Hybrid Car Repairs: Taking Care of Your Vehicle

Are hybrid car repairs more expensive and extensive than those for gas-powered vehicles? The answer could help you determine whether to purchase a hybrid vehicle. In addition, knowing the maintenance needs of a hybrid can help keep it out of the shop and on the road. First, it is essential to understand how hybrid vehicles differ from gas engine autos.

How Are Hybrids Different?

The top reason for driving a hybrid car is obvious: it’s a major fuel saver. These vehicles combine the power of gasoline with battery-stored electricity, combining the best of both worlds. Instead of letting the energy produced by the gas tank to go to waste, electric drive systems store the excess energy in a battery. Besides assisting the gas engine in powering the vehicle, the battery also takes over and allows the gas engine to shut off whenever possible.

Batteries

Most manufacturers warranty hybrid batteries for up to 10 years or 150,000 miles. If your battery happens to expire after the warranty, repair and replacement costs could drain between $1,000 and $6,000 from your wallet. Here’s the good news: that is the only potential extra maintenance cost you risk when driving a hybrid.

Regenerative Braking

Because of the way a hybrid vehicle is designed to bear some of the gas engine’s burden, certain parts of the vehicle are preserved, including the braking system. Each manufacturers’ design is different, but most use regenerative braking to trap and store electricity in the battery. With this system, the driver should slow down gradually in order to harvest the most electricity possible from the braking system. This technology causes less wear and tear on the brake pads.

Oil Changes

Since the gas engine is used less, the oil need not be changed as often. Instead of the standard 3,000-mile recommendation for an oil change, hybrid owners can eek out 5,000 miles between oil changes.

Car Repairs

Over a decade, barring a battery malfunction not covered by a warranty, hybrid car owners can expect to spend the same amount of money as owners of gas-powered vehicles on maintenance, if not less. Here are some tips to prevent unexpected repair costs:

Always keep the battery charged by slowly coming to a stop, allowing the regenerative braking system to store electricity. You will extend the life of the battery by never allowing it to drain completely.
After coming to a complete stop, slowly pick up speed in order to preserve fuel.
Use synthetic oil in your hybrid vehicle and you may not need another oil change for 10,000 miles.
Don’t attempt to diagnose a problem with your battery; it’s best to leave repairs to a licensed professional to reduce the risk of shock.
As the owner of a gas-saving, bank-account-boosting hybrid vehicle, make sure to employ a licensed, experienced auto mechanic to conduct routine and emergency hybrid car repairs.

Jill Smith is a writer and researcher. She is the Director of Digital Content Marketing for Be Locally SEO where she enjoys helping clients expand and improve their businesses through articles, blogs, website content and more.

Is It Time for a Purely Electric Car to Become Mainstream?

Electric cars have stepped out of sci-fi thrillers into our day to day life. They are all around us. Those who are ready to take the plunge into fully electrical car, hybrid petrol and electric automobiles are a good alternative. Millions of hybrids have been sold and many millions are waiting to be sold.

Electric cars are trending

Pure electric vehicles are surely gaining a foothold in the market. Last year in Great Britain alone some 13 thousand electric vehicles were sold. This is not an earth shattering number but enough to justify broader infrastructure and more R&D investment in new models of electric cars. Two things that might stop a would be electric vehicle buyer from buying are its cost and lack of sufficient charging stations.

Cost of Electric Cars

Ever-increasing popularity of electrical vehicles is set to change the cost dynamic of these cars. The price of electric autos is coming down every passing year. Prime examples of this change is reflected in current pricing of electric version of Mitsubishi Outlander and Renault Zoe. Prices are indeed coming down and in the coming five years the premium charged for electrical version of standard or hybrid automobiles may disappear.

Electric Car Charging Infrastructure

This has been the second biggest obstacle. Most electric automobiles have at best a range of 100 miles before they need a charging station. This infrastructure is now in place in and around large cities of most developed countries. It is certainly not as convenient as stopping by a Petrol station to get your tank filled, most electric charging points have the capacity to charge two cars at a time but with 3000 charging stations in just the United Kingdom, it has become feasible to travel long distances with electric cars. In UK alone, there are 700 rapid change stations that will charge your car to 80% in just half an hour.

One obstacle in this is that every manufacturer has chosen a different connector type. There is a strong need for all electrical car manufacturers to standardize on one connector just as every petrol and diesel vehicle can be filled with the same nozzle the world over. With seven different kinds of connectors in use for different electric vehicles, one cannot be sure if the connector used on your car will be available at the charge point on your route. One tip: don’t head to a charging station without checking the Zap Map in advance of any trip as it does list this information.

How to Charge your car

It is always a good idea to hire an electrician to check if your circuit will be able to bear the load of regular overnight charging. If it cannot, then work with him to increase the capacity. Once that is done you can leave your car to charge overnight as you sleep. You don’t have to do this set up alone. Not only can you get a government grant to defray these expenses, many manufacturers will do the set up for you as a part of your electric car purchase package. If you don’t have parking in your home, garage or offroad, most governments in developed world will give you a grant to install a public charging point near your residence or office. You can supplement overnight charging with during the day charging at public charging points.

Two kinds of charging is available at public charging points: fast charging which take three to four hours or rapid charge which takes around half an hour. Too many rapid charges are not recommended as they reduce the life of your battery.

Are electric cars the wave of the future?

The answer is definitely yes. The pioneers who have taken the plunge now are paving the way for the rest of us. With governments encouraging consumers through tax breaks and grants and manufacturers competing with each other to create batteries with longer and longer life, one can only imagine that in a decade or two we might have electric cars that will need charging every thousand miles or so. Then all you would need is an overnight charge. We can then save our fossil fuels for our future generations to derive important petrochemicals for every day use.

Zero Emissions: Why Are Americans Turning Their Backs on an American Car Manufacturer?

Often times the US is referred to as losing the race in STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. Our National averages of student test scores, numbers of graduates and cutting edge researchers in these fields lag far behind several other countries in the world.

Despite these assertions, a global leader in electronic vehicle technology is right here in the USA. So how do we reward that American ingenuity? We flatly reject it. And we put up barriers unknown to any of the foreign car manufacturers that are currently selling automotive products in the United States.

I recently acquired an electric automobile. I must tell you that this has been one of the best purchases that I have ever made. The vehicle not only provides transportation, it is fun to drive and I just love using my frunk “front trunk”. But on a deeper and more personal level, I am a Toxicologist, “The Tox Doc” and part of my mission is to help people reduce their exposures to potentially toxic chemicals. Knowing that it is impossible to eliminate chemical exposures, I aim to help people reduce their daily dosage and decrease their bodily burden by reducing the exposures in our homes, offices, foods and cars. One constant conundrum with driving a traditional gasoline powered vehicle is that I know that I am putting toxic hydrocarbons back into our environment which contributes to the overall impact on our quality of life.

That is why owning an electric car is so thrilling to me! I have actually completely eradicated the dosage of emissions that I put back into the atmosphere by going down to zero! Zero Emissions!! Wow! Getting chemical dosages to zero in our air, water and ground is impossible, so actually driving a car that gets me to zero chemical emissions is pretty amazing. It is great to pull my “Toxla” in next to the other gas guzzlers at home. (Toxla name credit: my daughter)

But to put a huge cherry on top – my electric car FINALLY got me back to owning an American car that I am truly proud of. I have not owned an American car in over a decade and each time that I purchased an American car it was short-lived. For a number of reasons, reliability, fuel efficiency, options, etc. However, to my shock I did not realize the obstacles that would be put in my way to purchase an American made vehicle in America.

Why is this so? I know that the manufacturer of my electric vehicle is not taking the traditional route of doing business, but I am astounded that I could not even purchase my vehicle in my own state. Far too often, I see lawsuits or complaints being filed by American business people who own foreign car dealerships, fighting against Tesla being allowed to sell their products in their state. Using the law and politics to stymy American ingenuity is not only baffling, it is not patriotic, it is not free market and it smells a little bit like communism. As a business owner myself, I wonder what it would be like if others were told that their products, goods and services could not be sold because other business owners are worried about my products sales. Don’t we have free enterprise in this country so that we can reduce monopolies? Why then are American car manufacturers and petrochemical companies allowed to monopolize the car selling industry and dictate how cars are sold to consumers?

I want access to electric cars and I want it expanded. And so do many others. But guess what traditional car manufacturers? Millions of people are still going to purchase your gas consuming and toxic emission releasing vehicles. I still have one myself. Get over yourselves. Your willingness to waste time, money as well as misuse our legal and political system so that you can get your way is quite parochial. Practice free enterprise, it is the American way.