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Electric Car or Hybrid Vehicle: What You Need To Know

Whether you're committed to sustainable living or just getting tired of high prices at the gas pump, you could consider investing in a hybrid or electric vehicle (EV). As automakers have come to embrace hybrids and EVs as the future of transportation, investments in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and vehicle models have significantly accelerated in recent years. With these vehicles becoming more affordable, they're also becoming a much more economical option for consumers.

So what type of vehicle ━ hybrid or electric vehicle ━ is best for you? Consider these tips and understand what you need to know before making a switch.

Male's hand plugging in a EV charger into his electric car.

How To Prevent Your Engine from Overheating

When car engines overheat, it's largely because there's an issue with the cooling system and heat being emitted from the system cannot adequately disperse from the engine compartment. One common culprit is something as seemingly simple as low coolant levels. Other sources of overheating engines often include cooling system leaks, damaged pumps and clogged hoses.

Owning an Electric Vehicle

EVs are driven by one or more electric motors that draw their power from a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. In other words, unlike a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, you'll never need to put fuel in the tank or worry about oil changes. All you need to do to "fuel" your EV is make sure the battery is charged, either on your home charging station or at a public charging station.

Here's a look at some other key benefits and considerations involved in owning an EV:

  • It's considered very sustainable, as EVs emit zero emissions.
  • The battery range has significantly improved over the last decade. In 2021, the median battery range for EVs was 234 miles on a single charge.
  • Many automakers offer warranties on the lithium-ion battery and electric drivetrain in addition to standard vehicle warranties.
  • It may cost a bit more to insure an EV based on more complicated repairs should it be involved in an accident.
  • Tax credits and other incentives for EV ownership may still be offered.

Owning a Hybrid Vehicle

There are two types of hybrid vehicles, the standard hybrid and the plug-in hybrid electric. Standard hybrids tend to have a small, yet more efficient, internal combustion engine and may also contain a small complementary electric motor and other sustainable features like regenerative braking. The typical hybrid can get anywhere from 48 to 60 miles per gallon ━ up to 35 percent better than a conventional gas-powered car.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) combine an electric motor/rechargeable battery and a small internal combustion engine. Typically, they offer anywhere from 20-40 miles on electric power alone. When the battery is depleted, the traditional gas engine will kick in. Since the engine is typically smaller than that of a conventional vehicle, fuel economy is normally excellent when running on fuel.

Some additional benefits and considerations of owning a hybrid or PHEV are:

  • A sustainable transportation option with fewer emissions compared to conventional vehicles.
  • Hybrids never need to be plugged in and run on traditional fuel. PHEVs need to be plugged in to charge the electric battery and need fuel to power the internal combustion engine.
  • PHEVs typically come with warranties on the lithium-ion battery and electric drivetrain in addition to standard warranties.
  • Hybrids and PHEVs may qualify for federal and state/local tax credits.

So what sustainable vehicle option is best for you? With so many options and more vehicles being developed each year, there's certainly no shortage of choices.

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