Is a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle an Economical Option for the Family? What to Know About HEV and EV Cost and Performance

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Is it time for a new family car? If so, the good news is that there are endless options if you’re in the market for a new car. These days, you can even buy or sell a car online! While you are doing research on getting a new family vehicle, think about factoring in money-saving and environmentally options such as hybrids or electric vehicles (EV).

What are Hybrid and Electric Vehicles?

These are unique vehicles that harness electricity rather than petroleum crude oils as found in gasoline or diesel. Hybrids and EVs operate by storing electricity in rechargeable batteries that power an electric motor. They perform the same as gas-powered cars with one exception, the electric motor in an EV generates a torque that produces immediate acceleration.  These vehicles must meet the same safety regulations as conventional cars and they are equipped with the same amenities and features as any other car on the market.

What’s the Difference Between a Hybrid and an EV?

An electric vehicle runs exclusively on electricity. It has an electric motor that draws off batteries that are recharged by plugging the car into 120 or 240-volt chargers. Because EVs operate exclusively from electricity, they have zero tailpipe emissions.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) utilize electric motors that are powered by batteries, combined with a combustion engine that runs on unleaded gas or diesel. They do not require a charging station because the electric batteries draw power from the combustion engine and through the braking system. Because they use fuel, they do have tailpipe emissions but these are significantly less than conventional cars thanks to the aid of electric power.

How a Hybrid or EV Can Save Money for the Family

Now that we have basics about what HEVs and EVs are, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty as to why they might be a cost-effect new car for your family.

Save Money and Time: The days of paying 50 cents per gallon at the pump are long gone. The cost of fuel is rising and there is no sign of prices dropping in the future.  Because EVs do not use fuel, all that money stays right in your family budget. Using the Nissan Leaf as an example, this could amount to an average of $5000 in savings from fuel over a five-year period. Additionally, you don’t have to make any more trips to the gas station to fill up; you just simply plug into a Nissan Leaf charger overnight and you’re good to go the next morning. For many busy families, this poses a major convenience. Hybrids, on the other hand, do require fuel, but significantly less than conventional cars. You may anticipate average fuel savings of about $3000 over five years with an HEV.

Cost to Buy: All this talk about fuel savings is great, but what about the initial price of an EV or HEV? According to Car and Driver Magazine, the costs of these vehicles has decreased about 13% from previous years, whereas the average cost of a new gas-powered car has increased by 2%. Furthermore, the cost of electric cars compared to similar gas-powered models is expected to continue to decrease in the future, making up-front costs for EVs more appealing for the family budget. 

Price ranges for HEV and EVs vary wildly. Using the Nissan Leaf again as an example, a brand new 2021 starts at $31,670 MSRP.  On the flip side, a 2021 Tesla Model X  starts at $79,900 MSRP.

More Financial Incentives: If the initial cost of a new hybrid or electric car seems daunting to you, there is good news. You may benefit from federal tax credits and financial incentive deals as high as $7500 for the new purchase of a non-gas-powered car. These price reductions are generated by the government and car manufacturers as a way to entice car buyers to go with no-emission cars as an effort to improve the environment.

Lower Cost Maintenance and Repairs: Because an EV has an electric engine, it doesn’t require oil, which means you save money on pricey oil changes. For an HEV, oil changes are necessary but recommended at 5,000 miles (instead of the 3,000 miles recommended for conventional cars). You may also anticipate fewer repairs because, in the case of an HEV, the gas engine shuts down while traveling at slower speeds or when idling and the electric engine takes over. This means less taxing on the engine and fewer repairs in the long run.

If these cost-cutting incentives don’t have you sold on the idea of buying a new EV or HEV for the family then consider the global benefits. These vehicles are made from domestic and renewable resources which means less reliance on foreign petroleum. Additionally, these cars lower greenhouse gasses because they have little to no emissions that cause damage to the environment.  In some ways, buying an EV is like an investment in your kids’ and grandkids’ future so they can enjoy this beautiful world for a very long time to come.

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