This was written on behalf of ASM Autos.
There is little doubt that the long term future of automobile driving will involve electrification in one form or another. People are always interested in the environmental debate of ‘this’ versus ‘that’ and the issue of electronic and hybrid vehicles is one that continues to rumble on.
A growing number of motorists are beginning to see the benefits of hybrid vehicles, which still rely on the combustion of fossil fuels for their power. However, hybrid cars are also supplemented by an electrical system that takes some of the energy that would otherwise be wasted or lost when braking, helping to power the vehicle at a later date.
Some experts merely see the development of hybrid vehicles as a stepping stone to an entirely electrified vehicle. But others argue there are many hurdles yet to overcome before electronic cars become commonplace on our car dealership forecourts.
One significant problem for engineers and designers to overcome is that a battery vast enough to store enough electricity to power a vehicle in the same manner as a tank of liquid fuel is considerably heavy, bulky and, as a result, very expensive.
There is also the issue of how the electricity is sourced in the first place. If you were to charge your electric car from an outlet at home it is quite likely the power generated will have been made burning coal or another non-renewable energy source.
Take into account the potential losses of electricity from the power station to your home and the chances are it may be cheaper to drive a fuel-powered car!
This subsequently raises the issue about drivers having to generate their own electricity to make an electronic vehicle truly efficient. Whether it is a personal windmill, solar panels or even the ability to produce your electricity in a hydrogen fuel cell located within the car itself, there is no simple solution as yet.
Electric cars are totally silent whilst on the road due to the fact they exclusively use an electric motor. However, with a hybrid car you will experience some engine noise as it contains a typical combustion engine.
On the face of it, hybrid cars are significantly cheaper to buy than an electric vehicle. But when you consider electric cars will be cheaper to run in the long term with regards to fuel costs, the latter may in fact be a wiser investment.
Although eventually it is likely to be a smooth, speedy service charging your electric car at home, the technology is not yet refined enough to be considered. On the other hand hybrid vehicles can still be typically refuelled at a pump just like a normal combustion car for continued use.
Electric vehicles are unable to cope at the same speeds as a combustion engine at the present time. Electric cars perform best in the lower RPM ranges with great acceleration from 0-60mph. However, hybrids will only use their electric motor as a backup to their main petrol motor; subsequently they will never produce the same level of performance as a dedicated electric vehicle.
So while electric cars have the edge in the lower speeds for urban driving, hybrids still perform best as an all-rounder for solid motorway performance and short journeys whilst being equally if not more eco-efficient all round.
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