There are always many choices when it comes to car engine. Diesel or gasoline? Naturally aspirated or turbocharged? Piston engine or rotary? Four-cylinder, V6, or V8? All these are typical questions that most car buyers need to face. But in today’s world, many of us are concerned about fuel prices and how the use of fuel affects the environment. And that means we may have to think about engine options like a hybrid or an all-electric.
What’s the Difference?
When you drive a conventional internal combustion engine, you fill up the tank with gasoline which then powers the engine. But with the all-electric, you charge the car’s battery in much the same way you charge the battery of your smartphone. With a full charge, you then have a number of miles to drive around, until you become low in battery power. Then at that point you should either be at home recharging or you’re at a special electric car recharging station.
The hybrid combines an electric engine along with a small internal combustion engine (and not a huge hulking V8, obviously). You know how some appliances like security cameras have battery backups just in case of a power outage? In a hybrid it’s reversed. The electric engine is the main power source, and the internal combustion engine only takes over when the battery runs out of juice. That backup engine also powers the battery, until you can get it recharged by plugging it in. But some hybrid cars can only recharge the electric engine battery with the fuel-fed engine.
Pros and Cons of the Hybrid
Since you have a backup fuel-fed engine, you won’t have to worry about getting stuck in some town without a charging station. Your hybrid can let you go anywhere, since it’s very easy to find a gasoline station to top off.
Your total driving range is also extended when you top off the fuel tank and get your battery fully charged. Your electric engine can probably give you about 30 to 40 miles before the backup engine takes over. And normally the backup engine offers great fuel economy, so you may get at least 450 more miles with a full tank.
With a hybrid, you don’t have to formulate a special route or schedule when you have to go cross-country. You don’t even have to bother looking for special charging stations. You can just drive to your heart’s content, safe in the knowledge that when your fuel tank dips below the quarter level mark, you can easily find a gas station along the way before your gas tank is emptied.
So what’s the catch? Well, this over-reliance on the internal combustion engine may not be all that helpful with the carbon emission impact on the environment. It becomes too easy to just zip along a few miles with the electric engine and then the internal combustion engine takes up the bulk of a journey.
Pros and Cons of the All-Electric
With the really serious environmentalists, the all-electric is the more responsible choice. There’s no chance of contributing to the environmental damage, since you don’t have an internal combustion engine. When you’re in your garage and the engine is running, you don’t have to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning.
As for the range, the electric engine in this type of car offers a far greater range than the number of miles offered by the electric engine in a hybrid. You can get 50 or even 70 miles on a single charge. And then there’s even the new Tesla, which gives you an impressive 250 miles before you need to recharge.
With such a range, you really don’t have to worry about needing to recharge. For most people, there’s really no need to drive 50 miles on any given day. That’s enough range to drive the kids to school, to get to the office, and to stop by at the grocery on the way home.
And if you’re worried about the range, some models offer a range of 70 miles or more. Or you can just get the new Tesla. With 250 miles to use, surely you’re not going to run out of juice during a normal day.
What’s more, you really help the environment. You don’t contribute to the poisoning of the air. You’re forced to take note of charging stations and you have to note how many miles you’ve covered, but these are minor matters when you’re serious about carbon emissions.
If you’re really serious about environmental damage, then get the all-electric. It’s that simple. There’s no chance you’ll contribute to the poisoning of the air. But the hybrid remains as the practical choice for most people. Until there are as many charging stations as there are gasoline stations, the all-electric remains a niche choice. You already have too many problems if you have a family—the hybrid keeps you from too much worry, and you still help with the environment in your own small way.
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