Automobiles have come a long way since the first mass-produced Model T’s started rolling off the production lines in the early 1900s. Unlike those original cars, we no longer rely solely on gasoline or diesel to power the vehicles we drive. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of hybrid vehicles available that use battery power, or a combination of petroleum-based fuel and battery.
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While you may be familiar with the basic notion of a hybrid vehicle the technology actually goes far beyond “battery powered car.” There are four basic types of electric automobiles, with each having their own advantages and disadvantages.
Battery Electric Vehicle
As the name indicates, this runs on battery alone. Recharging the battery is as simple as plugging it into an external power source, like the outlet in your garage. That means that this type of vehicle will drastically cut down the production of CO2 emissions versus a standard automobile.
One of the benefits of a battery-powered hybrid is the availability of charging options. These can be recharged overnight from a 120V outlet (standard voltage in Canada), or with a 400V outlet, like the one your laundry machine uses. Additionally, 400V-charging stations are popping up in strategic locations across North America.
One of the main disadvantages of a BEV is the purchase price. Even government incentives (if they are available in your province) don’t make a very significant dent in the cost. In addition to the price of the vehicle, you will need to consider the cost of recharging your vehicle. A single charge is estimated to cost approximately the same amount as the cost of heating 40 gallons of water.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
These run mostly on a battery that needs to be recharged via an external power source and is the most common type of hybrid. They also have a standard combustible engine that can be used to recharge the battery and/or operate in place of the electric drive train when power is low or if more power is needed to operate.
PHEVs are usually less expensive to run than other hybrids since, like the BEV, plugging into your home power grid can recharge it. Ultimately, how much you save will depend on the distance driven with just the eclectic motor.
Hybrid Electric Vehicle
This hybrid operates using two interconnected systems: a gas engine and an electric motor. They operate simultaneously to power the transmission and turn the wheels. Gasoline and regenerative braking recharge the electric motor instead of connecting it to a power grid.
The price of both the plug-in hybrid electric and hybrid electric are more in-line with what consumers are used to paying for similar vehicles with combustion engines.
Fuel-cell Electric Vehicle
This type of vehicle creates electricity by extracting hydrogen from a water molecule, instead of storing and releasing energy, like a typical battery. Even though this construction is still in the development phases, industry experts believe them to be superior to any other hybrid. This is due in large part to the water-only emissions and the vehicle’s efficiency.
Some roadblocks are currently preventing fuel-cell electrics from making it to the market. At this point, the electricity creation process uses a lot of energy and still generates greenhouse gas emissions. So, it will take some more time and work for engineers to fine tine the process.
In the future, as more resources are put into the development and advancement of these vehicles, they will become attractive alternatives for many consumers. When purchase price lines up with similar fossil-fueled vehicles, the market will undoubtedly see a surge in buyers. Consumers may even increasingly be attracted to the fuel savings and decreased environmental impact that hybrids provide.
Regardless of whether or not you are in the market for a hybrid, CarLoans411.ca wants to help make your dreams of purchasing a car a reality. Our team of auto loans specialists are experienced in assisting anyone, even individuals with bad credit, get approved. We can help you find a payment plan that fits your needs. And the best news of all? We are just a click away!