How Electric Cars and Hybrids Work

Electric and hybrid cars are becoming more mainstream as studies are showing that these vehicles offer benefits of improved fuel economy, lower fuel costs and reduced emissions. If you’re contemplating an electric vehicle (EV) or a hybrid car for your next car purchase, you should consider the pros and cons of buying a car that’s not your traditional vehicle.

Here’s a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of electric and hybrid vehicles.

The “electric cars and hybrids” vehicle category includes electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Electric cars differ from traditional vehicles in that they’re powered by electric motors, not internal combustion engines. Each vehicle depends on a large traction battery pack that stores electrical energy, which in turn powers the electric motor. The electric car gets charged by an “off-board” power source when it’s plugged in to a charging station or wall outlet.
During driving, regenerative braking might also charge an electric car. This means that when the driver brakes, some of the energy that would typically be lost during braking generates electricity that powers the vehicle.

Electric cars don’t need liquid fuel such as gasoline or diesel. They also don’t need fuel equipment, such as a fuel pump, line or fuel tank.

Hybrid vehicles use battery power to supplement a traditional internal combustion engine and do not need to be plugged into anything to charge. Instead, the battery gets charged by a combination of the internal combustion engine and regenerative braking.

Pros of Electric and Hybrid Cars

Saving Money on Fuel

Do you really save money with an electric or hybrid car? Although the hefty startup costs fall under the “cons” category for electric and hybrid cars, these vehicles generally cost less to run over time due to lower (or no) fuel costs.

Environmental Considerations of EVs

Hybrid and electric vehicles can have emissions benefits over conventional vehicles, depending on the type of vehicle you choose. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that the emissions benefits of hybrid electric vehicles vary by vehicle model and type of hybrid power system, while EVs typically produce zero tailpipe emissions and PHEVs typically produce no tailpipe emissions when driven in all-electric mode.

You May Get a Tax Break

All-electric and plug-in hybrids purchased new in or after 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. State and local tax incentives may also apply.

Insurers May Give You a Discount

Buying a hybrid may lead to savings on your car insurance costs. Ask your friends at Apollo Insurance Services if your car qualifies for a discount.

Cons of Electric and Hybrid Cars

Consumers who may have “range anxiety,” or the fear of running out of charge while on the road, may now find their concerns allev vehicle range was 260 miles, with some exceeding 400 miles.

It’s also important to understand that driving conditions – including hot and cold weather – as well as how you drive your vehicle, may impact driving range of electric and hybrid vehicles. You can visit the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website for tips on maximizing your electric car’s range in extreme temperatures.

PHEVs typically have ranges of about 15 to 60-plus miles when just using battery power. However, they can also switch over to an internal combustion engine (running on liquid fuel such as gasoline), when the battery is depleted.

Higher Upfront Cost

Typically, electric cars have a higher upfront cost than traditional internal combustion vehicles or hybrid vehicles. Initial costs may be offset by fuel cost savings over time, a federal tax credit, and state and utility incentives. You can learn more about the federal tax credit and state incentives by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.

Should I Buy an Electric Car?

If you’re considering going with an electric or hybrid car for your next vehicle, research your options carefully. Think about how an electric car would impact your life daily. For example, do you know where the charging stations are in your area and how often you might need them? Taking the time to gather information and review your data can help you make a wiser buying decision.

Once you’ve made your decision about the car you’d like to buy, consider your insurance options. Call Apollo Insurance Services at 800.426.1088, option 2 to make sure you have the coverage you need.