It’s All about Electric Cars

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Many are Proclaiming 2021 “the year of the electric vehicle” but What’s Best for You: Electric or Hybrid?

Luxury car companies are releasing detailed plans to “go electric” over the next decade. By the end of 2024 alone, a record number of nearly 100 fully electric vehicle (EV) models will have debuted. And several luxury cars, including Jaguar, have announced plans to go fully electric by the year 2025. For consumers that means it can be difficult to keep up with all of the changes and many are left wondering if an EV makes more sense than a hybrid. 

According to Forbes magazine electric cars are gearing up for record sales this year. According to a new report by the International Energy Agency, EVs, which accounted for 2.6% of global car sales in 2019, saw a 40% increase over the 1.9% share in 2018, according to Forbes. 

One thing’s for sure: Interest in electric cars is at an all-time high. So if you’re like many others mulling over the leap to electric, you might want to take a closer look at the issues that can impact your decision making. 

First, the basics. What is the difference between a hybrid and an EV?

Plug-in hybrid cars are just what they sound like. They’re hybrid cars that can be plugged in. In plug-in cars there’s two different powertrains, both of which can drive the wheels. There’s an electric motor that lets drivers go a certain limited distance – usually up to 40 miles – and there’s also a conventional gasoline engine that turns on once the electric motor is depleted.

Electric vehicles, however, are fully electric and don’t use any gasoline. Because there’s no gasoline engine there’s usually room for batteries and that allow an EV to go longer distances on electricity alone than a hybrid can. 

Some hybrids charge their batteries using excess energy created as the car decelerates. This is called “regenerative braking.” Others charge them with their combustion engines. There’s also a third type of hybrid automobile called the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (or PHEV), which allows drivers to also charge the battery pack using an external EV charger.

And depending on which EV chargers drivers have in their garage, this can massively reduce fuel costs. 

With so many new hybrids and EVs on the market, how can you tell which is the way to go? Here is a look at some pros and cons of each.

Let’s start with EVs

At the top of the  “pro” list is the fact that electric vehicles are better for the environment because they don’t use any fuel at all. Therefore, you are automatically reducing your carbon footprint by driving one. That lack of gasoline also helps you save heaps of money, by the way. EVs also offer a longer electric-only range than plug-in hybrids (we’ll touch on that again later). At the same time, range can be one of the major drawbacks. While a plug-in hybrid can usually only make it 40 miles before the gas engine turns on – and then up to an additional 300 miles on gas – most electric vehicles are limited to a range of about 80 miles, though certain luxury EVs are changing that with ranges over 200 miles.

The pros and cons of plug-in hybrids include:

 Plug-in hybrids, while better for the environment than conventional cars, still use gasoline engines to support their electric engines. The “pro” is that you enjoy electric-vehicle efficiency in town and the longer range of a gasoline engine on those summer drives. The cons include the fact that there is a diminishing market for them since drivers who want to go electric usually want to go fully electric, so there are fewer models to choose from. The good news is that like EVs there are a plethora of savings and tax rebates to be had on both EVs and hybrids. And states that allow alternative-fuel carpool lanes usually allow both plug-hybrids and electric vehicles in those lanes. 

Still not sure what to do? Here are some other things to consider:


 Hybrids are known for being more efficient than traditional gasoline-powered cars. However, when it comes to efficiency they still don’t to a battery-only electric vehicle. According to Enel X, part of the reason is that an electric vehicle is simply much more simple than a hybrid. An EV usually contains a lithium ion battery that gets recharged as you drive thanks to the magic of “regenerative braking.” Regenerative braking rapidly turns a crank as part of a process called “induction.” The crank then turns gears, the last of which are connected to a long rod (the axles), and the rod turns the wheels. And inside of an electric vehicle you have no ignition, no pistons and no cylinders. While there are hundreds of parts in an internal combustion engine, EVs have just TWO! The simplicity of an EV makes for some major efficiency gains. In fact, the EV is about four times more efficient than gas-powered cars. 


 Between hybrids and EVs, most hybrids still cost less to buy than the average electric vehicle. However, that is rapidly changing as EV prices continue to come down.  Because hybrids have been on the market longer, there are many more types of used models to choose from. However, with the fast-growing inventory of EVs coming on the market you can still find a pre-owned EV at a decent price. Bloomberg NEF predicts that in just two years battery prices are going to drop to where automakers can sell EVs at the same price and profit margin, without subsidies, as ICE vehicles.


 Hybrids of course can drive for several hundred miles before needing a refuel while plug-in hybrids remain gas-dependent for longer trips- so they offer both all-electric ranges and gas-electric ranges which makes them known for convenience.  At the same time the range of fully electric vehicles is getting greater by the day with some luxury models such as the Porsche Taycan capable of traveling over 200 miles before charging is needed. 

Fuel Cost

2020 Consumer Reports study found that the typical electric vehicle owner who does the lion’s share of their fueling at home will likely save an average of $800 to $1,000 a year on fueling costs over a similar gas-powered vehicle. Because they are so simple EVs require minimal maintenance, meaning zero tune-ups or oil changes. There’s no spark plug replacements, belt repairs or any of that. The only routine maintenance for an EV is tire care, air conditioning servicing, occasional brake cleaning and fluid testing, and engine coolant flushing, according to Forbe’s magazine.

Smooth Ride

 Electric vehiclesare super quiet, smooth to drive and increasingly powerful. In fact,  J.D. Power found that 82% of EV owners “definitely” will consider buying another EV once they are in the market for a new one. Hybrids also offer some of the same performance but EVs are now taking over as the cream of the crop.

Enel X sums it up this way:  “When all the factors are taken together—purchase price, range, refueling costs, maintenance and experience—EVs are simply a better investment. Their net emissions are lower, they require less maintenance, they actually cost less over the lifetime of the vehicle, and they’re just more fun to drive.”

So should you buy an electric car now or wait? According to Forbes magazine, if you have plenty of disposable income to put into a new EV and you live in an area with plenty of charging stations this may be the time to make the leap. When you consider available deals and incentives 2021 may just be the year to make the move. 

Charles Agosta, professor of physics at Clark University told Forbes the time is right.

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