Hybrid Cars – Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequent questions and answers

Can Hybrid Batteries Be Repaired?

Yes, they can. Through a process of charging followed by deep discharge, hybrid batteries can be reconditioned and restored to near-new capacity. It doesn’t work on every hybrid model type, however. The best models for reconditioning are Toyota hybrid batteries. Repairing and reconditioning can save you hundreds of dollars compared to buying brand-new hybrid batteries that are outside of the warranty period.

How long can Hybrid Batteries Last?

Toyota gives a standard 10-year or 150,000-mile warranty on its hybrid components in the 2020 model year, and 8 years and 100,000 miles for before that, which includes the hybrid battery. With similar warranties existing from other companies, it follows that your hybrid batteries should last at least for as long as whatever they are covered for under warranty. There are many reports, however, of hybrid batteries lasting far longer than the warranty period.

Hybrid Battery Life Toyota

Toyota have a very proud record on hybrid battery life. Hybrid taxis have been shown to drive more than 250,000 miles and still use the original battery. That’s far beyond even the longer warranty offered for models from the 2020 model year onwards. Perhaps the most interesting fact is that Toyota dealerships are claiming that 99 percent of hybrid vehicles sold since 2001 have never had their original battery replaced. Let that sink in.

Are Hybrid Vehicles Reliable?

Hybrid vehicles still have many of the similar mechanical problems that traditional gasoline-only cars have, because they still contain all the same hardware. A hybrid model is augmented, not a completely new concept like the all-electric car style. With many drivers showing that hybrids can last well past 200,000 miles on the original battery, and even sometimes the original brakes, it is fair to say that hybrid vehicles are reliable.

Hybrid Vehicles Pros and Cons

No car is perfect, of course, and hybrid cars have both advantages and disadvantages. Pros include massively improved fuel efficiency, with sedan models often achieving more than 50mpg, and even SUV versions like the Toyota RAV4, which can get 41mpg in the city. This makes them very cheap to run, and will reduce the number of times you have to visit the gas station. Another advantage is their eco-friendly credentials. Hybrid cars are helping us clean up our cities’ air.

On the other hand, hybrid cars tend to be more expensive than their gasoline-only equivalents, although Toyota has done a good job in creating parity between models. Furthermore, hybrid cars typically feature more sluggish acceleration and sometimes longer braking distances when compared to gasoline cars.

Is Hybrid Vehicle Good or Bad?

A hybrid vehicle offers the best of both worlds. You can take advantage of the electric drive features when idling or traveling at low speeds and/or in heavy traffic. This dramatically cuts down gasoline consumption. At the same time, you don’t have to go through the range anxiety that many people get when dealing with all-electric cars. If your hybrid battery is out of juice, or very nearly, your car will switch to gasoline mode and recharge it. You just get to keep going.
It’s not to say that hybrid vehicles don’t have any problems. The electric-only range is very low, and the sticker prices tend to be higher than conventional cars. Even with any setbacks, however, they represent a happy medium to help people transition more steadily from gasoline-only vehicles to electrical ones. That’s something we’re likely all going to face sooner or later.

How are Hybrid Vehicles Powered?

Hybrid cars feature both gasoline internal combustion engines and advanced battery packs for electric powering of the vehicle. It switches between these two powertrains depending on your current speed and driving conditions. Hybrid vehicles also feature a regular 12v car battery which is used to help get the car started.

What are Hybrid Electric Vehicles?

Hybrid electric vehicles are low-emission alternatives to gasoline-only cars and all-electric cars. They combine elements of gasoline power and electrical power to create a “hybrid” powertrain that propels the car electrically at low speeds, before automatically switching to the gasoline engine when reaching higher speeds. The gasoline engine also recharges the hybrid battery, so on many hybrid models there is no need to ever plug-in.
There are now many types of hybrid cars from many brands. The earliest creator was Toyota, whose iconic Prius arrived in the North American market back in 2000. Hybrid cars are often marketed as a way for people to transition from gasoline to electric power without such an extreme shift in habits that would be necessary if switching directly to an all-electric car that requires plug-in charging.

What Hybrid Vehicle to Buy?

Over the past two decades since the Prius was the only option available in the marketplace, many companies have started offering both hybrid and full-electric options. Toyota, for instance, is now offering no fewer than 10 hybrid options in its 2021 model year selection. The range includes sedans, crossover SUV, mid-size SUV and even a minivan, the Toyota Sienna. Other popular hybrid brands include Honda, Hyundai and Kia. Which brand and model you buy will depend on your needs in terms of passenger capacity, fuel efficiency, powertrain, drivetrain, interior and exterior design and additional features like safety and entertainment technologies.

How to Drive Hybrid Vehicle

Despite representing new and innovative technology, the method of driving a hybrid vehicle is much the same as driving your regular gasoline or diesel vehicle. The switching between gasoline and electric powertrains happens automatically and doesn’t require any additional input from you. In fact, companies like Toyota have made such advances in the switching process, that many drivers now transition between gas and electric without even noticing that they’re doing so. It’s totally seamless.

Hybrid Vehicle Emissions

According to chooseenergy.com, the average hybrid car can emit 46 percent less greenhouse gas than a regular vehicle can. They’re obviously not as clean as all-electric cars, which are classified as zero-emission vehicles. Many hybrids are, however, classed as SULEV vehicles, which stands for Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles. The Toyota Prius is perhaps the best-known example of a SULVEV hybrid vehicle.

Hybrid Vehicle Engine

Hybrid cars are built with combustion engines, but they are typically smaller in displacement and don’t feature the V6 and V8 variants that you get in many gasoline-only vehicles. Horsepower and torque are generally lower in these engines, but they are improving as time goes on. The hybrid vehicle engine is built to reduce emissions, increase overall efficiency and provide a reliable mechanical powertrain. They are not built for hyper speed or muscular power.

Hybrid Vehicle Efficiency

There is no arguing with the fact that hybrid vehicles are incredibly efficient compared to their gas-only counterparts. The Toyota Camry, for instance, already efficient at 28mpg in the city and 39mpg on the highway in its gasoline form, is made truly incredible in hybrid form, achieving 51/53mpg respectively. Fuel costs can be cut massively when you make the switch to hybrid cars, at least by several hundred dollars a year. That means a lot over a period of car ownership. Those are savings that you could put toward the cost of a new car when the time comes.

Hybrid Vehicle That Can Tow

Despite their reputation for sluggish acceleration, hybrids are now firmly placed in the world of towing and haulage. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid, for instance, can tow an impressive 3,500lbs. They may not be able to line up yet with the likes of the Ford F-150, but great strides of progress have been made. Ford have made their own Ford Explorer hybrid, however, with a very impressive category-leading towing capacity of 5,000lbs or more.

Hybrid Vehicle List

There are now dozens of hybrid cars available for sale covering a more diverse range of budgets and styles. Among the most popular and best-selling hybrids in 2020 were the Toyota Prius Prime, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, the Honda Insight, Toyota Avalon Hybrid, Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Kia Optima Hybrid, BMW X5 xDrive45e and more.

When was the First Hybrid Vehicle?

The first commercially available hybrid car was the Toyota Prius, which went on sale in Japan back in 1997. It arrived in the North American market in 2000. The Honda insight was fairly quick to follow the Prius with their own hybrid car, the Insight, which was released in 1999.

Will Hybrid Cars Work Without the Hybrid Battery?

In short, no. If your hybrid battery dies, then so too does your hybrid car. In the event that your hybrid batteries are no longer functioning, you’ll either have to purchase a new one, or invest in a reconditioned battery if your particular brand and model of car allows it. That can be a great way to save money and get your hybrid car back on the road.

Hybrid Vehicle Brands

Toyota is arguably the most iconic brand in the world of hybrid cars, since they started the market back in 1997. Honda were a close second, however, and now continue to be a main rival for Toyota in this space. In recent years, however, Korean giants Kia and Hyundai have been among the most welcomed new hybrid and electric brands, offering interesting well-built alternatives to the Japanese models. European and American brands also offer hybrid models, notably Ford, Volkswagen, BMW and many others.

Hybrid Vehicle Cost

While it’s true that in general you can expect to pay more for a hybrid car than you would a gasoline-only car, hybrid cars remain significantly cheaper than all-electric models. The Hyundai Ioniq is the cheapest variant, with starting prices of just $22,200. Toyota’s range of 10 hybrid cars includes a large majority of models all under $30,000, and it often remains under $35,000 when you upgrade to the top-level trims.