Buy­ing used

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.

Leisure Wheels (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

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.

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