A recent study by NADAguides revealed that only a handful of Hybrid Cars at present make sound financial sense, and only for some of those considering to buy the automobiles due to rising gas prices.
The advantages and disadvantages of hybrids have been debated for long. The following are 11 opinions against the hybrids, which have been echoed from time to time. While some might be genuine, others could be dated and some just bad publicity. Once, you’ve skimmed through them, you might want express yourself by writing comments.
1. Price: Hybrid cars are known to cost higher, about $2,000 to $5,000 more than autos running on petrol or diesel automobile engines. Large battery packs and technology used is usually blamed for higher cost for these vehicles.
* Costly Registration: Some states in the US charge more as fees towards registration, adding on to the initial high charges.
* Costly Insurance: Since insuring costlier autos is expensive, the same applies to insuring a hybrid that’s costlier than its gas operated counterpart. Apparently, you don’t get any special offers on insurance if you buy a hybrid, if at all you get the insurance.
2. New Technology: While the manufacturers rigorously test the autos before they are brought out in the market, the relatively new invention of a hybrid might come up with a type of problem that’s not been conceived or discovered yet. Further, in such an event it could take some time before a solution is formulated.
3. Safety: Here’s another concern that’s high on potential users’ minds and this is something that most humans that inhabit the planet wouldn’t want to compromise upon. The following are the key points of “terror!”
* High Electric Charge: Most of these cars make use of huge packs of automobile batteries and there’s an enormous amount of charge within them. In case of an accident, all that potential electrical energy can cause further injuries to the occupants, if not electrocute them. Further, cutting out electricity connections is one of the foremost priorities of the emergency rescue workers during vehicular extrication, with more electric batteries than ever to deal with, the danger looms large and rescue efforts could be stymied. Finally, the charge reaching any leaking fuel or an automatic deployment of airbags unnecessarily poses an additional threat.
* A Bit Too Light: Since these new age babies are lighter, they are prone be damaged more during stormy conditions if not literally be blown off the ground during high winds. Furthermore, lighter weight means lesser mass and thus these vehicles aren’t quite compatible with the weight of conventional cars, hence the forces generated during a collision might impact them more or they might spin like a top.
* Dangerous to Pedestrians: Recently, many eyebrows were raised at the US senate about the danger posed to blind individuals navigating the road by super quiet cars. Consequently, the senate preliminarily approved a bill to study how to deal with hybrid vehicles that are a bit too quiet for blind persons.
4. Maintenance: Apart from the initial cost of purchase sometimes maintaining the machinery to becomes somewhat challenging.
* Break Down: In the event that your car breaks down the relative exclusivity of the cars technology could be somewhat troublesome for you to get a quick fix. The cars being newer your local mechanic or others like them might not be prepared or have the skill set, or the automotive tools to repair it. Moreover, the replacement of complex and exclusive components might burn a bigger hole in your pocket.
* Batteries: Sometimes, the batteries of the car need to be recharged at least once in 15 days. In case you need to be away from your home and your car, you might need to think twice before leaving your car to “rot” behind you, or you might have to make an arrangement for someone to take care of it. Further, batteries are a costly piece of equipment and with the hybrids they usually need to be replaced every 150,000 to 200,000 miles.
5. Performance: Other concerns relate to these cars not possessing the same abilities as their conventional counterparts, these cars seem to be falling short of perfectly matching the performance of the gas cars.
* Slow Acceleration: The new age autos for now are a bit slow to accelerate when compared to their conventional counterparts. Hence, it might just take a bit of adjustment on the owner’s part about the envy they might feel of the conventional cars and their users. Or perhaps as more R&D goes into making these autos match up to the gas only cars, they could indeed be at par in reality albeit after sometime.
* Less Towing Capacity: For those users who’re interested in the towing capacity of these cars may again find it somewhat lower in comparison to gas cars. A solution would be to purchase a hybrid SUV that inherently has more power, but the towing consideration by itself hardly makes sense to go ahead with such a purchase.
* Less Mileage: Surprisingly, lower fuel costs is what the unique selling proposition of these cars, and they are indeed more fuel-efficient than the gas cars. The problem reportedly crops up on freeways and highways where the fuel mileage compared to gas cars is either at par or worse than the gas cars. Some even opine that owing to a large number of battery packs these cars become heavy, thus affecting fuel economy negatively. Intriguing!
* Cold Whether: Batteries have a hard time performing in cold weather, sometimes they are half as efficient compared to warm whether conditions. Consequently, the automobiles powered by batteries too would have a hard time performing in the cold.
6. Environmental Pollution: Claimed to be environment friendly, they aren’t 100% environment friendly, they do comprise a gasoline engine which does behave the same as that the usual gas cars, so they seem to be only relatively better.
* Manufacture: The eco-friendliness of these cars has been questioned on account of the manufacturing process. It has been estimated that to manufacture a hybrid leads to more energy consumption and environmental pollution compared to manufacturing a normal gas car.
* Ecological Hazard: In case a hybrid is involved in a mishap and lands up in a pond, a lake, or a canal the leakage of the battery constituents might lead to an ecological hazard, similar to the one like an “oil slick,” albeit on a smaller scale.
7. Ugly styling: Many people have questioned the styling of these vehicles and also that there are just a handful of models around to choose from. Sometimes, potential buyers have found the existing models too “ugly,” to be bought.
* Less Space Inside: Due to the requirement to house voluminous battery packs some of the models have to compromise on the space that’s left inside, apparently too much room has to be allocated to secure the batteries.
8. Resale Value: The resale value of the vehicle raises another question mark on their cost effectiveness. The warranty of the battery usually runs out of time after a drive of 80,000 to 100,000 miles. Now, given an automobile with a technology that’s still maturing and with warranty not available for expensive battery replacements, the trouble of repair, maintenance and spare parts, a used hybrid doesn’t offer a good value proposition.
9. Need To Learn New Driving Habits: The driving habits needed to reap the benefits from a hybrid car somewhat vary from the gas driven ones. For instance, and for these cars stopping and restarting the engine in effect consumes more power, so you’d need to be habituated in case you aren’t. Driving slow is the key and drivers should maintain constant speeds. Other driving advice specific to a hybrid might put pressure on the buyers to necessarily learn the new tricks.
10. Difficult To Purchase: Purchasing a hybrid could make it tough for you due to a couple of reasons. First, you need to educate yourself of the technicalities about the various types and technologies used by different manufacturers, not all hybrids are created equal. Second, a manufacturer is less likely to give you a neutral account about the vehicle’s merits and demerits, as they would be more interested in selling than telling. Third, getting first hand experiences and authentic reviews could be difficult as well.
11. It Takes Too Long To Reap the Benefits: It’s claimed that the cost savings on fuel in the long run would offset the initial costs incurred, but apparently this long run is a couple of years not days or months. The latest study by NADAguides showed that a driver in Los Angeles (highest gas price location), will break-even about 18 percent faster than a driver in Houston (highest gas price location). Further the distances to be covered by driver in the study range from 18,292 to 67,685 miles to just break-even. So you could be in for a wait of about a year, or less or even more based on your travel metrics.
I’m sure, there’s a whole lot more to consider before making a purchase decision that really makes a difference. Perhaps there’s much more than moving ahead with purchase simply because gas prices are moving north.