Most people have specific reasons for owning a hybrid vehicle. Whether it’s following a trend, going green, or finding some relief at the gas station, hybrid owners enjoy a multitude of benefits once they exceed the initial investment. The cost of a hybrid vehicle today is much more competitive than that of regular vehicles. While they may be a bit more, prices have certainly come down in recent years. That said, the cost of the vehicle itself is justified by most hybrid owners. There have also been other automakers following in the footsteps of the Toyota Prius, adding options to the hybrid vehicle market. Most manufacturers have at least one model available in a hybrid and the technology has come a long way. Consumer Reports claims, however, that the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid still account for more than 50% of the hybrid vehicles sold in this country. Some of the high-end luxury manufacturers have introduced hybrid models that are still priced high, but come with advanced technology and unique features.
Financial savings is one of the most popular reasons a driver buys a hybrid vehicle. Because they are much more fuel efficient, and some get up to 50 mpg in fuel economy, annual fuel costs add up to hundreds of dollars in savings. In a few years, this can recoup money on the initial investment that could have been a bit more money than regular vehicles of the same model or family. When gas prices skyrocketed several years ago, even more savings were seen at the gas pump, and many hybrid owners were delighted that their investment had paid off earlier than planned. Hybrid owners can save money on auto insurance, too. Many insurance companies offer instant discounts and reduced premiums simply for owning a hybrid vehicle. Some of these insurance companies have added hybrid vehicle divisions to specifically work with owners who drive green.
The “Go Green” trend made hybrid vehicles popular too, and many people wanted a hybrid vehicle because it was exciting to be a part of such a movement and support the environment. The number of available hybrid vehicles has seen the largest increase in the last two years due to increased popularity and demand. One of the unique reasons hybrids are better for the environment than regular cars is that a hybrid car with two power sources is actually better for the environment than traditional cars with only one source – gasoline. . Hybrid vehicles are also better for the environment because they emit less emissions. When gas is burned to produce energy for vehicles, carbon monoxide is created and in turn released into the environment (and the air we breathe). However, with hybrid cars, much less of this dangerous carbon monoxide is released into the atmosphere, reducing emissions and air pollution, supporting the green trend.
A hybrid vehicle runs on two sources of energy. Hybrid electric vehicles combine traditional gasoline engines and electric motors. They are called hybrids because they use both a small internal combustion engine and an electric motor for maximum performance with minimal emissions as mentioned above. They can also give you better fuel economy, more power, or even extra power to run electrical tools or devices. Some of the advanced technologies that hybrids now come with include regenerative braking, electric motor drive assist, and automatic start / stop. With regenerative braking, the electric motor applies resistance to the transmission system, causing the wheels to slow down. Rather, the energy from the wheels turns the engine and converts energy that would normally be wasted during braking or coasting. The energy is converted into electricity which is then stored in the battery until it is needed by the electric motor. Some vehicles are called “parallel hybrids”. They use both the electric motor and the ICE for propulsion. They can run at the same time or one can be used as the main power source. The other power source can be activated when it is needed more, for example, when accelerating, climbing steep hills or when passing other vehicles. The word parallel comes from the fact that they can run simultaneously.
There are also tax benefits and other economic benefits that hybrid owners enjoy. Some hybrid vehicle buyers may automatically qualify for income tax credits, depending on their state. When doing your taxes, it is always a good idea to discuss this with your accountant or tax professional to see if you qualify for a tax exemption due to the purchase of a hybrid vehicle that previous tax year. In some states, this hybrid tax credit is quite substantial. In Arizona, there are multiple incentives and tax credits for owning a hybrid. For example, a tax credit of up to $ 75 is available to individuals for installing a PEV charging outlet in a unit of the home they have built. To qualify for this tax credit, the establishment must meet certain codes and standards. To receive this, it is not even necessary to own a hybrid. Also in Arizona is the Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) parking incentive. This establishes that AFV drivers can park without penalty in designated parking areas for carpool operators as long as the vehicle is using alternative fuel. So what qualifies as an alternative fuel? According to the United States Department of Energy, alternative fuels include natural gas, propane, hydrogen, electricity, or a mixture of hydrogen with propane or natural gas. In addition, there is a reduced alternative fuel vehicle license tax that states that the initial tax on an AFV is lower than the initial license tax on a regular vehicle. Many states have also started introducing hybrid owner programs where they can get free HOV passes and special parking passes as mentioned above. Free HOV passes can save small amounts of money, but are still something for hybrid vehicle owners to enjoy and reduce the worry of driving in an HOV lane without being stopped. There are several other notifications, exemptions, and minimum requirements that hybrid drivers should be aware of to save money on incentives or tax credits.
Many people believe that hybrid vehicle maintenance is much more expensive and frequent than that of a conventional vehicle. This is not necessarily true according to many hybrid mechanics. More important than anything is having trained mechanics to do the job. There is no more work for a hybrid vehicle, but it is certainly crucial that you hire someone who understands the complex and complicated systems of a hybrid. Hybrid and plug-in vehicle maintenance is very similar to regular vehicle maintenance. Manufacturers can provide recommendations and suggestions for service interval schedules in their manual. Because hybrid electric vehicles have small internal combustion engines, maintenance is required to ensure performance and safety. The electrical system (including the battery) may be the only system that requires different service. Due to regenerative braking, those brakes actually tend to last longer than conventional vehicles, which means they won’t need as much attention, either.
Hybrid batteries are at the center of the biggest debate about the function and value of hybrid vehicles. Today, hybrid batteries are designed to last between 100,000 and 150,000 miles, generally the life of the vehicle or at least as long as most drivers will have the same vehicle. However, advanced hybrid batteries have a limited number of charge cycles and may decrease in performance, power, or charge over time. Some drivers also see a decrease in fuel economy when their battery suffers. If the battery needs to be replaced outside of the warranty package, the cost could be significant – several thousand dollars. This is where the debate is centered: Are replacement batteries environmentally friendly? What about the old battery? How much energy is needed to produce additional hybrid batteries? Although battery prices are expected to decline in the coming years thanks to advanced technology and increases in production volume, battery replacement may not always be the best option for hybrids.
Battery conditioning is another service unique to hybrid vehicles. Some repair shops also charge thousands of dollars, but there are some repair shops (one in Arizona) that will give the same results with savings of up to 70%. This battery pack conditioning service used to mean testing the battery pack without parts replacement. Hardware components or battery module are not replaced in battery conditioning. It typically regenerates the battery to 95% to 98% life span and is supported by many environmentalists because it does not require additional battery packs or old environmentally damaging battery packs. Once the battery pack has been removed from the vehicle, specialized equipment is plugged in and testing begins for both power capacity and battery modules. Data is collected for analysis and diagnosis. About 8 out of 10 batteries could benefit from battery pack conditioning rather than battery replacement, something dealers don’t tell owners.
Making the decision to own a hybrid generally leads to many benefits that you can begin to enjoy from the moment you walk away from the dealership. Maximum power and performance, green features, lower emissions, and financial savings from tax incentives and fuel economy benefits make driving a hybrid an excellent choice. Gasoline prices are still high these days and commuting to and from work can be expensive. The average daily commute for 128.3 million American travelers is estimated to be around half an hour each way. Your commute may not seem so bad when you can hit up to 50 mpg in fuel economy. Finding the right auto repair shop for experts to maintain and repair your hybrid vehicle is an essential part of owning one, optimizing performance, power, and life. Now seems to be the time to buy a hybrid due to lower decal prices, more options, improved technology and durability, and all the other benefits discussed above.