How hybrids could be the bridge to EV adoption?

  • In India, we have three relatively affordable hybrid vehicles. There is Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder, Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara and Honda City.
Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara
The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara is offered with a 1.5-litre strong hybrid powertrain with a claimed fuel efficiency of 21.1 kmpl. However, in real life you can achieve 18 kmpl easily in city conditions.
Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara
The Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara is offered with a 1.5-litre strong hybrid powertrain with a claimed fuel efficiency of 21.1 kmpl. However, in real life you can achieve 18 kmpl easily in city conditions.

Hybrid vehicles are slowly gaining popularity in the Indian market. Sales data shows that hybrids are gaining traction and people are interested in hybrid vehicles. Although the end goal is centred on battery electric vehicles, hybrid cars are playing a crucial role in bridging the gap between pure EVs and fossil fuel-driven models that operate on petrol or diesel. As of now, there are a few reasons why hybrids make more sense than electric vehicles.

More affordable than EVs

Hybrid vehicles are more affordable than electric vehicles. This is mostly because producing large battery packs and powerful motors for electric vehicles is expensive. When compared, hybrid vehicles use smaller battery packs and less powerful electric motors in conjunction with the internal combustion engine.

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Watch: Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara: First Drive Review

No change to lifestyle

With an electric vehicle, comes a change in lifestyle. The customer would have to keep an eye on how much range the vehicle has left and then need to charge it as well. Then they also have to factor in the time that the vehicle will take to charge when they are going somewhere. With hybrid vehicles, there are no such changes to the lifestyle. The customer just needs to use it as a regular vehicle.

Significantly less refueling time

One major issue with electric vehicles is the long charging time. On the other hand, a hybrid vehicle is the same as a normal ICE vehicle as it just needs to refill the fuel tank. Then there is the battery pack which is recharged automatically when the engine is running or through brake regeneration.

Watch: Honda City e:HEV Hybrid: First Drive Review

Limited charging network reach

One of the biggest issues with EVs in India is the lack of charging infrastructure. Even if there are charging stations, a lot of times, the charger would not be working. However, with hybrids, there are no such issues. There is no shortage of petrol pumps so the vehicle can be refilled quite easily most of the time.

Also Read : Declining demand for electric vehicles forces automakers towards price cuts

Range

Another big factor is that electric vehicles have limited range which depends on the battery pack. However, the range of hybrid cars is longer because the hybrid powertrain helps in enhancing fuel efficiency while driving. Often, electric motors are used to drive the vehicle at low speeds where the engine is not efficient. In fact, there are few cars that do not have a traditional reverse gear. Instead, electric motors are used to reverse the vehicle as well.

First Published Date: 29 Jun 2024, 17:48 PM IST
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