Hybrids have been on sale in South Africa for a while now, which means prices have finally dropped to a point where Joe Soap can afford one. With the petrol price going through the roof, one might be tempted to look at electricity as an alternative.
Hybrids on a budget
The main thing to remember when it comes to hybrids is they come in different flavours. You get a traditional hybrid, which is an engine and electric motor working together, with the electric motor only able to work by itself for a few kilometres.
The next step up is the plug-in hybrid, with a longer electric range. A step further than that is a full-on electric car, or an electric car with a range-extending engine.
Whatever model you’re interested in, it’s bound to save you loads of money if you commute into the city on a daily basis. On longer stretches, these vehicles are no more efficient than a small diesel, but in the city, where one can fully exploit the electric motor, they make a lot of sense.
A prime example is the Volvo XC90 T8, which we tested a few years ago. Unfortunately, prices on those cars haven’t dropped to reasonable levels, but it gave us some insight into electric-only motoring.
For one joyous week, we ran that car between Centurion and Randburg on electricity alone. I required a R20 charge in the evenings and another R20 charge on the way home, which brought the average daily commute cost between the two cities to R40. No other car we’ve ever tested can match that.
Best of all, hybrids don’t seem to retain their value, which is a worldwide phenomenon. Buying one cheaply has never been easier.