Electric Cars and Hybrid Cars: Pros and Cons

Electric and hybrid cars are becoming more mainstream as studies are showing that these vehicles offer benefits of improved fuel economy, lower fuel costs and reduced emissions.1 If you’re contemplating an electric vehicle (EV) or a hybrid car for your next car purchase, you should consider the pros and cons of buying a car that’s not your traditional vehicle.

Here’s a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of electric and hybrid vehicles.

How Electric Cars and Hybrids Work

The “electric cars and hybrids” vehicle category includes electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Electric cars differ from traditional vehicles in that they’re powered by electric motors, not internal combustion engines. Each vehicle depends on a large traction battery pack that stores electrical energy, which in turn powers the electric motor. The electric car gets charged by an “off-board” power source when it’s plugged in to a charging station or wall outlet.2

During driving, regenerative braking might also charge an electric car. This means that when the driver brakes, some of the energy that would typically be lost during braking generates electricity that powers the vehicle.3

Electric cars don’t need liquid fuel such as gasoline or diesel. They also don’t need fuel equipment, such as a fuel pump, line or fuel tank.4

Hybrid vehicles use battery power to supplement a traditional internal combustion engine and do not need to be plugged into anything to charge. Instead, the battery gets charged by a combination of the internal combustion engine and regenerative braking.5

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) come equipped with an internal combustion gas engine as well. These cars need liquid fuel because they run on electricity until their batteries run out, then switch to the gas engine.6

Pros of Electric and Hybrid Cars

Saving Money on Fuel

Do you really save money with an electric or hybrid car? Although the hefty startup costs fall under the “cons” category for electric and hybrid cars, these vehicles generally cost less to run over time due to lower (or no) fuel costs.7

Environmental Considerations of EVs

Hybrid and electric vehicles can have emissions benefits over conventional vehicles, depending on the type of vehicle you choose. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that the emissions benefits of hybrid electric vehicles vary by vehicle model and type of hybrid power system, while EVs typically produce zero tailpipe emissions and PHEVs typically produce no tailpipe emissions when driven in all-electric mode.8

You May Get a Tax Break

All-electric and plug-in hybrids purchased new in or after 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500.9 State and local tax incentives may also apply.

Insurers May Give You a Discount

Buying a hybrid may lead to savings on your car insurance costs. Contact us to find out if you qualify for any discounts.

Cons of Electric and Hybrid Cars

Shorter Range

Consumers who may have “range anxiety,” or the fear of running out of charge while on the road, may now find their concerns alleviated by larger batteries and growing access to charging stations. In 2020, the average all-electric vehicle range was 260 miles, with some exceeding 400 miles.10

It’s also important to understand that driving conditions – including hot and cold weather – as well as how you drive your vehicle, may impact the driving range of electric and hybrid vehicles. You can visit the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website for tips on maximizing your electric car’s range in extreme temperatures.11

PHEVs typically have ranges of about 15 to 60-plus miles when just using battery power.12 However, they can also switch over to an internal combustion engine (running on liquid fuel such as gasoline), when the battery is depleted.

Higher Upfront Cost

Typically, electric cars have a higher upfront cost than traditional internal combustion vehicles or hybrid vehicles. Initial costs may be offset by fuel cost savings over time, a federal tax credit, and state and utility incentives. You can learn more about the federal tax credit and state incentives13 by visiting the  U.S. Department of Energy website.

Should I Buy an Electric Car?

If you’re considering going with an electric or hybrid car for your next vehicle, research your options carefully. Think about how an electric car would impact your life on a daily basis. For example, do you know where the charging stations are in your area and how often you might need them? Taking the time to gather information and review your data can help you make a wiser buying decision. Here are a few extra things to consider:

Charging Your Electric Car

How long does it take to charge an electric or hybrid car? It’s a simple question with a not-so-simple answer. The length of time it takes to charge an electric car depends on the amount of charge required – and the type of charging available.

Today’s electric car drivers have the option to charge their vehicles by plugging the vehicle’s charger into the electrical power grid at home, work or at public charging stations.14 The three main types of chargers include:

  • Level 1 Charging through a 120V AC plug, typically found in private and public buildings. Every hour charged delivers approximately 2 to 5 miles of driving.15
  • Level 2 Charging through a 240V (household) or 208V (commercial) plug that must be specially installed; this also requires specialty charging equipment. A Level 2 electric car charging delivers about 10 to 20 miles of driving per hour of charge.16
  • DC Fast Charge uses specialized high-powered charging equipment, plus requires specialized equipment within the electric car as well. Just 20 minutes of charging delivers 60 to 80 miles of driving through a 480V AC input.17

Therefore, the amount of time required to charge an electric car varies. If the battery gets completely drained, it could take anywhere from 20 minutes (with a “DC Fast Charge”) to more than 20 hours (with Level 1 charging) to fully charge the car.18

Consider Purchasing a Used Hybrid

If you can’t afford a new hybrid, consider buying a used one. You can do research online to find a service that provides vehicle history reports, to track service records and rule out vehicles that have performed poorly.

Once you’ve made your decision about the car you’d like to buy, consider your insurance options. Call (Agency Name) to make sure you have the coverage you need.  (phone number) (Auto Insurance Quote)

Sources: https://www.travelers.com/resources/auto/buying-selling/electric-cars-and-hybrid-cars-pros-and-cons

Teen_Drivers_-_Reduce_Danger (1)

Gig-economy workers are 4 times as likely as other drivers to use smartphone apps regularly while driving, a new survey from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows.

“The explosion of smartphone features and services has not only created new forms of driver distraction, but also a new group of rideshare and delivery drivers whose jobs require them to interact with their phones while they’re on the road,” IIHS President David Harkey said.

Parents are also nearly 50 percent more prone to routinely making video calls, checking weather reports and other types of smartphone-enabled distractions than drivers without children 18 or younger, the survey found.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that more than 3,000 people died in distraction-related crashes in 2020, accounting for 8 percent of all traffic-related fatalities. Because it’s difficult to determine if distraction contributed to a crash, that number is almost certainly an underestimate.

Anything that diverts the driver’s attention — eating, adjusting the radio, putting on makeup — can increase the risk of a crash. But tasks involving mobile phones and other electronic devices can be both more demanding and more tempting than other common distractions. The variety of smartphone applications has also exploded in recent years.

To begin exploring the impact of these newer applications, IIHS surveyed more than 2,000 drivers nationwide about what secondary tasks they perform while driving. Tasks were separated into ordinary activities and those that involved a mobile phone or another electronic device, and the device-based activities were further categorized into basic talking and texting and smartphone-based activities like programming a navigation app or checking a social media feed. For some device-based activities, drivers were also asked whether they performed the task using a hands-free feature.

Overall, nearly two-thirds of the participating drivers reported performing one or more distracting activities of any type most or every time they drove over the past 30 days. Half said they performed at least one device-based task during most drives. Common device-based activities included making phone calls, streaming music and reading texts, but the most common was programming a navigation app. Far fewer people reported playing games on a mobile device while driving, but 8 percent said they play games regularly while they’re behind the wheel.

For the most part, the drivers said they usually used the hands-free feature for device-based activities when the capability was available. About 8 out of 10 drivers who said they regularly programmed their navigation app and 7 out of 10 who said they regularly read and sent texts while driving reported that they used voice commands to do so.

“Hands-free operation is generally believed to be less dangerous, since drivers can more easily keep their eyes on the road,” said IIHS Research Associate Aimee Cox, the lead author of the study. “However, it doesn’t eliminate the distraction altogether.”

Previous research has shown, for instance, that hands-free systems that require drivers to perform some operations manually, such as scrolling through a contact list, are less safe than those that can be managed completely with voice commands. Hands-free capabilities are irrelevant or impractical for some smartphone-based activities, such as scrolling social media or playing games.

Not surprisingly, the survey showed that drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 were more likely to use smartphone apps while behind the wheel than drivers ages 35-49. Less predictably, however, it also showed that parents of children 18 and younger were 65 percent more likely than other drivers to perform non-device-based tasks, 31 percent more prone to any device-based distraction and 47 percent more likely to engage in smartphone-enabled secondary activities.

Gig-economy workers were more than twice as likely as other drivers to engage in any distracting activity and nearly 4 times as likely to regularly use smartphone apps while driving. The smartphone-based activities they performed also went well beyond communicating with customers and navigating to pickup and delivery locations using the app provided by their employer.

One possible reason could be that they’re more tempted to conduct other business or find ways to entertain themselves while driving because their jobs force them to spend so much time behind the wheel. In response, ridesharing and delivery companies should put in place or strengthen policies that mandate safe practices for necessary operations and restrict device-based behaviors that are not an essential part of the job.

“These results show that nobody is immune to distraction and suggest that hands-free capabilities may be making us a little too comfortable using our phones and other devices behind the wheel,” said Harkey.

Source:  https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/smartphone-apps-drive-gig-workers-parents-to-distraction