Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or fully electric car?

As we all know gas prices in the United States are higher than ever. This makes many people think about high efficiency cars to cope with transportation costs. Right now, there 3 solutions for this problem: Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric cars. You may ask which one of them is better for you as a consumer. To answer this question, you need to know the difference between these types of cars and pros and cons of each of them.

  • Hybrid:

Hybrid is a self-explanatory term. It describes a car that has both electric motor and regular engine. The gasoline engine shuts off and the electric motor starts working at low speeds. This technology lets hybrids save fuel and produce lower emissions. Also, when you drive a hybrid, you don’t need to plug it in like a fully electric car, because its battery doesn’t need external power for recharging.

  • Plug-in hybrid:

Plug-in hybrid is something between a hybrid and a full electric car.  Its special battery – which is larger than regular hybrid’s – let it use electric power alone to drive for a long period of time. Plug-in hybrids can be driven between 20 and 40 miles when they use only electric power but in contrary to full hybrids, they cannot charge their batteries completely through regenerative braking. They still need to plug into external power source frequently to recharge.

Plugs-in use less fuel but have the same problem of fully electric cars. The driver must stop for a recharge.

  • Fully electric:

Fully electric vehicles only use electric power. They can travel over 200 miles before a recharge. Usually, you must put them in charge for 8 to 10 hours when the battery is empty. Compared to hybrids, fully electric cars have simpler engines which means less maintenance cost. More important, electricity is cheaper than gas. So why doesn’t everybody buy electric cars? For two simple reasons: They cost more than regular cars and charging takes hours.

A very short comparison:

  • In many states plug-ins and fully electrics have tax credit.
  • Fully electrics produce lower emissions than other two and cost zero fuel but have no backup engine for times when the battery runs out of juice.
  • Hybrids are more convenient to use.

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