be affected by quite a few things.

Your style of driving the car, the climate in which you drive your car, the amount you spend driving the car each day, etc., are a few factors that rule over the lifespan of hybrid car batteries. However, their durability is more or less the same as that of all-electric cars. 

Maintenance

One thing separates traditional ICE-powered cars and electric automobiles – maintenance costs.

It is common knowledge that maintaining an electric vehicle costs less than taking care of a gasoline car. So, let’s find out the cost of maintaining an all-electric vehicle and that of a hybrid vehicle.

All-electric car maintenance

maintenace

Electric cars are more expensive than gasoline-powered cars. However, they justify the steep price by being light on your pockets in the long run. All-electrics have no engine-like structure resembling an ICE.

They only have a motor that converts electric charges into mechanical energy. Therefore, there are no moving parts in the engine of an EV. Since there are no moving parts, drivers do not have to spend money repairing or servicing these elements. 

The only maintenance cost generated by an all-electric car is repairing brake parts and replacing batteries once they wear out. Most electric automakers guarantee their customers that the stock batteries in their cars will last for life.

However, replacing batteries is not an inexpensive affair, either. Therefore, handling an electric vehicle comes with the risk of having to replace your batteries. On the other hand, all the costs you face of servicing your car five times a year are blown away when you own an electric vehicle. 

Hybrid car maintenance

Hybrid cars have the same engine as an all-electric car, only with an additional ICE. Since the weight of powering the vehicle is shared by two power sources, both the ICE and the electric motor do not face the wear and tear that an average machine would face.

Therefore, servicing costs for the ICE in a hybrid car would be less than those incurred for a traditional gasoline car. Also, since the hybrid electric motor faces less degeneration, the battery lasts longer than a regular electric motor, ensuring a reduction in repair costs. 

However, despite having lower service and maintenance costs than a traditional ICE-powered car, hybrid car maintenance costs more than all-electric car maintenance. This difference is primarily due to servicing costs incurred on the ICEs in hybrid vehicles.

In addition, changing engine oils, transmission fluids, replacing coolants, etc., can add up over time and increase maintenance prices. In the long run, though, getting your hands on a hybrid electric vehicle is a good investment.

Fuel Costs

Both EVs and HEVs need “juice” to function. For both these types of cars, the fuel is electricity.

However, hybrid cars also need traditional gasoline to run their ICEs. The cost of electricity depends on where you live and how often your vehicle needs charging. For hybrids, the fuel cost is the sum of traditional fossil fuels costs and electricity costs. 

All-electric car fuel costs

electric car durability

All-electric cars save you money in terms of fuel costs since electricity is significantly cheaper than gas. These savings justify the steep pricing of electric vehicles.

So, how much does electricity exactly cost? Studies show that a majority of EV owners charge their cars at home. Depending on where they live, the cost of charging a vehicle could be anywhere between 0.08 – 0.3 $/kW.

As a result, EV users spend somewhere between $1000-1500 every year on electricity. That number is considerably less than the fuel costs incurred by traditional ICE users or even hybrid users. 

Hybrid car fuel costs

Hybrid cars are designed to be fuel-efficient. They constantly shift between ICEs and electric motors to ensure that drivers spend less on fuel. On the contrary, if you use your electric motor too much, you only add to your home electricity bill. 

However, you must understand that an all-electric car would have lower fuel costs than a hybrid car. That is because fuel costs for a hybrid are a cumulative sum of fossil fuels and electricity for the car. 

Which kind of electric car should you buy?

Electric vehicles are a boon to humanity today. They stand for clean energy, fuel efficiency, and eco-friendly automobile manufacturing.

Gradually, governments across the globe are also incorporating EVs and HEVs into service and onto roads. Moreover, they are also promoting EV-promoting infrastructure like a system of public charging points. 

For every citizen looking to purchase a new car, an electric vehicle is the better choice. However, choosing between all-electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles is a slightly tricky problem because both types of vehicles have their pros and cons.

If you are attached to the feeling and emotion behind your traditional ICE-powered vehicle, then you can buy a hybrid electric car. It will provide you the joy of a roaring fuel engine and will also have environmental benefits. 

On the other hand, all-electric cars are revolutionary in the automobile industry. They release no effluents in the environment and are easy on your pockets after you purchase them. They also face less depreciation in market value than other traditional ICE cars because of their groundbreaking technology. 

Conclusion

Purchasing any kind of electric vehicle is like holding an advance ticket to the future. It is better than conventional gasoline vehicles in every way.

As for the speed and performance of gas-based vehicles, electric ones are merely an inch away from overtaking them.

Currently, roughly 5% of cars in the world are some kind of electric car. However, we can promise that that number will only go up soon. 

Resources:

Noel Joseph

Noel Joseph has been in the world of motor vehicles for a long period. Currently, he is enthusiastic about Electric & Hybrid Motors and is an independent researcher. He advocates for a clean and sustainable future and envisions utilizing his years of experience in mechanical engineering. His new venture here at CompactPower.com is to organize and simplify knowledge on Electric vehicles. He wants to build a space where people can talk about EVs and associated technologies with freedom.