| General Information

Hybrid Cars vs. Electric Cars

It wasn’t until the late 1990s that we began diving into the world of electricity in vehicles. While the very first hybrid vehicle is said to have existed in the early 1900s, Toyota introduced the world to the first modern hybrid in 1997. Today, there’s a variety of both hybrid and all-electric vehicles available to the general public, but what are the differences between both? Our fleet fuel card company did some research:


Both hybrid cars and electric cars have a pricier sales tag than traditional gas or diesel cars, though electric cars will cost you a bit more. A hybrid car runs anywhere between $25,000 and $35,000 while an electric car runs anywhere between $30,000 and $50,000.


One of the biggest selling points for those interested in an electric car is its range or mpg. Many hybrid cars can get between 40 and 53 mpg in the city, while many electric cars get around 70-100 miles of electric range. (The exception is the Tesla Model S 85 kWh, which can get up to 265.) When choosing a car, you’ll want to consider how far you drive; since electric charging stations are still new, an electric car wouldn’t be the best choice for a road trip.


You would think that with both cars offering the modern component of electricity, that their driver demographics would be the same. However, according to 2013 data analyzed by Experian, they’re not. For example: 45% of hybrid buyers were over the age of 56, while only 26% of electric buyers were that same age.


When it comes to maintenance, electric cars are much easier to maintain. Hybrid cars still have internal combustion engines, which means they still have traditional moving car parts that will need tended to. Since electric cars are equipped with batteries, you won’t have to worry about oil changes or spark plug replacements.


While sales of hybrids have slowly been on the rise since the late 1990s, sales of electric vehicles have been much more rapid. According to Experian, between 2012 and 2013, the popularity of hybrids rose about 19%. The popularity of electric vehicles, however, rose 245% in that same amount of time.

Lifetime Cost

Even though hybrids and electric cars are priced higher than gas cars, many wonder if their gas savings are enough to make them worth the extra money up-front. According to an infographic by fix.com, a “lifetime” of charging for electric vehicles will cost you around $5,200, while a “lifetime” of gasoline for a hybrid car will cost you around $9,800. Both are lower than the cost of a gasoline car, which is around $18,000.

If we took the median price of all three cars (hybrid: $30,000; electric: $40,000) and added the cost of their lifetime fuel/charging, a hybrid car would cost $39,800 and an electric car would cost $45,200. Just based on these numbers (and not including maintenance costs), it looks like a hybrid car would be your best bet.

Tell us – which would you pick: a hybrid car or an electric car?