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Things You Should Know Before Buying a Hybrid

In collaboration with Promutuel Assurance

There’s been a lot of talk about the environment and the electrification of transportation in Quebec and in Canada — and the automotive industry is no exception. Hybrid vehicles are becoming more and more popular and the eco-friendly vehicle market is booming. 

If you’re thinking of buying a more environmentally friendly vehicle, a hybrid is a great compromise between a traditional car that runs on gas and one that is 100% electric. To help you make an informed choice when going green, we’ve compiled a list of things you need to know about hybrids and debunked some persistent myths about them.

FEATURES OF HYBRID CARS

According to a recent study by Association des Véhicules Électriques du Québec (AVEQ), there are over 52,500 electric vehicles in Quebec and around 50% of them are plug-in hybrids. So what exactly is a hybrid?

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Definition of a hybrid vehicle
A hybrid vehicle uses two sources of power—gasoline and electricity—as a means of propulsion. It has two engines: an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The vehicle runs on electricity until the battery runs out, then the internal combustion engine takes over. Thanks to its gas tank, a hybrid can travel farther than a fully electric car, so you don’t have to worry about the battery dying.

Two types of hybrid vehicles
There are two types of hybrid: regular and plug-in. You can recharge the battery of a plug-in hybrid by—you guessed it—plugging it in to an outlet. Regular hybrids charge their battery using an internal combustion engine and a regenerative braking system. Both types of hybrids consume less fuel than a traditional car, which in turn reduces the amount of pollutants and GHG emissions the car produces. 

MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT HYBRIDS
Some people think hybrid cars are no more eco-friendly than regular cars. They’re wrong. Even though hybrids are not as environmentally friendly as fully electric cars, they do use less gas, especially plug-in hybrids. Myths like these persist, so we’re here to set the record straight!

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Myth: hybrid cars are always more expensive
Hybrids may cost more to buy, but there are other things to take into consideration. Plug-in hybrids are eligible for a government rebate of up of $8,000. And what with the growing demand, there are more models on the market and prices are more competitive. Not to mention how much you’ll save on gas and maintenance costs over time! 

Myth: Hybrids aren’t for fans of high-performance cars and new technologies
According to an AVEQ survey, 96% of electric or hybrid car owners are very satisfied with their purchase. Car manufacturers are constantly innovating and diversifying their offer, which means they’re always working on more technologically advanced hybrids that perform better and accelerate faster.

Myth: Hybrid batteries don’t last very long

Quite the opposite! Some hybrid batteries last as long as the cars themselves. This should come as no surprise—they’re designed with a long life expectancy. The same is true of the car itself, because the electric motor means the gas engine isn’t running all the time, so it doesn’t deteriorate as quickly. Hybrids and their batteries are pretty solid, reliable, and long lasting.

Photo: Hyundai

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST HYBRID FOR YOU

Now that you have a more realistic idea of hybrids, it’s time to determine what kind is the best fit for your needs and lifestyle. Between hybrid cars and vans and even SUVs, there’s something for everyone. 

There are a number of tools out there to help you decide. Electric and hybrid car guides contain a wealth of information (prices, features, technical descriptions, etc.) on the many models, some of it based on road tests. It’s like choosing the right car insurance—you just need to ask yourself the right questions. 

Should you get a regular hybrid or plug-in hybrid?
That depends on a lot of things, but the main thing to keep in mind is the distances you travel (always on the road, short trips, or long hauls) and the options you have for plugging your car in at work or at home. In short, you need to determine your profile, do your research, and make a well-informed decision based on your lifestyle. 

A good hybrid is the perfect mix of economic and environmental benefits, combined with a great driving experience. All you have to do is find the one that’s right for you. And remember to get car insurance so you’re well covered!

Photo: D.Boshouwers