The higher gas prices soar, the more people are asking the question, “Should I invest in an electric or hybrid car?” and the follow-up question, “What’s the downside?”
Well, keep reading.
Some big questions in the auto industry have been about fossil fuels and how we can reduce emissions. Others wonder what the trade-off is between saving money by lowering your gas budget but increasing your electricity bill with an electric car. There is also the question of how far you can drive on a charge and planning your away-from-home charging.
But do you consider what it’s like under the hood? What is the tradeoff between maintaining a gasoline car and an electric car? The engine of a gasoline car has many moving parts. Pistons, cylinders, ignition, and hundreds of other moving parts on gasoline cars do not exist on electric cars. Routine maintenance on an electric car includes brakes, tires, and fluids. However, you’ll find that many mechanic shops do not have the necessary computerized testing equipment to diagnose problems with electric cars. Many have to take their electric and hybrid cars to the dealer for service, which can be more costly than your local mechanic.
Electric cars eliminate gas costs
With no gasoline engine, electric cars rely solely on electricity to recharge. Plugging into your standard 120-volt outlet won’t do the trick when charging an electric car. One hour of charging will get you about 2-5 miles. You’ll likely want to invest in a home charging station, like this one from JuiceBox. Electric and hybrid cars also use the braking system to regenerate some of the battery power.
Hybrid cars work on gas and electric motors
This means that they still have the moving parts of an internal combustion engine, and they have the components of an electric car. It is a nice compromise if you are on the fence. The car will run on the battery-powered electric motor until it runs out of battery power. Then the car will switch over to running on the gas-powered engine. However, there are still maintenance concerns. Since you have both gas and electric features, there are maintenance issues for 2 motors.
|Cleaner energy||Higher up-front cost|
|Rebates and incentives offered||Higher maintenance expenses|
|Regenerative braking||Lower performance|
|Less or no gasoline expense||Recharge expense|
|Smaller engine/smaller weight||Recharge locations|
|Higher resale value||Newer technology limits repair options|
There are opposing opinions about the cost of maintenance
Some say that the cost of maintaining electric or hybrid cars is about one-third the cost of maintenance on a gasoline car. Others say that service costs are 2.3 times more expensive to maintain. This is because of the newer technology. It takes longer to diagnose the problem, and longer to fix the problem than in gasoline cars.
It is expected that as more people purchase electric and hybrid cars, the cost of maintenance will level off, and the savings may outweigh the costs. Before you decide to purchase an electric or hybrid car, check with your mechanic to learn more about maintenance costs and how servicing your vehicle works.