Hybrid Cars: Surprising Myths and Facts
Updated: Mar 26
(By M 93, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43648012) With the COE prices falling and Chinese New Year around the corner, many car buyers out there are looking for cost-friendly fuel saving cars that don't create too much hassle on their daily routine. With the new advancements in car tech, an increasing number of hybrids and electric cars are already seen on our roads. ( Honda Vezel Hybrids, Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf) Myths uncovered However there may be some out there that may not know that much about these cars and how they function, so this post is to help clear some of those misunderstandings about these eco-friendly cars!
1. All Hybrid cars require electric charging stations! (FALSE)
By Tom Raftery - http://www.flickr.com/photos/traftery/5257463199/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17326767
If hybrid cars relied on a charging stations to work with everyday usage, no taxi company would ever let their cab drivers use the eco- friendly Toyota Prius. Think about all the taxi drivers waiting for their car to be fully charged before being able to pick up their passengers.Contrary to common misconceptions, hybrid cars do not need a charging point to function with every day use! They can be fueled up at petrol stations like normal gasoline cars, without ever needing the use of a charging point. The high tech hybrid system uses the gasoline engine as its power source to charge up the hybrid battery when it is running low. This allows it to travel more fuel efficiently compared to normal gasoline cars! The photo above shows a Prius Plug in hybrid tethered to a charging station, This is usually for the driver to extent the mileage further for the current car. Most drivers of the Toyota Prius, Honda Vezel Hybrids, Toyota Estima, Lexus RX400h or Sienta Hybrids do not require a charging station at all. 2.Hybrid cars are not able to move when the hybrid battery is low. (FALSE)
If hybrid cars stopped moving every time the battery runs low, no taxi or private hired driver would be using them at all. Think about all the inconveniences those drivers would have after ferrying passengers to each destination. Hybrid cars rely on a smart computer system that tells the car to use its gasoline engine to charge up the hybrid battery. In addition, when the driver is cruising on the highway or gently braking the car, the kinetic energy is converted by the motor and transferred back into the hybrid battery to charge up its power level! This is the re-gen system that allows hybrid cars to go as much as twice the distance of normal gasoline cars.
3.The road tax is more expensive. (depends on car specifications)
The road tax for most hybrid cars are not expensive. Take for instance the road tax of the Honda Vezel Hybrid is exactly the same as the Honda Vezel. This is because LTA calculates road tax based on the Engine Output or the Electric motor Output, whichever is higher. For most hybrid cars, the electric motor power output is much lower than the gasoline counterpart hence the road tax is paid on the engine power output only. There are some exceptions out there for hybrid cars that have a higher motor power output compared to the gasoline engine. In these special cases, the road tax is indeed more expensive.
Update: For dual motored cars (all wheel drive), LTA sums the total of the motor output against the power output of the engine. This would mean a dual powered 2.5L Lexus NX300h will have a combined motor output of 155kWh, greater than the power output of the engine at 112kWh. Resulting in a higher road tax on the dual motor hybrid.
4.Maintenance Costs are Expensive! (False)
Many buyers have the impression that hybrid cars are expensive or costly to maintain due to the expensive battery prices and the high technology in them. This is because they are not fully informed about the hybrid car. Contrary to most people's understanding, hybrid cars have the same regular servicing costs as normal cars (approximately in the 130 range). This is because when a hybrid car comes in for servicing and maintenance, only the petrol components such as the engine require maintenance. (e.g. engine oil change, transmission oil).
5.I would most likely have to replace the hybrid battery and it will cost a bomb (not unless you are well informed)
(Honda Civic Hybrid undergoing hybrid battery replacement and cooling system installation) Although it is true that the hybrid battery is costly, it does not warrant a replacement if the hybrid car is well maintained by a proper specialist service center. The real reason why there are people going about saying that hybrid cars are expensive to maintain is because their cars are not being correctly serviced by a knowledgeable service center. Wrong maintenance procedures would definitely create additional problems with the hybrid car systems and result in unnecessary repair costs. The best way is to find hybrid specialist service centers that contain original diagnostic factory software to handle the car. This is advisable for all types of cars hybrid or gasoline, as the manufacturer's diagnostics systems are specifically made for their own type of cars. In addition, hybrid cars with a 8-10 years warranty on hybrid batteries should be taken with a pinch of salt. You should always check on the capability of the servicing center with respect to the hybrid car, as a hybrid car is very different from the petrol car.
There are other alternatives
In addition there are hybrid specialist service centers who offer cost efficient alternatives to drivers. Instead of a brand new hybrid battery you can consider the following: 1. Hybrid Battery Reconditioning The hybrid battery can be conditioned using state of the art technology and software at a cost efficient price, allowing the battery to work at near optimal performance, similar to a brand new battery. UPDATE: hybrid battery reconditioning may now be a less favorable choice due to our cheaper hevshop battery replacement program. The extent of hybrid battery performance is not fully 100% after reconditioning.
2. Rebuilt Battery Replacement (Nearly Half the cost of a new battery replacement) The rebuilt battery replacement is a popular cost friendly alternative for drivers who do not want to spend on an entirely brand new battery.
(Lexus RX450h undergoing rebuilt battery replacement)
So what should I be looking for?
As one of the main dedicated specialist service centres for hybrid cars in Singapore, the hevshop team has only one simple message for those Eco-friendly car buyers out there.
Looking for the lowest price may get you a cheaper deal in the present but looking for reputable car buyers with dedicated workshops with genuine warranty and suitability to service your car may save you more in terms of repairs, maintenance and time in the long run!