Are Hybrid Cars Superior Compared to Regular Cars

clifford chow
1 Jun 2017
 

Should your next car be a hybrid? Gain an in-depth understanding of features exclusive to hybrid cars today & how you stand to benefit. Take a look now!

Are Hybrid Cars Superior Compared to Regular Cars

Should your next car be a hybrid? Gain an in-depth understanding of features exclusive to hybrid cars today & how you stand to benefit. Take a look now!

Are Hybrid Cars Superior Compared to Regular Cars?

In current-day Singapore, the hybrid car has become a common sight. Owning one is not only attainable and practical, the advantages in-terms of range and fuel savings add to its allure.

Today, we take a look at what owners of these range-providing cars are enjoying, that we might be missing out on.

Reduced Emissions

With an added motor and battery combo to the drive system, hybrids normally would reduce the amount of time, which your engine is left on during the journey. You can drive the car with the engine and batteries driving the car at the same time, meaning that in normal driving situations, you may find that the engine is utilised a little less.

In some cases, like the popular Toyota Prius, which we ran a test on recently, cars can perform in pure EV move, meaning that the batteries alone drive the car. This is particularly useful in low speed applications like start-stop traffic, and moving within a carpark.

In addition, the electric motor is designed to double as an electric generator, utilising regenerative braking technology to convert waste energy generated by braking into electricity to charge the batteries.

Quite a nice thought, that you are adding less to the build-up of exhaust fumes during a traffic jam.

Government Rebates

Hybrid car owners currently receive a significant rebate under the Land Transport Authority's Carbon Emissions-Based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS), introduced in 2013 to encourage the adoption of low carbon emission vehicles. This means that cars in the top band with the lowest carbon emissions (less than 95 g/km of CO2) benefit the most with a rebate of up to $30,000.

However, the CEVS will be replaced with the new Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES) starting from 1 January 2018, which will be applicable for all new cars registered from that point onwards. While the Toyota Prius is presently eligible for a S$30,000 rebate under the CEV, the top-selling hybrid will no longer qualify under the VES.

Thus, now may be a good time to trade in your car for a hybrid to enjoy the CEVS rebate while you still can, or wait to see what models would qualify for a rebate under the VES next year. 

Great Cost Savings on Fuel

One of the main reasons for considering a hybrid vehicle has to be its vaunted ability to sip fuel, resulting in significant cost savings for the driver over the long term. As mentioned, the motors also do the job of powering the car, and hence there is less drive coming from the engine, compared to a regular car.

If you do have the need to ply on the miles in your daily commute, knowing that a car like the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid delivers a combined 25.6 Km/L versus a similar in off-the-line performance 1.5 litre Mazda 3, which delivers 19.6 Km/L, would sound pleasing, as it will mean less time at the pumps and also savings in fuel costs.

Service & Maintenance

Splitting the drive between an engine and a set of motors would also mean that there is less engine wear. Servicing intervals of hybrid cars can be further spaced out due to this, for instance, instead of doing an oil change at 5,000km for a newer car, you might do one instead at 8,000km.

You may be pleased to know that the your brake pads will last a little longer too due to the regenerative braking system, as there is a reduced amount of heat that they pads will have to soak up during your day-to-day commute.

As for the batteries, these are ingeniously designed to last more than 160,000 km, and dealerships in Singapore generally offer 10-year warranties on hybrid batteries beginning from the vehicle’s original registration date. Suffice to say, you’re not likely to ever have to worry about paying for a replacement battery from your own pocket over the car’s entire lifespan.

For those who may want to consider keeping their trusty hybrid past the ten-year mark, there are now workshops which specialise in battery replacement services.

Creature Spoils Just like Regular Cars

You do not have to sacrifice creature comforts in order to “Go Green” or “Drive Blue” whichever way you want to call it.

Cars like the Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro boast features like wireless mobile device charging pads, smart air conditioning, including butt coolers, etc. Take the Honda Vezel for instance. It comes with a suite of safety features dubbed Honda Sensing, which includes  features such as Lane Departure Warning, Road Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Mitigation Braking System, just to name a few. 

Accountability

Some of you may have concerns about safety. The lithium-ion batteries, which partly power some hybrid cars, are generally the same technology as those in your mobile device, which in most cases have a good safety record.

They are less likely to fail than a conventional engine. Even still, reputable hybrid car makers ensure utmost care to minimise all safety risks associated with battery safety, whether it be the quality of the battery, its position, the cooling speed and so on.

Adding to consumer confidence, cars such as the Kia Niro offers a ten-year battery warranty.

Silence is Golden

A feature which is inherent to hybrid vehicles; as long as the car isn’t moving fast enough to necessitate the petrol engine kicking in, you will find that the electric motor operates so silently compared to that of an idling petrol engine. In our urban environment, a little silence does help when connecting with your thoughts.

Aesthetically Pleasing

They have come a long way. Some of you may have remembered the first generation Honda Insight and Toyota Prius.

They were basic, and the manufacturers back then were bent on proving a point, that they could build super-efficient cars, which plied on the miles and then some, with a gentle breeze blowing from the rear. In most cases they were toys for the rich, and early adopters who wanted something cutting edge (whatever that would have meant back then).

Fast-forward twenty years, and Hybrid cars are seen as a mainstream option, versus being just a side alternative.

Models like the Prius, Ioniq and Niro, which are dedicated to be hybrid cars, do sport unique styling. The last-mentioned, having a pen stroke or two from the Korean company’s lead designer Peter Schreyer, the man behind the very first Audi TT Coupe.

Perhaps not to your liking? There are regular cars available, which have hybrid options, for instance the Honda Vezel and the Toyota C-HR, which look good and perhaps help you blend in.

Unprecedented Performance

Hybrid systems are not only used to plainly “drive” your car in this era.

Take the McLaren P1 or the Ferrari LaFerrari for instance. Their engines on their own make some 600 hp and 700 hp in the McLaren and the Ferrari respectively. By using electric motors to boost the power output, they reach 1,000 horsepower figures with ease, effectively making them among the fastest cars currently for sale. And these are but just the first of an emerging trend of hybrid technologies in performance cars, one which you will no doubt see more of in the next few years.

A Luxury Proposition

And it is pretty much the same story when it comes to luxury. Take the Lexus LS 600h L for instance. The car is feature-laden and the Sonderklasse-rivalling “luxobarge” does have a green side too.

The 5-liter V8 has been paired with a couple of electric motors, giving it a combined power output of 438 hp. Essentially doing exactly what it says on the tin (in this case perform like a 6.0). Which is enough to propel the large limo to 62 mph in just 6.4 seconds; impressive, given that the car does weigh in excess of 2000 kg. It just goes to show that hybrids can and are more than just ‘alternative’ means of propulsion.

Final Thoughts

You stand to save around $1400 - $1500 on fuel each year and up to $30,000 worth of rebates (for the year of 2017, with the current CEV scheme). Also, with the additional savings on maintenance, you will find that a good portion of the extra dollars you may shell out for a hybrid car are reimbursed within the first year alone. Moreover, the savings continue over your years of ownership, taking into account the fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs inherent to the hybrid architecture of the power plant.

Thus, not only will you see more vehicles in the near future with hybrid drive systems, the range which their drive systems can provide you with, allow you to go about your day-to-day routines, while stopping less for a refuel. Going further would also mean that a driving holiday is less stressful, when you hardly have to plan for a fuel stop. Additionally with green marketing aside, owning one can simply serve to help you improve your quality of life.

Have a look at three popular compact hybrids on our roads today!