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Decoding the Future of Automobiles in India; Electric VS Hybrid Cars – Watch Video

Edited By: Manav Sinha


Last Updated: June 21, 2020, 11:00 IST

Image used for representational purpose. (Photo: Reuters)

Image used for representational purpose. (Photo: Reuters)

We are switching over from conventional petrol/diesel-powered cars to a new future. We know that. But what is that future going to be like?

The phrase “future of automobiles” has been thrown around quite a lot in recent times but when you pause and think about what exactly is this future going to be like, well, there are two major possibilities that shine over all other scenarios. The first is electric vehicles and the second, are hybrid vehicles.

Yes, electric cars have zero emissions, but they are expensive and require supporting infrastructure. So does that mean it is Hybrids which are the future? We find out by comparing the positives and negatives of both electric and hybrid vehicles.

Watch Video:


- Zero tailpipe emission

If one of your biggest concerns is the fact that vehicles cause pollution and you want to strive towards a future with cleaner air, then there’s nothing better than an electric car. Well, technically yes it does require resources to make the car in the first place but once that is done, the tailpipe emissions are actually zero.

- Vehicle Range

Some people might think that electric vehicles have a shoddy range and that’s rightly so because the first popular EV in India, the E20 actually only had a range of 80 km. However, now, cars like the Hyundai Kona would go on to drive about 450 km on a single charge. And internationally, cars like the ones made by Tesla are crossing 600 km on a single charge and it is only a matter of time in the not so distant future that that technology becomes a lot more affordable, making range anxiety a thing of the past.

- Running cost

If you calculate the cost per km of petrol or diesel-powered car versus the cost per km that comes up for an electric car, then well, electric is exponentially cheaper. To put it into perspective, the per km cost of an EV comes out to be less than Rs 1 per km, while for petrol-powered car, on an average, it would start from a cost of Rs 4 per km and only go above from there.


- Not Dependent on Infrastructure

While most of the hybrids like Toyota Camry are self-charging, there are also Plug-in hybrid vehicles or PHEVs like the Volvo XC90 T8 Excellence which can be charged at home or workplace to top up the range.

- No Range Anxiety

Then is the range anxiety, the biggest threat stopping buyers to go all-electric. Since all hybrid cars get dual fuel sources, mostly petrol and electric, there’s no dependency on one type of fuel. You can always use petrol to run the car until the battery is charged.

- Economical

Lastly, the exciting thing about the hybrids is the low vehicle cost itself, which is less than full battery vehicles. This way, you can meet your running expenses quickly.

But then again, both these possibilities come with their own share of negatives too.


- Infrastructure dependency

If you compare the number of fuel pumps that you find on your daily commutes or highway drives versus an EV charging station, then the problem becomes evident. Charging an EV is still a hassle and even if you do happen to find one, it will take forever long to charge as compared to the time it takes to fill up your petrol tank.

- Cost Factor

While the range if an electric vehicle has improved and yes, the running cost of an electric car is exponentially less than a conventional car but there is a catch. You see, the cost of buying a new electric car in the first place is actually way higher than a similar conventional car. Recovering this extra cost could take very long in certain cases. This is because battery technology still has some way to go before it becomes equally expensive to make an electric car and sell to the masses as opposed to something being powered by an internal combustion engine.


- Limited Electric Range

While Hybrid is the immediate answer to pollution, they can’t be the long term solution as they, at the end of the day, are using fuel combined with electric power. And the reason is a limited electric range to offset the higher capacity battery cost.

- Still an Expensive Affair

Also, hybrids, especially in India are still out of common man’s reach. Most of the hybrids like Toyota Camry or Prius are priced around Rs 40 Lakh. No mass manufacturer has yet added proper hybrid tech to their vehicles to make it more affordable.

So there you have it, we have laid out the positives and negatives of electric and hybrid cars. And by now you must be seeing which scenario makes sense in the immediate future – Hybrid vehicles. However, there is still no denying that pollution is an ever-rising concern and there’s no hiding the fact that we have to move towards a cleaner form of energy. And because of that, we will be moving towards a future that is filled with electric cars. The path towards that future, however, is through hybrid vehicles.

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first published:June 21, 2020, 11:00 IST
last updated:June 21, 2020, 11:00 IST