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Thread: Hybrid vehicles - good? bad?

  1. #1

    Default Hybrid vehicles - good? bad?

    Has anyone here a lot of experience of knowledge about hybrid vehicles?

    I’ve seen some models come and go. So it really makes me wonder what the underlying cause was for cancelling any particular hybrid model. Low sales, low gas prices, system problems, unhappy customers, ...?

    Then, if I were to buy a hybrid, either a discontinued (i.e. abandoned) model or a new or existing model, what problems might I face in the future when battery problems arise? (With gas vehicles I tend to assume fairly easy ‘repairable-ness’ for at least 20 yrs. though shorter for OEM parts.) How about hybrids?

    Batteries getting weaker with age affects some products, does it also affect hybrid batteries?

    When OEM are gone, then used and reconditioned will be the only choice. Will they be readily available or will the vehicle be out of commission for weeks?

    What about labour? Is that part costly? And what is battery conditioning? And is there other battery maintenance?

    Then, winter issues? Any change to range and battery life of each charge, etc?
    Last edited by KC; 29-06-2018 at 01:01 PM.

  2. #2


    You would have to be much more specific on what TYPE of hybrid you're talking about here. There are many different kinds. Like any vehicle, the more stuff you add to it, and the more complex you make it, the more things can break, and the more complex it is to repair.

    There are hybrids that can drive on 100% gas engine and are assisted with an electric motor, which also recharged the battery when your brake.

    There are part-time systems that can run 100% on electricity and share the load with the gas engine which is still mechanically driving the wheels. These are also recharge when braking.

    There are some that are closer 100% electric but still have a gas engine. However the car is driven only by electric motors, and the gas engine is only used as a power generator to both power the electric motors and recharge the battery. The gas engine is not connected to the driveline at all. It can also be recharged by braking and being plugged into grid power.

    Then finally there's the 100% electric with no gas engine at all that runs purely on battery power. The battery is recharged when braking, and when plugged into grid power. This is the type that will have "range anxiety" because you can't just fill up with gas and carry-on, you need to wait for it to recharge. This type however is not considered a hybrid, it's an EV (electric vehicle).

    Also when talking about hybrids with large battery banks, yes those batteries slowly degrade over time and may need replacing. Electric motors that are subjected to the abuses of driving on rough roads in hot and cold temperatures also lose their efficiency in both powering and regenerative braking.

    I wouldn't buy a used hybrid unless it was less than a year old, not only because of usage wear and tear, but also because of changes in technology in recent years. Of course next year's hybrids will be better than this year's, but you have to draw the line somewhere and just get one.

    I already mentioned increased complexity for repairs, so that should answer your maintenance cost question. But, if you buy new, then that's what warranty is for, and then extended warranty. Extend as long as you can, and then trade. Keeping a hybrid for 20 years is not feasible because of how different things will be in 5-10 years. There may be completely different components and battery technologies being used that won't even be compatible with your old hybrid.

    Winter can affect your battery because they don't like being used in the cold. However, they also have battery warmers, which consume electricity... The heating of the cab can also be an issue, but more-so if you're talking about a car with electric heat vs a conventional car that uses heat from the cooling system. A 100% EV car will use A LOT of its battery power to generate heat to warm the passengers, and in very cold conditions can be insufficient to keep you warm (read reviews on the Chevy Volt's heating system as well as others). It can eat up 10-40% of your battery power while driving. Winter also makes recharging your cold battery take a while longer.

    Same goes in the summertime with Air Conditioning, but it's actually not as bad as heating. Running with the AC on will consume 7% of your power to keep the car cool.

    I've looked at hybrids for a long time, and I've followed the progress of the Leaf, Volt, Bolt, Tesla, etc. Over the years, technology has vastly improved, and it should only get better. I'd like to get one for the wife one day, but for me it wouldn't work and I need a truck. Even still, getting the 2.7L Ecoboost was a great choice. I can drive 1300 km's (maybe more) on one tank on the highway (136L tank) and about 900km's in the city. It also has stop/start so the engine turns off when I'm at a red light. And it still tow our camper and boat easily. Can't complain!

    Question really is : What kind of vehicle are you actually talking about here? A hybrid or an EV?

  3. #3


    So I’m thinking of some sort of larger hybrid suv. Maybe the GM products: Tahoe, Yukon, Escalade made from 2008 to 2013 and then cancelled*. (I really need either a full size size SUV or a new utility trailer.)

    Alternatively I’m also thinking of looking at an all electric (Tesla) for city driving and then picking up an old Suburban or Expedition for highway trips.

    In the last we had two mid-size vehicle’s Pilot & Saab then later Pilot and CRv plus an Excursion for towing and hauling. That 3rd vehicle approach worked out really well especially with the 1990s 4cyl Saab Aero turbo which was a fantastic highway vehicle. (The Saab could easily do Edmonton to Kamloops on one tank.)

    * the fact that GM cancelled these hybrids really makes me suspicious of the product.
    If it was simply that people didn’t buy them, then why didn’t they buy them? Fuel savings would have paid for the extra cost and large numbers of people buy far more expensive vehicles since it seems everyone borrows or leases these days so I don’t see money being a huge factor.
    Last edited by KC; 24-06-2019 at 06:20 AM.


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