Hybrid Cars – List of Real Drawbacks to Owning a Hybrid Vehicle

As oil prices continue to increase amid depleting supplies and rapid growth in demand, all economies globally are feeling the setbacks of the need to curtail excessive consumption of fuel.

For quite some time, research and development has been actively finding ways on how problems regarding very high demand could finally be eliminated. With the advent of the hybrid car, car owners and users all over the world are now finding relief that indeed there is hope.

A hybrid car is a specially designed and manufactured vehicle that combines the power of the conventional gasoline engine and electricity. In the past, many have referred to hybrid vehicles as electric vehicles.

Technically, a hybrid car could not be classified as purely electric because only about 40% of the energy consumption of the vehicle is from electric sources, in the form of stored electricity in batteries.

Though the wide use of hybrid cars provide hope that in the future, when oil supplies finally and completely runs out, the transportation industry would not feel the drawback. Yes, for now, driving a hybrid auto could equate to a lot of savings on the part of the car owner.

At least, the overall consumption of oil could be significantly lowered. Research is still ongoing so that in the near future, further better versions of the modern hybrid auto could be developed and launched into the market.

However, just like many other predecessor technologies, there are actual setbacks to owning and using a hybrid car. Many people hope that in the coming months or years, people could finally realize a better and more effective hybrid car. Here are the most practical and obvious of those drawbacks.

1. Because the hybrid car technology is still a relatively new car technology, it is just logical that the vehicle is expensive. On the average, a hybrid car these days costs more than the regular and usual cars by around $2,000 to $5,000. That is just right and is expected with the high demand for the car as more consumers get excited about it and manufacturers continue to produce the vehicle models on a limited ability.

2. Any hybrid car needs to allot a significant amount of space for battery. Because the hybrid car needs batteries to keep it going and for the use of some if its functions, the overall weight of the car gets more and more.

3. There are several states in the United States and some other global governments globally that are charging more additional fees and other charges for acquisition and registration.

4. If the hybrid car gets into possible crashes and collisions in the future, there is a risk that the incident would be more tragic. A hybrid car typically and normally has high voltage wires within it.

5. A regular and even simple hybrid car is made of a very complicated car system. Thus, ordinary mechanics would not have the needed and required skills and knowledge to attend to any technical need for maintenance of any hybrid car.

6. Because hybrid cars are still not too rampant and ordinary, buying spare parts may be very hard, if not impossible. Further, costs of spare parts can be very expensive.

7. It is a common knowledge that hybrid cars run slower than regular car models.

Electric Vehicle Kits – Build Your Own Electric Car

With rising fuel costs, more and more people and are looking for alternatives. One such alternative that is gaining popularity, especially with the do-it yourself types, are the electric vehicle kits. Anyone familiar with automobiles can now use these kits to convert traditional gas powered vehicles to one powered by electric current.

However, converting a traditional Gas powered vehicle into an electric vehicle can be a very daunting task. Only those who are the very mechanically minded should try this. To convert the vehicle will require extensive modifications to nearly all-mechanical parts of the car. Everything from the engine to the radiator, heater and air-conditioning, to the gauges on the panel. On top of that, the electric cars have to be recharged on a regular basis, which means having to purchase or use the services of recharging station. Solar power could be another potential source of power for the electric vehicle.

Can any car be converted into an electric vehicle?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Not all cars can be converted into an electric vehicle. However, and the most common electric vehicle kit seems to be the Chevy S-10 pick up kit. For examples to follow just do a search online for Chevy S-10 pickup Electric conversions.
Other cars that are good candidates for conversion are the Chevy Geo, especially from 1989 to 1999. These cars are good potential candidates for an electric vehicle kit conversion. Cars similar to the Chevy Geo Metro, such as the Chevy Sprint, Pontiac Firefly and the Suzuki Swift are also ideal for conversions too.

Are there downsides to using an electric vehicle kit?

Going back a few years, many people associated electric powered vehicles with slowness and a lack of power. But as usual, thanks to technology, significant advances in the electric vehicle have changed all that. With these electric vehicle kits some cars can reach top speeds of between 70 and 75 mph. nonetheless, converting to electric power still has its drawbacks.

The biggest drawback it is of course the need for recharging the batteries. As an example, the Chevy Geo Metro kit must be recharged every 20 to 40 miles, depending on driving habits and battery quality. For city driving, this would be ideal. However, for lengthy commutes on the highway, this would not be ideal.

The Chevy S-10 with an electric vehicle kit installed will run a little longer on a single charge. On a single charge, the S-10 should last between 40 and 60 miles. Again this depends upon the driving habits as well as the size and quality of batteries. Some S-10 models can be equipped with solar powered panels which would in reduced in the need for charging, at least when driving during daylight hours.

Converting vehicles with electric vehicle kits is not a cheap affair. Most conversion kits seem to cost between $8000 to $10,000. And this does not even include professional installation as well as the cost of the batteries, not to mention access to or the purchase of a charging station.

Quite frankly, with the cost involved of using an electric vehicle kit, it probably wouldn’t be very practical for the average consumer, especially if they do a lot of highway driving. However, that being said, it probably would be ideal for a back yard mechanic who loves to tinker with cars and has a few bucks to throw around and wants to impress his beer-drinking buddies.

Electric Cars Are Drawing Investors But Not Buyers

Electric cars have been in the news recently, with Tesla Motors raising large amounts of money from investors and General Motors banking on the Chevy Volt to renew its prospects for becoming a viable company again. GM is planning to roll out the Chevy Volt next year (OK, the Volt is not an all-electric car, but it can be fairly described as mostly electric), but it is not clear how well it will be embraced by potential buyers.

According to JD Powers and Associates, the large automobile industry polling organization, consumers will not be flocking to the new electric cars, and the reason is fairly obvious. They simply cost too much.

The report projects that it will be difficult to convince a large number of car buyers to purchase electric cars, or even hybrid cars, due to their higher costs and projects cost of maintenance. When told that a hybrid car would cost about $5000 more to purchase, interest in purchasing a hybrid fell by about 50%.

What would create stronger demand from consumers for hybrid and all-electric cars? The study from JD Powers cites a few factors.

  • A significant increase in the cost of fuel
  • A significant reduction in cost
  • A major improvement in green technologies that would establish better confidence in reliability in the minds of consumers
  • An improvement in the range for driving electric cars
  • Better design

A further issue that affects the image in the minds of consumers for the new electric vehicles is the carbon footprint of the supply chain for power. It doesn’t help to buy an electric car if the power for recharging the battery is derived from a coal-burning power plant. That effectively replaces regular tail pipe emission form a gasoline or diesel-powered vehicle with the emissions from burning coal to produce the electricity that recharges the battery.

In the end, though, it is cost that is foremost in the minds of potential buyers. Consumers are concerned about the environment, but the altruistic urge is overwhelmed by the financial hurdle of shelling out more money to buy a car with a lower carbon footprint.

Based on its survey of consumers and research, JD Powers has projected sales of hybrid vehicles and all-electric cars. The worldwide forecast is for a total of 5.2 million hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles combined. Of this total, approximately 3.9 million units are expected to be hybrids, while about 1.3 million are projected to be battery-powered electric vehicles.