7 Tips to Know Before You Buy a Hybrid Vehicle

With gas prices on the rise, everyone is trying to conserve fuel. This is leading to an increased interest in hybrid cars, which are fast becoming a very popular option for many different types of people. Before you decide to buy a hybrid vehicle, you need to know the basics of their operation, the cost to buy one as well as the costs involved to maintain on of these newer types of cars.

1- It is important to note that on average a hybrid vehicle will cost around $3,000 more than its all gas counterpart will. While most people will weigh this price increase against the price of the gas that they will be saving, it can cause a pretty severe case of sticker shock. Be prepared for this if you are shopping for a hybrid.

2- Just like conventional vehicles, hybrid cars need a battery to run. While a traditional battery will cost approximately $50-$150 to replace, a battery for a hybrid car costs considerably more, about $2,000-$3,000 and those prices are just for starters. With this in mind, it is important to know that hybrid batteries have been known to run between 8 and 10 years before needing to be replaced.

3- If you are sitting on the edge of making a decision of whether to buy a hybrid vehicle or it is more traditional counterpart, you may be interested to know that the government may allow a tax deduction to those people who choose to purchase the more fuel-efficient hybrids. While this deduction is not guaranteed from one year to the next, it has been as high as $2,000 in the past.

4- Another consideration to buying a hybrid vehicle that needs to be addressed is the maintenance that needs to take place after the car has been on the road for a while. The more intricate power train systems that accompany a hybrid equate to higher prices, this is because there are not as many mechanics that are trained to fix them. This price consideration should pretty much go away as more of these vehicles hit the road and the demand for properly trained mechanics goes up.

5- These cars require the use of special high mile tires, they are smaller than the tires you are used to purchasing, but can cost considerably more to replace. This may be acceptable to some drivers since the tires last on average 30,000 miles longer than other types of vehicle tires.

6- Many purchasers of hybrid vehicles do so for one reason, they can live with the increases in aftermarket parts and the high prices of mechanics because they know what their car can offer them, fuel savings. On average, a hybrid car gets between 50 miles per gallon (MPG) in the city and up to 70 MPG on the highway. When these numbers are compared to an average of 30 MPG city and 27 MPG highway on a fuel-efficient gas car, the savings are clear.

7- While it is important to know the costs that are involved when you decided to buy a hybrid vehicle, it is also important to know what you will be saving. For all of the millions of people all over the world, who choose a hybrid over a traditional the bottom line is clear. The savings that they see at the gas pump far outweighs any money that will need to be paid out to keep their vehicle running in the future.

Are Hybrid Vehicles a Safe and Practical Choice?

Hybrid cars are quickly becoming a popular choice in transportation based in part on their better gas mileage and lower impact on the environment. In fact, their popularity can be seen as I drove around looking at Capitola condos; chances are you’ll see a few driving around. Just as with any other new vehicle, though, there are potential safety concerns. The next few paragraphs will detail some of the safety concerns associated with this relatively new technology, and will hopefully help you decide if the practicality of hybrid cars is worth the investment.

Truth be told, the fact that hybrids run on both gasoline and electricity has no real bearing on their safety. Each individual hybrid car has been tested time and time again by various accident rating institutions such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, and Safe Car. Many of the hybrid cars are smaller in size, more maneuverable, and more able to avoid collisions. They also rank relatively high in safety ratings for vehicles in their weight class. Their safety, overall size, and fuel economy make them a great choice for visiting a few of the homes featured at a Capitola real estate broker.

It should be noted, however, that hybrid vehicles do present some unique potential hazards when they are involved in an accident or when they need to be repaired. However, by understanding them, and taking some commonsense precautions, the risks can be minimized. The first potential hazard to consider is that the high voltage hybrid battery and the vehicle’s power train components create a shock hazard. While there is no confirmed record of a person being electrocuted while servicing a hybrid, certain precautions must be taken.

Hybrid vehicles by their very nature contain high voltage electronics. Because of this potential safety concern, high voltage cables and parts are usually color coded to warn of the potential danger. Unless the battery is disconnected, these cables should be avoided. As for the batteries themselves, all hybrid vehicle batteries have a safety switch or a quick disconnect mechanism. It is these and other safety protocols that have been instigated by hybrid car companies to ensure the safety of their clients, rescue workers, and mechanics. This is not a job for the back yard mechanic who lives in a Capitola condominium.

Of course, those who drive, repair or rescue accident victims are not the only people that should be considered when it comes to hybrid safety. Bystanders and pedestrians are also an important consideration. For many of them, one of the perceived advantages of hybrid cars could cause a potential danger. Hybrids cars are extremely quiet on the road. This lack of sound makes their approach fairly unnoticeable, especially by those with vision impairment. Thankfully, there are some industry insiders are trying to create technology to slightly increase the sound of the hybrid engine, and is being developed by Lotus.

Hybrid cars are not only becoming more practical and affordable, but their safety is comparable to conventional vehicles of the same size class. Depending on your transportation needs, and financial status, a hybrid vehicle might be a great investment for you. Whether you buy a hybrid or a Capitola condo for frugal reasons, but have their places as investment in living a good life and being responsible.

What Is a Hybrid Vehicle and What Are the Benefits?

Over the last few years we have seen electric vehicles taking the headlines across the automotive industry and while there has been a large improvement in the associated technology, many people are also considering hybrid vehicles. While hybrids are often seen as something of a stop gap between traditional fueled vehicles and electric powered vehicles, what exactly is a hybrid vehicle?

Power source

The end power source for a hybrid vehicle is the electric motor which powers the wheels and on-board services. This is a fact which is often misunderstood by many people and indeed it is worth confirming exactly where the hybrid tag comes from.

As electric technology continues to evolve the comparison between journey capacity for traditional fueled vehicles and electric vehicles is moving favorably towards electric vehicles but there is still some way to go. The award-winning Nissan Leaf is able to do in excess of 100 miles per full battery charge but this is still nowhere near the capacity available from a traditional fueled vehicle with a full tank of gasoline/petrol.

Backup power source

As a consequence, many car manufacturers around the world have introduced hybrid systems which are effectively backup power supplies fuelled by gasoline/petrol which are then used to recharge the batteries which then power the electric vehicles. Due to the recharging capacity of the gasoline/petrol motors on many hybrid vehicles this can increase the journey capacity enormously and effectively make the hybrid vehicle as efficient if not better in terms of journey capacity.

There is an argument as to whether hybrid vehicles are in some ways more environmentally friendly although the fact that they do use traditional fuels to recharge the lithium ion batteries used to power the electric motors has caused some confusion.

Developments in hybrid vehicles

As battery capacity with regards to electric cars continues to improve there is the opportunity to replace current hybrid batteries with those offering a longer charge and more capacity. This would then ensure that the traditional fuel backup system is not required as often as it is at the moment and therefore improve the efficiency of the vehicle and also reduce ongoing damage to the environment.

For many people hybrid vehicles are a stepping stone along the track to full electric vehicles, as and when the technology improves and is comparable to traditional fuel powered vehicles, but until they see improvements in technology many people are concerned about charging stations and the reduced journey capacity of a full electric vehicle.

Conclusion

It will be interesting to see how the hybrid vehicle is impacted by the ever-growing advances in electric car technology which many believe will at some stage be comparable or better from a journey capacity point of view than their traditional fuel counterparts. How long this will take remains to be seen although there have been some very impressive advances in both electric power technology as well as battery power technology there is still much to do.

More and more experts believe that battery power technology is the key to the future of the electric car market and as such we have seen significant investment in this arena over the last few years. Much of this investment is now beginning to pay dividends and perhaps if the worldwide recession had not occurred we would be in a far stronger position with regards to electric vehicle sales?

Does Your Hybrid Vehicle Qualify for Full Tax Credits?

Not all 2007 tax credits for hybrid vehicles are the same, even if the taxpayer bought the same car. How is that possible?

The 2005 Energy Act providing tax credits for new hybrid vehicle owners include qualifications that the owners must meet. Some of the qualifications such as the following are clear cut.

1. The vehicle must be bought on or before 12/31/10 and driven or used after 12/31/05.

2. The tax credit may be claimed only by the original owner of the new hybrid. A preowned or used hybrid vehicle does not qualify for the credit.

3. In order to take advantage of their credit, some first time owners of hybrid vehicles might have to recapture their tax credit if they resell their hybrid car or truck.

4, The vehicle must be driven mainly in the United States.

5. If a hybrid vehicle is leased, the leasing company has the right to claim the tax credit, as the credit is only available to the original purchaser of the hybrid vehicle.

So far the hybrid owner only needs to take basic precautions. But the Energy Act goes farther and places other qualifications to consider such as the date of purchase and number of hybrids sold per car manufacturer.

The number of hybrids is limited by 60,000 hybrids per car manufacturers that may be claimed for taxes. Two hybrids that have met the 60,000 mark in June 2006 are Toyota and Lexus hybrids. Buyers who purchased their Toyota hybrid or Lexus hybrid before October 1 will have 100 percent of their tax credit. While buyers who purchased their hybrids on or after October 1 will have a tax credit that is reduced by 50 percent.

That means that some buyers of a new Prius or Lexus hybrid vehicle will qualify for the full $3,150 tax credit. While other buyers of the same vehicle will receive only a $1,575 tax credit. Therefore, the amount that the taxpayer may claim is not only based on the amount the vehicles qualifies for but also is based on the date the hybrid was purchased.

It should be noted that the tax credit will not last forever, but will be phased out by 2010. This is hurried along by reducing the amount of tax claims until it is gone.

For example, after 60,000 vehicles are sold, the taxpayer may claim the full amount of credit for that first quarter. For the second and third quarter after 60,000 vehicles are sold, the taxpayer may claim half or 50 percent of the tax credit. During the fourth and fifth quarter, the taxpayer may claim 25 percent of tax claim. After the fifth quarter the 60,000 vehicles are sold, no tax credit may be claimed.

A further limitation in claiming a tax credit is based on the type of vehicle purchased. This involves the amount of reduced emissions and fuels saved by the said vehicle. Only the type of vehicle is considered. Price is not a factor. You would guess that the more expensive hybrids would bring a higher tax credit. But, this is not always the case. For example, a $40,000 Lexus RX 400h hybrid commands a maximum of only a $2,200 tax credit.

Another consideration in limiting tax credits is the Alternative Minimum Tax (ATM), which may disqualify some other taxpayers.

Other hybrid manufacturers such Honda, Ford, GM have not meet the 60,000 limit and still qualify for the full amount. You do not have the same considerations, at the present time, that others such as Toyota hybrid owners must contend with.

Hybrid Vehicle Top Safety Pick

An auto insurance trade group, The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, has named a hybrid vehicle as a top safety pick. The Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid vehicle with a small gasoline engine, achieved the honor along with the all-electric Nissan Leaf. The Insurance Institute offered the judgment after the group’s first US crash tests of plug-in and pure electric cars. Anyone wondering if hybrid vehicles are going to be safe can rest easy.

The Volt earned its top rating of “good” for front, side, rear and rollover crash protection. The Institute also noted that both the Volt and the Leaf have standard electric stability control which the group considers a crucial safety feature. Makers of hybrid vehicles are clearly using the same standards of safety in the production of these new types of cars as in the more common internal combustion engine vehicles.

Critics have long argued that hybrid vehicles could not be made economically and that safety would be compromised in the rush to “go green,” but the recent crash tests show that this is not the case. These hybrid vehicles are as safe or safer than any car produced today.

Both the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt are small cars which initially would seem to indicate a lack of safety. Both, though, have battery packs adding significant weight to the vehicles making them safer than other cars in their class. This, too, was demonstrated by the Institute’s crash tests.

Additionally, the tests proved that using technology to boost fuel economy, such as the electric batteries in both these vehicles, is preferable to simply downsizing and lightening the weight of cars to save fuel. Hybrid vehicles are actually safer than standard cars of the same size while remarkably fuel-efficient at the same time.

These hybrid vehicles are perfect for highway driving. Should a crash occur, these cars will protect the drivers better than the vast majority of standard cars.

In fact, these electric cars are far safer than the low-speed vehicles, such as the GEM e2 or the Wheego Whip, which were judged dangerous after crash tests last year. These are golf-cart-like vehicles which are becoming increasingly popular, but are not required to meet the national safety standards of passenger vehicles.

The image of the electric and hybrid car was damaged in the mind of the consumer by these small carts which were never meant for highway driving. Nevertheless, industry observers think that the new tests will propel the Leaf and the Volt forward in the minds of eco-minded consumers who have been waiting for a chance to purchase a reasonably green, fuel-efficient and safe car for at least five years. The time has finally arrived. Both the Leaf and the Volt are extremely safe, fuel-efficient and will not harm the environment. Auto makers have finally turned the corner on producing desirable hybrid vehicles.