Is a cheap hybrid car the answer to your petrol bill woes?
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Owning a fuel efficient vehicle is becoming increasingly important as the cost of fuel rises at the pump. After vehicle safety, fuel efficiency is paramount and though many drivers might desire a fully electric vehicle, for many this technology There are alternatives that are more fuel efficient than your regular petrol or diesel engine and affordable.
Full hybrids can travel a considerable distance using a combination of both electric and internal combustion power. A hybrid will charge its own battery using a petrol engine or through energy recuperation during deceleration and braking, often termed “self-charging”. The wheels can be powered by solely the petrol engine, the electric motor on its own (at low speeds), or by a combination of both.
Many of us find ourselves in stop-start scenarios when driving around the city. In a hybrid, it’s during these times the ICE engine of the hybrid shuts down and you’re able to utilise electric power alone. Cruising at normal speeds, the petrol engine is at its most efficient and even helps to top up the hybrid battery. We had a look at the used vehicle market and found some examples of hybrids under 10 years old with less than 100,000km on the clock:
Honda Civic Sedan
Toyota Aqua (Prius C)
Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)
Plug-in hybrid cars can be plugged in to charge their batteries. Essentially, this technology uses two different powertrains. The electric motor enables drivers to travel a certain distance based on the capacity of the battery, and the petrol engine kicks in once the battery has depleted.
The range is generally 30-50km on electric power alone, a great option if you don’t want to use petrol for short journeys, and even better if your daily commute falls within the range. PHEV technology is slightly more expensive, and there are fewer options. As of July, the popular Mitsubishi Outlander made up more than half of plug-in hybrids sold in New Zealand.
$16,000 — $19,000
Hybrids are no longer considered new technology, and are now commonplace.
It’s been almost 20 years since the Prius was launched, which helped Toyota cement themselves as the leader in hybrid and PHEV technology. Now, Toyota has made a large proportion of its patents for this technology “royalty-free” until 2030 — this should help encourage other car makers to build hybrids and PHEVs.