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JLeslie's avatar

Can you help me understand plug-in hybrid cars?

Asked by JLeslie (59052points) 1 week ago

If I plug it in all of the time, do I need gas at all? Can I use it like an electric car?

If I can’t plug it in, can I just gas it up, and it will run like a regular hybrid?

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9 Answers

gorillapaws's avatar

1: Not really, though you probably do need to run gas through the engine periodically to keep the motor and other systems in a healthy state, also your gas would eventually get very old and that could cause problems.

2. Yes, though it’s going to have much smaller range, the battery will wear out much faster and you’ll still have all of the maintenance requirements of a gas car like oil changes. If you’re really only using it like an electric car (99%), then it’s a poor option because you have 2x times the stuff that can break and likely a very undersized battery.

3. Yes. You can just drive it like a gas hybrid.

IMO a plug-in hybrid is the wrong choice for nearly everyone. The vast majority of people would probably be better off with a fully-electric car, unless you’re regularly driving more than 300 miles in a day, or you don’t have the option to install a charger at your house, or you have certain requirements like towing a big boat or something.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws Why a wrong choice?

gorillapaws's avatar

@JLeslie They’re expensive. They’re heavy. They suffer from trying to do too many things at once and not doing any of them really well. They have twice the amount of things that can break. Their electric range is very tiny. Everyone’s situation is different though. I drive a Model 3, so I’m sure I’m biased here, but I’ve had over 2 years with it and still get excited every time I get behind the wheel.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws Thanks! I thought about getting a fully electric car, but for driving long distances it doesn’t make sense. I just leased a regular gas car.If we buy something else maybe I’ll try to get electric, maybe something used. I doubt I’ll get to any time soon though.

kritiper's avatar

Usually, the gas engine delivers power if and when the electrical power isn’t enough. Electrical power has a limited range because of the usable battery’s power. That’s when the gas engine takes over.
No matter what type of car you buy, hybrid or totally all electric, you will have a limited electrical range, and batteries that will wear out someday and have to be replaced. A replacement battery for an all-electric car costs in excess of $10,000 and will greatly reduce the trade in values of the car when a new car is to be purchased. Also, electrical fires in electric and hybrid cars can be intense in the event of accidents, either minor or extreme.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I have a plug in hybrid Audi Q5. It only charges from the wall. If the battery runs out (or you really put your foot down) it will switch to petrol.
@gorillapaws is correct in saying it’s a compromise but I don’t think the compromise is as bad as they make out.
The range is small compared to fully electric car but then I only use half the range on a daily basis (and no petrol).
It doesn’t handle as well as the not hybrid version due to the weight of the batteries but if you drive it normally you’d probably not notice and the electric motors mean it accelerates quicker than you expect.
The batteries take up some of the boot (trunk) space compared to the not hybrid but again it’s not so bad as to make you notice you don’t have as much space.
Also compared to a fully electric car you can actually charge the thing from a household socket with out needing a special charger (although is does charge quicker from a dedicated charger).
And if you can’t charge it it switches to gas and off you go.
Until there is better infrastructure particularly out side of big cities I think hybrid is the way to go. I definitely don’t regret buying it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I hate electric cars. You can’t hear them coming. They should be designed to make some sort of noise. Kids, and adults, rely on their ears, as well as sight, to determine if the immediate environment is safe.

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks everyone. Great information so far.

@Dutchess_III I saw discussion about that when electric cars were coming back into fashion. Someone was talking about being able to set your car to sound a certain way like pick from three choices. Maybe one could be a Maserati. Lol.

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