I asked my 15 year old son, who is a bit of a petrol head, what he thought of hybrid cars? “Hate ‘em!” was his 1 second considered response. “Well, why do you hate them?” I asked, “you can’t just make a statement like that without backing it up with some reasons…”, and so ensued a lively debate that centred pretty much around the opinions he’d picked up from Top Gear, one of his favourite programs.
So this got me to thinking, what is the wider opinion of hybrid vehicles and on what facts and figures are we basing our opinions?
It might be as well to start by considering the reasons that would prompt someone looking for their next car to opt for a ‘greener’ alternative and in the process part with more cash upfront than the fully fossil fuelled alternatives on offer.
Petrol pump misery?
So firstly, I guess the number one reason most would put forward is that hybrid vehicles combine the clean energy from the electric motor with the power of the diesel engine which results in lower CO2 emissions and better mpg. Hard to argue with that really?
There would be other reasons, notably that the batteries need less external charging due to regenerative braking technology with the consequence that there is then less dependency on fossil fuels which in turn can have a bearing on fuel prices (you’d be forgiven for not really noticing at the moment!)
However, there are unhappy mutterings about the hybrid batteries themselves and the ecological problems they present at the end of their life span. Many feel that the higher purchase price and running costs of a hybrid vehicle make it an uneconomical choice in the first place, or that it doesn’t really perform when the open road beckons and planting ones foot firmly on the floorboards becomes the driving style of choice.
Will the electric ‘revolution’ just blow on through?
And yet, love them or loathe them, hybrids are very much here to stay with fully electric vehicles poised to make their mark in mainstream motoring in the not too distant future. With Ford planning a wide range of hybrid offerings within its C-Max and Focus range and Nissans launch of the fully electric “Leaf” next year, it’s time to decide where you stand in the ‘battle of the hybrids’.
Let’s start the debate, will hybrids and electric vehicles give us the greener future we’ve been led to believe? Have your say now!
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