Hybrids vs. Electric cars – a guide to both types

ICYMI: Global warming is real. It’s because of this and the overwhelming concerns surrounding climate change that more people than ever are taking steps to lead more sustainable lives. Some focus on recycling and disposing of single-use plastics or wearing the right sunscreen for coral reef health that supports the environment. While others trade in gas-guzzling vehicles for more environmentally friendly models. In myriad ways, people around the world are hoping that these daily changes will make our future brighter (but hopefully not hotter). However, if you’re considering upgrading to a more sustainable vehicle, going all-electric might seem like a big step forward, and that’s where hybrid models come in. When comparing hybrid cars to electric cars, it helps consider factors such as cost and the specific features that matter most to you.

Fortunately, it’s about to get easier to leave your gas-powered vehicle behind, whether you opt for a hybrid car or an electric vehicle (EV). On December 13, 2021, the Biden administration released its Electric Vehicle Charging Action Plan, which outlines “steps federal agencies are taking to support the development and deployment of chargers in U.S. communities across the country. “. In addition to ensuring that charging stations are more readily available across the country (thus solving one of the greatest stresses associated with owning electric vehicles), President Biden hopes that, by 2030, United States will account for 50% of all electric vehicle sales, overtaking China. and position itself as the most climate-conscious country in the world.

Pretty impressive, right? As appreciable as these efforts (or rather these intentions) are, it is important to consider all that goes into owning a hybrid or electric car. Namely, what distinguishes hybrid and electric cars, what makes a high-quality EV, and who is the best candidate for both types.

What to know about hybrid cars vs electric cars

Hybrids are divided into two categories: standard hybrids have a combustion engine that combines gasoline with an electric motor, while plug-in hybrids run primarily from an electric motor, but have a standby combustion engine if the electrical load goes out. mid workout. Then there are electric vehicles, which use no gasoline at all.

“Hybrid and electric vehicles have many advantages, primarily the reduction in dependence on gasoline,” says Andre Hudson, design manager at INDI EV, a Los Angeles-based electric vehicle manufacturer that launched its first car. , the INDI One in October. .

Additionally, Hudson points out that another key advantage of electric cars over hybrid models, in particular, is that, through their high-voltage systems, they can also run mobile computing hardware, helping to further navigate the future. digital transport. In other words, it’s thanks to these computers that cars like Teslas offer everything from hands-free driving to in-car entertainment like video streaming and in-car karaoke.

“Electric vehicles are fast, quiet and fluid; they require less maintenance, have lower ownership costs, and can be plugged in at home or on the go at public charging stations. —Shad Balch, director of communications at General Motors

In this way, Shad Balch, director of Chevrolet communications at General Motors, says electric vehicles are bringing new levels of ease and affordability to owners’ lives. “Electric vehicles are fast, quiet and fluid; they require less maintenance, have lower ownership costs, and can be plugged in at home or on the go at public charging stations,” he says, noting that, crucially, EVs have zero emissions. ‘exhaust.

The best candidate for an electric car

Now we know what you’re thinking, Electric vehicles have lower costs? Although they may initially cost more than your average gas-powered vehicle, over their lifetime they will eventually cost less because they don’t require gas. That said, to be a good fit for an electric car, you need to be able to afford it up front, which doesn’t necessarily mean in full, but rather that your income can support the payments.

In addition to being financially capable, the best candidates for electric cars are environmentally conscious individuals looking to incorporate their means of transportation into their sustainable lifestyle.

Key points to remember about electric vehicles

One of the biggest misconceptions about electric vehicles is that they are less powerful than fossil fuel vehicles. In fact, “from daily commutes to weekend adventures, electric vehicles can do everything a gas-powered vehicle can do,” says Balch, noting that Chevrolet will offer five electric vehicles in 2023, ranging from small SUVs to trucks. full size. .

As more electric car options hit the market – 145 million are expected to be on the road by 2030, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) – you’re bound to find a vehicle that fits both your lifestyle and budget needs. But with the rise of electric vehicles, researchers are still trying to solve a problem: how to recycle electric car batteries in a way that does not release the toxic chemicals or heavy metals they contain into the environment. It was less of an issue when there were fewer electric vehicles on the road, but with increased demand, scientists, automakers and lawmakers are all looking for ways to ensure the green benefits of electric vehicles are not not canceled once they are no longer canceled. longer in service.

Potentially, it could look like a combination of government-imposed rules about recycling electric car batteries and manufacturers repurposing materials from existing EV batteries to make new ones rather than mining new materials, according to the AAAS. . Before buying a new electric or hybrid car, it’s worth asking your dealership or researching the manufacturer to find out what options (if any) they offer for recycling your car’s battery at the end of your life. its life cycle.

Right now, electric car batteries are expected to last 15 to 20 years, according to National Grid. So while solving the problem of recycling them in a decade or two should definitely be a priority, what happens to your battery in the future shouldn’t deter you from making a more environmentally friendly investment today. . Just be aware that when the time comes, you’ll need to find a way to dispose of it that diverts it from landfills, so factor that into the pros, cons, and costs of owning one.

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