Auto tips: Important Facts about Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Cars

In Malaysia, Hybrids and Plug-in Hybrids have been well-received since their inception as early as 2006. Honda was one of the very first manufacturers to introduce a hybrid, in the form of the Civic, that year. Then came the Honda Insight. Mercedes-Benz and BMW are other manufacturers who pioneered the influx of plug-in hybrids, catering to the premium market. Full EVs (Electric Vehicles) are still making in-roads into the country, but most come under the plug-in hybrid denomination for the time being. Nissan Malaysia was the first manufacturer to bring in the LEAF in 2012, the first EV introduced in Malaysia at an affordable price. Since then, the manufacturers are working with local authorities to establish more charging ports everywhere in the country, but majority of the efforts are made in the capital city and surrounding vicinities only, thus far.  

Regardless, more Malaysians are adopting to the hybrid and plug-in hybrid transition, especially with Government incentives and competitive prices on hybrids and plug-in hybrids. As for full EVs, it’d still take a while before they are being made available for the masses.  

In this auto tips guide, you’ll be able to differentiate a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a fully electric car.  All three types run on electricity to a greater or lesser extent. Firstly, the dual engine hybrid, with a primary combustion engine and an electric motor, where the battery recharges when the vehicle reduces speed. Secondly, the plug-in hybrid, where the battery can also be recharged directly by plugging it in into a socket or charging port. Finally, the 100% electric car, with an exclusively electric engine and plug-in rechargeable battery.

Now that you know the basics, people who’ll consider one of the three types of non-conventional vehicles want to know which one offers a better range and where to recharge them? Range for hybrid is generally low, while plug-in hybrid offers a longer distance on full charge. An EV’s’ battery offer a range of between 200 – 400 kilometers. depending on make and model.  Their duration will depend on how the car is used, as unlike cars equipped with a combustion engine, electric vehicles consume less in city driving.

On the topic of Recharging, cars applicable here are plug-in hybrids and EVs. Recharging points are either public or private (your home). Car companies selling plug-in hybrids in Malaysia usually provide a complimentary charging cable for public charging ports and an optional home charging cable (usually with an extra cost). The good news is recharging time is gradually going down. These days, several plug-in hybrid models recharge to 80 percent in about 30 minutes, with rapid charging.

According to a local daily, Malaysia will have about 3,000 charging stations nationwide by the end of 2020. The two appointed authorities by the Malaysian Government, Green Technology Malaysia Corporation and Tenaga Nasional Energy Services are making a joint effort to put up about 1,000 charging stations by the end of this year.

Electric cars achieve zero emissions, as they are considered zero local emissions vehicles by the very definition of an electric car. In addition, they are also more sustainable from the standpoint of the vehicle’s global life cycle, producing from 17% to 30% fewer emissions when compared with a diesel or petrol vehicle.

The local Government is expected to offer incentives in order to promote the purchase and use of zero local emissions vehicles

In certain European countries, there are specific benefits for EVs including free parking and tolls, privileged access lanes and free access of these vehicles to restricted traffic zones.

During the first wave, a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or Ev is indeed costlier than a conventional car. However, with the cost of batteries lower by 80 percent compared to ten years ago, non-conventional or EV becomes more affordable now. Not to mention, promotions and incentives are included to make owning a plug-in hybrid or EV cheaper.

Let’s not forget about the low cost of electricity! The cost of electricity is considerably lower than that of petrol or diesel. Furthermore, it is estimated that it only costs a third as much to maintain an electric car compared to a vehicle equipped with a conventional engine. And finally, buyers in most countries are eligible for some grants or tax reductions when purchasing a plug-in or an electric car.

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