Proven Ups and Downs of Hybrid Vehicles in Kenya

As highlighted in our article defining HEV, PHEV, BEV and E-REV, a hybrid car is one that uses more than one means of propulsion.  The main and well known advantage of a hybrid is that it consumes less fuel and emit less CO2 than a comparable conventional petrol or diesel-powered vehicle.

There are however many more advantages of owning a hybrid vehicle as discussed below

1. Hybrid Cars Show You How to Drive Efficiently

Most hybrid vehicles in kenya have a display that shows the average miles per gallon. They even indicate how much energy has been recouped by the brakes. All cars get better mileage when you accelerate and brake gently. The good thing with the hybrid is that you can see it, especially when you accelerate gradually enough so that only the electric engine is used. For those who love to drive fast, once you start driving a hybrid you will unexpectedly start enjoying the challenge of driving efficiently. Most strong hybrids will also have a choice of power modes, too, ranging from eco to power. They enable the driver to choose maximum efficiency or performance depending on the driving conditions.

2. You can beat the advertised Mileage Estimates

Once you get used to following the guidance by the vehicle to drive efficiently, you will get very good mileage even better than those advertised by the car sellers.

3. Hybrids Love the City

Contrary to the ICE vehicles mileage, which are high in the city, and low on highway, hybrids are unique in that their mileage ratings are actually higher in the city than they are on the highway. If your daily commutes involve being stuck in traffic, then a hybrid vehicle will help you take advantage of the braking, start and stop instances. Every time you stop, it generates more electricity, which can then be used at low speeds, or for accelerating quickly. It is in town that hybrid vehicles in Kenya give the highest gas mileage.

4. Hybrids offer the instant torque advantage

In hybrids, the gasoline engine is complemented by a powerful electric motor. Electric motors produce all of their torque from 0 rpm (revolution per minute). This enables hybrid vehicles to accelerate very fast because the oomph is there when you need it. It is kind of like the snap you feel in your wrist when you operate a powerful electric hand tool.

5. It’s Eerily Quiet

For full hybrid vehicles in Kenya, starting them is like turning on a light switch. When the car begins to move, it is so silent that you are confused into thinking it is rolling downhill by itself. This is because the gasoline engine isn’t running and the electric motor is noiseless.

6. The Car Stays Warm

Mechanics will tell you that when you start an engine cold, it is harder to crank and produces more engine wear than when you start one that’s already been warmed up. Some hybrid vehicles in Kenya like Prius, it prevent cold starts by storing coolant in the equivalent of a thermos. This system keeps the fluid warm for up to three days.

8. Durability

One of the big myths out there is that the components of a hybrid will wear out and be costly to replace. In 2011, Consumer Reports tested a 2001 Prius with over 320,000 km on its odometer. They found it still performed nearly identically to the 2001 Prius they tested new, and the hybrid battery was working fine. Only a mere drop of 0.85km per liter was noted as compared to a new Prius. Do not buy into that myth.

9. Don’t Worry about the Battery

Every time someone mentions that they want to buy hybrid vehicles in kenya, the critiques always warn about the cost of replacing the battery ones it fails. There is a popular myth that the battery is unreliable and a replacement is shockingly expensive. The Consumer Reports notes that Toyota sells replacement batteries for Ksh 220,000 to Ksh 260,000. Practically speaking, if you had to replace a battery on a 10-year-old hybrid, you do not need to replace it with a new one, and you can get a refurbished or second hand one for as low as Ksh 40,000 – Ksh 50,000. You can get more reasons why not to worry about the battery by reading this piece on why you should forget about the battery replacement cost and go for that hybrid.

10. Expect Less Maintenance

Like we earlier highlighted on this article on why owning a plug in hybrid or an electric vehicle is cheaper than you thought the need for maintenance on your hybrid car will be lower. One of the neat things about a hybrid is that the gas engine is not running when you are stopped or driving slowly. This happens very often in city driving. The result is that you are putting less wear on your engine.

A case in point, Toyota only recommends oil changes from about 8,000 km to 16,000km or 12months with the plug in hybrid Prius option. This is quite low as compared to the recommended 5,000km for normal ICE engines

Further, brakes should last longer too. Unless you have to brake suddenly, a hybrid regenerates electricity with a regenerative brake instead of applying the standard brakes. Since you could drive around all day without hardly using the conventional brakes, you can expect your brakes to need service far less often than a non-hybrid would. For instance, Toyota Prius was used as a taxi alongside other non-hybrid counterparts and it demonstrated less need for brake maintenance than its counterparts did.

Hybrids also have their down side as discussed below

1. Rising Gas Prices Equals Rising Hybrid Prices

When the fuel prices are high, the demand for hybrid cars tend to go high hence making their prices go above what they are actually worth. On purchase, if the gas prices plummet and stay low for a long time, the cost benefit of the hybrid is negated. As such, it will be harder to recoup the extra money you paid for your car because it is a hybrid.

2. Lower Highway Mileage

For most hybrids, the average consumption rate on highways is similar to that of conventional ICE vehicles. Hybrids make most sense to people who do more city commutes as compared to highway.

3. Mild Hybrids add insult to injury

If you land in the hands of a mild hybrid, you are at a further disadvantage for a number of reasons. First, their engines only stops when the car stops and they can’t run on the electric motor alone. Further, the heat and air conditioning systems do not operate when the engine is off. To avoid this, ensure you go for a full hybrid or a plug in hybrid. They both can run on the electric motor alone.

4. Few Third Row Hybrids

There are very few Hybrid SUVs therefore those looking for large vehicle with third row seating may be at a disadvantage. In Kenya, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the most common SUV hybrid in this segment.

5. Weak 12 Volt Battery

Many Kenyans are surprised to find a 12 Volt battery in the hybrid despite it having a high voltage battery. Yes, it is there and it powers the accessories, like in any other car. The worst part is that if that battery drains on you, you won’t be able to start your car.

We believe that you are now at a better position and can now make more informed decision when buying a hybrid car. Contact us for more information, repairs, spare parts, and maintenance of hybrid, Plug in hybrids and and Extended-Range Electric Vehicles.