What do I do if my battery runs out in the middle of the road? Do I really save fuel with hybrid electric cars? Almost 15 years after the public exhibition of a hybrid electric car in Peru, this technology is still relatively new to a large part of the population.
“Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) combine the power of at least one electric motor with an internal combustion engine. A notable feature is the energy recovery system through regenerative braking. In other words, when the driver presses the brake pedal, the electric motor becomes a generator that converts kinetic energy into electricity. This electricity is stored in the battery and can be used to drive the electric motor,” explains David Caro, marketing and corporate affairs manager at Toyota del Perú.
Below we present the five most important myths surrounding hybrid electric vehicles:
Myth 1: When the battery is dead, there is no place to plug it in and charge it.
Fact: Hybrid electric cars cannot be plugged in. They use energy recovery systems during braking and combustion engine operation to maintain battery charge, so drivers don’t have to worry about the battery running out on the road. The situation is different with purely electric vehicles. For example, driving inland into the central jungle, where there are no electric vehicle chargers, the driver would have to stop for several hours to charge the batteries.
Myth 2: They lack the same performance as conventional vehicles.
The fact is: Hybrid electric cars not only have performance comparable to conventional vehicles, but in many cases also have better response. The electric motor provides instant boost and surprising acceleration, which is efficiently complemented by the combustion engine.
Myth 3: They are more complicated and expensive to repair than conventional vehicles.
Fact: Hybrid electric car technology is becoming more accessible to automotive technicians and most repairs can be completed at regular mechanic shops. At Toyota, for example, maintenance costs are usually similar or even lower compared to internal combustion engine vehicles.
Myth 4: They are not practical for long trips.
Fact: Hybrid electric cars are ideal for long journeys. Because of the combined use of engines (electric and combustion engines) and the effect of regenerative brakes, the range of hybrid vehicles is significantly greater than that of vehicles that only have combustion engines. In the case of the Corolla Cross, for example, the fuel consumption of the hybrid-electric version is 33% lower than that of the petrol version in tests carried out with regard to fuel consumption.
Myth 5: Hybrid electric cars are not environmentally friendly.
Fact: Hybrid electric cars are environmentally friendly. They emit significantly fewer greenhouse gases than conventional vehicles, helping to reduce air pollution and combat climate change. In the case of the Corolla Cross, for example, CO2 equivalent emissions per kilometer driven in reference emissions tests are 29% lower for the electric hybrid version than for the gasoline version.
According to the Automotive Association of Peru (AAP), sales of hybrid cars in Peru increased by 60% through August 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. This growth is due to the greater availability of hybrid electric cars and lower fuel consumption and the greater environmental awareness of Peruvians. The growth trend is expected to continue in the coming years.
Now that you know the real answers to some of the most common myths about hybrid electric vehicles, I invite you to seriously consider the hybrid option for your next vehicle.