Are you looking for a new car? Gasoline prices are tough and electric cars can be expensive, but there’s good news: hybrid cars aren’t just cheaper — they might actually be better than all-electric cars in today’s world.
Hybrids are the perfect compromise (for now)
This article is not about attacking electric cars. Affordable zero-emission electric cars powered by a widespread infrastructure of charging stations – all powered by inexpensive clean energy – are the dream. It’s a world we’d like to see.
But electric cars have some serious problems from 2022 onwards. They can be a lot more expensive than gas cars, and This new EV credit in the Inflation Reduction Act is quite complicated. Even if you could afford it, you’re dependent on charging stations, which just aren’t as widespread as gas stations. (They’re more common in some areas than others.) And how do you charge an electric car at night when you live in an apartment complex without chargers or have to park on a street?
Likewise, traditional petrol-powered cars have the obvious advantages of being cheaper upfront and being able to fill up at widely available gas stations. But although they are cheaper to buy, you pay at the pump. Gas prices have fallen a little since their peak in 2022, but who knows what will happen in the future. (Of course, emissions are a real concern – but there’s a strong case for avoiding traditional petrol-powered cars just out of personal interest!)
That’s why you should take a look at hybrids. Hybrids combine many of the advantages of electric cars with many of the advantages of gas-powered cars.
That said, if you’re looking forward to paying top dollar for an electric car and you know the charging experience will work for you, go ahead! This article is for the rest of us – those who balk at the high cost of electric cars and wonder if the traditional gas-powered car is a better option. There is a third way.
So, about the range of this expensive electric vehicle…
Let’s talk price and how it compares to range. Here is a look at the prices of some new electric cars and their charging range as of 09/14/2022.
- 2022 Tesla Model 3: $46,990 (267-mile range)
- 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5 SUV: $39,950 (range of 220 miles)
- 2022 Mazda MX-30EV: $33,470 (100-mile range)
- 2023 Chevy Bolt EV: $25,600 (range of 259 miles)
- 2023 Nissan LEAF: $27,800 (range of 212 miles)
Some of these cars allow you to get more range, but you will have to pay extra for a model with a larger battery. The range of the Mazda MX-30 is shockingly short – just 100 miles. In the meantime, there are other gotchas: the Nissan LEAF still uses CHAdeMO to charge at level 3, which means it will be much more difficult to find charging stations in the US where you can charge it at top speed
If you are going to be traveling longer, you will need to find an electric vehicle charging station along the way. Once you are at the charging station, the charging time of your electric vehicle depends on a variety of factors, including your car and the type of charger available. A level 3 charger can charge a vehicle to 80% in about half an hour.
Hybrids offer the longest range and easier refueling
Hybrids are significantly cheaper than electric cars. You can generally expect between 48 and 60 miles per gallon, although of course a truck offers fewer miles per gallon than a sedan.
For example the 2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid starts at $27,350, gets 52 miles per gallon and has a 13.2 gallon gas tank. That means this car has a range of 686 miles when its gas tank is full.
Do the math: You can drive almost three times as far in an electric car before you have to fill up a hybrid like this. When it’s time to refuel, you can stop at any gas station and quickly refill the tank. You don’t have to make sure you reach a charging station within your current range and sit there and wait for it to charge.
And if you don’t have somewhere at work or at home to plug the car into, that’s fine – you only need to stop at a gas station once every 600+ miles.
It goes without saying that a conventional petrol car is much less efficient than a battery-powered hybrid. Comparing apples to apples that 2022 Hyundai Sonata (non-hybrid) gets 32 miles per gallon and starts at $24,500.
This is just one example of a hybrid – there are many other great hybrid cars out there and we’re not recommending one manufacturer over another here.
A plug-in hybrid might be an even better idea
Plug-in hybrids are another great idea. Take the 2022 Toyota Prius Prime, for example. It’s a plug-in hybrid with a starting price of $28,770. If you plug it in to charge, it can get a range of 25 miles in EV mode before using gas.
If your daily commute is 10 miles each way, you can charge your car at home every night and never use gas on your commute — unless you need to keep driving. If you keep driving, your car will use up its gas tank.
You are never forced to find a charger. You can plug in a plug-in hybrid if you want, but it works like a regular gas-powered hybrid if you don’t. A plug-in hybrid offers you this possibility.
There are other plug-in hybrids that will give you between 30 and 40 miles of electric range. Again, we do not recommend any particular manufacturer.
Plug-in hybrids appear to be an important part of the future. They can help make daily errands and electric commutes possible without the massive batteries, range anxiety, or even any charging infrastructure outside of one’s garage.
Even California’s much-publicized plan to ban gas-powered cars by 2035 includes an exception for plug-in hybrids, which will continue to be allowed.
Hybrids: Better than electric vehicles?
Which vehicle you buy is an incredibly personal decision. But as we’ve seen, there’s a very strong case for hybrid vehicles in the early 2020s. Not only are they cheaper than electric cars, they are also more convenient and flexible.
We hope that will change in the future as electric charging infrastructure becomes more widespread and electric vehicles become more affordable. Until then, there’s good news: while you can’t justify buying an expensive electric car, these cheaper hybrids could be even better.
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