Buying a plug-in hybrid: 3 disadvantages

If you are a car buyer anxious about buying an electric vehicle (EV), you should consider buying a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). A PHEV combines the low tailpipe emissions of an EV with the convenience of a gas-powered car. Plus, PHEV drivers don’t have to worry about range anxiety the way EV owners do. However, there are a few downsides to owning a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

How much does a plug-in hybrid cost?

The first drawback to consider with a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is the initial cost. Many PHEVs on the market, such as the BMW i3 and Chevrolet Bolt, are generally more expensive than conventional competitors. For example, the BMW i3 has a starting price of (gulp) $45,445. That’s a steep price for a sane sedan.

A BMW i3 parked in front of Tower Bridge | BMW

The reason for the inflated costs associated with buying a plug-in hybrid is the nature of plug-in hybrids. The vehicles incorporate gasoline and electric transmissions. Additionally, PHEVs can travel short distances on an electric charge alone and draw power from a non-gas burning source, such as a home charger.

How often should you charge a PHEV?

The next downside to consider is how often you need to charge your PHEV to take advantage of its design. According to Consumer Reports, owners should recharge often because hybrid vehicles will generally lack economy over long distances if they are not sufficiently charged.

However, PHEVs can run on gasoline only if necessary. Additionally, owners will be happy to know that the vehicles can suffice with a Level 1 charger, as many EV owners use at home. The reason for this is the smaller batteries compared to real electric vehicles.

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How long do rechargeable hybrid batteries last?

The third downside to consider when buying a plug-in hybrid is electric-only range and battery longevity. Rechargeable batteries usually degrade over time, but they last a long time. In terms of capacity, PHEVs typically lack electric-only range compared to EVs.

According Car and driver, most plug-in hybrids will only cover 20-50 miles on an electric charge alone. However, some outliers are above and below this range. For example, the BMW i3 will travel 126 claimed miles. However, the Subaru Crosstrek plug-in will only manage 17 miles.

It can be difficult to charge a PHEV

The fourth disadvantage of buying a plug-in hybrid to consider is the difficulty of charging. Electric vehicle owners, depending on their location, may have access to fast charging infrastructure, making the process less of a pain. However, many EV owners only have access to Level 1 and Level 2 chargers, which slows the process. Additionally, charging can be tricky if you live in a multi-story structure or don’t have access to EV parking.

The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt is a new PHEV

A new Chevrolet Bolt | Chevy

However, consumer reports says owners can get by with a Level 1 charger. As long as you can find a place to charge, you should be fine with your plug-in hybrid.

Is it worth buying a plug-in hybrid?

A PHEV is an excellent compromise between an electric vehicle and a gasoline vehicle. It combines the convenience of an internal combustion engine (ICE) with an environmentally friendly electrical system. As a result, PHEVs generally get much better mileage than gas-powered cars. Finally, the electric range, however limited, does not prevent you from driving when the charge is exhausted.

If you want to learn more about electric vehicles, scroll down to the next article!

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