, pros and consI chanced on one of the Tesla founders Martin Eberhard definition of pros and cons on their blog to pure electric cars and hybrids. It was interesting because he boiled it down to a few facts that should help some people make up their minds.
Eberhard points out that first of all hybrid cars are gas cars that can run some of the time on some electricity. However the new generation of plugin-hybrids, much hailed and asked for by the public is a step closer to electric propulsion. He concludes that simple hybrids probably save you 15% on gas. He believes that: “Plug-in hybrids are really a stepping stone on the road to a pure EV.” And this makes sense. As we have covered here, and we will see more and more, battery technology is growing and will continue to grow in leaps and bounds.
Here is his list of pros and cons:
- A plug-in hybrid definitely allows you to drive on non-petroleum energy. Depending on the battery size, this could be a substantial amount of your daily driving.
- A plug-in would allow you to take a long trip without waiting for an electric charge – it simply operates as a gasoline car (albeit with a heavy load of batteries onboard) once the electric range is exceeded.
- A plug-in hybrid (with a small battery pack) is much more abusive to the batteries than a pure electric car is. This seems counter-intuitive, so bear with me. Let’s say your particular battery design is good for 500 full charge-discharge cycles. On a pure electric car that goes 250 miles per charge, the battery pack should last 500 X 250 = 125,000 miles. On the other hand, a hybrid with, say, a 50 miles range will cause the capacity of the batteries to drop much sooner: 500 X 50 = 25,000 miles.
- …you could put a full…sized battery pack into a plug-in hybrid – but then the car is even more expensive – a full electric drive train PLUS a full gasoline engine. (And the weight of the gasoline engine will reduce electric range.)
- Any hybrid is still subject to the complexity of gasoline engine maintenance: oil changes, smog checks, tune-ups, etc
- A hybrid has double the safety concerns: a pack full of charged batteries AND a tank full of highly flammable gasoline
“A plug-in hybrid (with a small battery pack) is much more abusive to the batteries than a pure electric car is”, well that stomped us also but his reasoning made sense. We will need to put these numbers 500 X 250 = 125,000 miles versus 500 X 50 = 25,000 miles, even if they are rough average under the looking glass.
It’s an interesting point of view. Plug-in hybrids are a stepping stone until batteries become lighter, hold more and cheaper to manufacture.