Electric vs. Hybrid Cars

With rising gas prices and increased concern over environmental impact, many drivers are switching away from fully fossil fuel-dependent vehicles. However, electric and hybrid cars are available, and there are fundamental differences between the two. If you are in the market for a new vehicle and can't decide between a hybrid or electric car, this should help you compare and contrast them so you can make the best choice for you!

When to Buy a New (or Used) Car vs. Repair Your Current Car

Electric Cars:

  1. Overview
    • There are two primary types of all-electric cars: battery-electric and fuel cell electric. Battery-electric cars are likely what typically comes to mind when you think of electric vehicles. These cars are plugged into a charging station, allowing the battery to charge fully, and can then be driven 80-300 miles, depending on the model. Battery electric cars are seeing an increase in mileage as newer and better batteries are produced. The other primary type of electric car is the fuel-cell variety. These take hydrogen gas and combine it with oxygen from outside the car to generate electricity within the engine, which powers the vehicle. Fuel-cell electric vehicles have a range of about 300-400 miles on a single tank of hydrogen.
  2. Pros and Cons


    • Both types of electric vehicles offer substantial cost savings on fuel expenses
    • Fully-electric vehicles are the most environmentally friendly, producing the fewest emissions
    • Battery-electric vehicles can be charged at home using a standard 120 or 240 Volt house plug or on the go at a charging station
    • Fuel-cell electric vehicles come with three years of free hydrogen fuel from the manufacturer
    • Ranges for electric vehicles are increasing every day
    • Electric vehicles are ultra-quiet
    • Several states, including California, offer tax incentives for purchasing a fully-electric vehicle
    • Battery-electric cars can use DC fast charging, which charges up to 100 miles of range in 30 minutes or less
    • Fuel-cell vehicles can be refueled in under 5 minutes
    • Fully electric vehicles have the fewest maintenance costs, as there is no need to change oil or perform most routine maintenance operations needed for standard fossil-fuel vehicles

    • Cons:

    • Access to charging stations is limited in many states and areas
    • Hydrogen gas is not readily available across the US
    • Electric cars are generally more expensive to purchase than fossil fuel-dependent vehicles
    • The range of electric vehicles means that long road trips will require more frequent stops to recharge or refuel

Hybrid Cars:

  1. Overview
    • Hybrid vehicles are designed to operate off both fossil fuel and electric power independently. The typical configuration includes a battery-electric system, which charges similarly to an all-electric vehicle, and can last around 25-30 miles, during which zero emissions are produced. After the battery is depleted, the vehicle will automatically switch over to fossil fuel power. The fuel system works the same as any standard vehicle, accommodating a full tank of fuel in addition to the electric battery system.
  2. Pros and Cons


    • Provides reliable transportation when charging an electric vehicle is not an option
    • For shorter drives, the vehicle can operate in fully-electric mode
    • Hybrid vehicles substantially decrease spending on fuel
    • Carbon emissions are reduced by hybrid vehicles
    • Hybrid vehicles have a much longer range than fully electric cars
    • On average, hybrid vehicles are less expensive than fully electric

    • Cons:

    • Hybrid vehicles are not as environmentally friendly as fully electric, unless you are always driving short distances
    • Charging hybrid vehicles takes much longer, as they are not compatible with DC fast charging
    • The battery on hybrid vehicles is substantially smaller than that of fully electric cars, meaning their electric range is significantly reduced
    • Hybrid vehicles have higher maintenance costs than their electric counterparts, nearly equivalent to the maintenance requirements of non-electric vehicles

Having now read about both electric and hybrid cars, you might be wondering which one is better overall. In terms of environmental impact, fully electric vehicles have a smaller ecological footprint. If you're concerned with convenience, hybrid cars might be best if you live somewhere where charging stations are not widespread and accessible or if your commute is under 30 miles. Also, the type of electric vehicle you purchase matters because one requires hydrogen gas that may not be available in your area. No matter which option you choose, both fully electric and hybrid vehicles are better for planet Earth than traditional fossil fuel cars. If you're ready to make the switch to an electric vehicle, consider donating your old car through an organization like Charitable Adult Rides and Services. Electric vehicles have a positive net impact on the environment, and donating your old vehicle has a positive impact on a charity of your choosing.