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Hybrid cars are a scam

Hybrid cars

The car industry is a very very interesting place. I don’t think many industries get as much regulation as this and sometimes this regulation brings some really cool innovations to the mix. Sometimes it brings absolute gimmicks that do nothing for the consumer’s driving experience. Sometimes they make the experience even worse. Like soft limiters.

But that is a story for another day. Today I want to rant about Hybrids. Yes that includes all those Honda Fit hybrids in Zim streets.

How it all started

Let’s look at where it all began in 1885 when Carl Benz decided to make the 1st ever automobile. It was a 3 wheeler powered by a petrol engine and as you might expect, it didn’t go that fast. This format of the engine over the centuries kept getting improved and modified to smooth and powerful perfection and just when things were getting pretty wild in the car industry, there was the oil crisis on 1973 that sort of tamed the engine size side of innovation and also gave us some fun and powerful engines in the small cars some of which influenced the likes of the Golf GTI. You know. Fun cars.

It was not until Global warming was considered to be a thing that the gimmicks then started. Cars were now by law asked to be fitted with devices to reduce the pollutants that came out of the exhaust by including catalytic converters to deal with nitrogen oxides and particulate filters to deal with stuff like smoke produced by these engines. This in turn made cars not sound as great as before and some manufacturers even went as far as throwing soft limiters on their cars so that you could not rev a car to the redline if it was not moving. What if I want to show off my big fat V8?

These mods did not move the needle and so manufacturers then started adding electrical systems to the conventional ICE. So at low speeds the electric part of the engine drove the car and at higher speeds the ICE took over. This did reduce emissions but some then marketed it as a feature for saving fuel.

Scam Alert

Nope. These sorts of hybrids did no such thing. All they did was make a hybrid car slower than the non hybrid version and also whatever fuel savings you got from running the car in electric only mode would be demolished by the added weight of the electrical system plus the fact that the batteries are going to be charged by the same engine meaning as they are charging the load on the engine is greater than on the same car without the hybrid pack.

And it doesn’t end there. Precious cabin and luggage space is taken up by these batteries meaning such cars end up using some utility that you probably are looking for in the 1st place. Oh and don’t even get me started on servicing and maintenance.

A hybrid car has more bits on it than a non-hybrid car. This means it’s more complex because it’s essentially 2 different types of power units on one car. It is more expensive to service a Hybrid than it is to service a pure electric car or a pure ICE car.

And if the battery dies, which it will after 6 to 10 years or 160 000KM, it’s basically an extra bag of cement that you will be lugging around because it weighs 42.5kg. So basically all the gains that this type of a hybrid offer in terms of more torque, slightly better fuel consumption and range are immediately nullified by the increase in running costs and also 60l less boot space to work with.

Why Hybrids still exist

One big reason. Carbon Tax. Taxes are really a pain for everyone except the tax man but this tax exists primarily because of the worry about emissions that we talked about earlier. This carbon tax is factored into every car when it’s bought but also there is a fleet carbon emissions quota that car manufacturers have to abide by on all new cars they make.

Some hefty fines are ready to slap any vehicle manufacturer who goes above this limit and so to manage that, manufacturers have resorted to making smaller engines with electrical assistance mainly to manage these fleet emission levels.

So whilst we adapt to the future of cars running on batteries, looks like we are going to keep getting more and more hybrids. But not all hybrids are actually bad.

The silver lining

2016 saw a trio of cars that made some of the biggest headlines in the car world ever! It was a Porsche 918 spyder, A Ferrari LaFerrari and my personal favorite, the McLaren P1. These were some of the most hardcore and most technonogically advanced supercars from their respective manufactures. Check this out.

The Porsche 918 Spyder had roof mounted exhausts and the fastest 0-100kph time of any production car EVER. 2.2 seconds according to a test done by Car and Driver. Even the fastest Bugatti can’t do that. And the McLaren P1’s brakes are coated with a material called Silicon Carbide which at the time was only ever used on space ships. Actual space ships. Guys!

But the highlight of this trio of bedroom poster worthy whips was that they all have hybrid engines. One perk of these hybrid systems was that it filled in for the normal petrol engine whenever it was not performing at its best. So when the turbos are still spooling up to create boost or when the car is changing gears, the electric part would jump in and fill in the gaps so you were always slammed into your seat as long as your right foot was pressing on the right pedal.

And when you really did want all the power, you could put these cars in their hardcore track modes and this would allow you to push a button to get the electric motor to run whilst the engine is running for more speed for a short period of time. Like NOS for those of you that have played with too much need for speed. It’s wild!

And that’s pretty much, for me, the best part about hybrids. Helping out the engine when it’s not at it’s best to always give you the best possible performance. Or to give you enough electric power to nurse the car to the nearest petrol station for those that allow you to do that.

Scam is not always the same as bad

Let me explain. I approach the scam part of Hybrids from a consumer’s point of view. As a consumer, hybrids are bringing the most complex form of a power plant in the car industry. More points of failure. More parts to service and fix and consequently greater running and servicing costs. Not forgetting that golden boot space lost to the battery pack. As a consumer the performance and fuel consumption savings look like they will be eroded by the inherent added costs of hybrid systems giving me zero net gains for choosing hybrid over non-hybrid.

But collectively there are some wins for the industry and the environment. The industry gets to improve battery tech and electric systems for the inevitable electric future of mobility and in the process saves these vehicle manufacturers from very costly fleet emission fines. And the reduction in emissions means slightly better air quality for all and happier polar bears.

If you own a hybrid I want to know your experience in the comments. If you feel the need to make your comment a thesis be my guest. I’ll read the whole thing.


Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

65 thoughts on “Hybrid cars are a scam

  1. Mr writer sir?/madam , this post is not a fact its your own opinion, hybrid is the best thing to happen to cars, my hybrid toyota aqua is faster than the normal one…i use 10l from masvingo to harare, my maintenance is slightly cheaper coz my engine is not strained, on the electric side its all good,

    If you dont understand the technology please keep your opinion to your self don’t involve/insight people to join your stone age mindset

    My brother Tanaka Kutama might school you mr writer

    1. Thank you for that. It’s exactly the conversation i am looking for for the benefit of everyone. The concept you bring about Hybrids straining the ICE part of the powertrain is a solid arguement. And so is mine on the batteries taking up boot or cabin space. It’s some good conversation

        1. I have a Toyota 3rd generation Prius V hybrid wagon. Although there are times when I wish I had even more cargo space available, I like its spaciousness. It has worse performance and worse fuel economy than a Prius liftback, but it still is fast, quieter, and more fuel efficient than the tiny 1976 Honda Civic that I once owned. One of the things I like about it is that it doesn’t need any drive belts. Another is that when it’s stopped for many minutes at a time, its accessories can be used without constant idling, and its engine is automatically started, as needed. I expect that there may be a need for major repairs at some point, but in the first 240,000 km, nothing major has gone wrong.

  2. Hybrid is not a scam, i see you are “””one of those people””” its the beautiful future, and your opinion is invalid because you are saying engineers took more than 50years to perfect , do you know trains are hybrids? Ofcourse you don’t that’s why yu think its a a stupid concept do more research young man
    Engineers take years perfecting a car and its technology reviewed by a board of scientists , so for a non petrolhead to comment such issue nothing good comes out of it

    Understand the technology first
    Own one

    Then comment

    1. Trains are not Hybrids. Trains employ a different technology called Diesel-Electric which does not involve batteries. Hense why they do not come with a hybrid sticker on them. The diesel engine is connected to an electric motor which generated electricity to power the drive motors of the locomotive.

      Also the last paragraph “Scam does not always mean bad” totally agrees with you in that the more hybrids exist, the more the technology gets better and prepares us for the inevitable electric future of mobility. You can check it out.

      1. So you want a sticker on all trains! Do you know the meaning of Hybrid? It means simple means a hevicle that uses more than one means of energy, combining a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor, and the two systems work with each other to move the vehicle. No batteries involved there!

    2. You haven’t got a clue about either technology or economics but you bought one…basically a 5-STAR Sucker who is subsidising the manufacturers’ carbon tax.

    1. More points of failure?

      My hybrid has no starter, no fan belt, no torque converter, the water pumps electric, no hydraulics for steering.

      Even with the electronics bolted on it has less moving parts, which means less wear and the fuel savings are far from fiction.

      I couldn’t give damn about climate change, I have lower fuel consumption with the heavy hybrid system then I did running my desiel golf.

      1. Your so-called lower fuel consumption will never repay the extra $$$ you foolishly forked out to own a hybrid 🤣🤣

  3. You could have done a bit more research and given us the actual facts from users of these vehicles like fuel consumption , user experiences, actual maintenance costs e.t.c, I think that would have been helpful.

    1. True. You can check the last sentence of the article. I knew some readers would have a word or 2 lol

      1. The fact that someone has access to media that publishes does not mean they have something meaningful to say. Ndatuka here?

  4. I got to say my brother getting almost 23km per litre over the last 2 months Vs his fit that was giving 14…I have to say with these fuel prices send like a win to me…50% gain… So the service costs have been similar… Doing some further research the mpg on hybrid are far more than conventional cars….I doubt they could publish that without facts

    1. So you want a sticker on all trains! Do you know the meaning of Hybrid? It simply means a hevicle that uses more than one means of energy, combining a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor, and the two systems work with each other to move the vehicle. No batteries involved there! Posted the other one in haste!

    1. The 23km per liter is the Toyota aqua which is actually a smaller Prius…which is a ground up hybrid compared to say a fit hybrid that is more modified of current non hybrid…

  5. I do not think this article was well researched. I think as a journalist, writing your personal opinion as a fact is misleading.

  6. I do not think this article was well researched. I think as a journalist, writing your personal opinion as a fact is misleading.

  7. As someone experienced on different engine technologies I would like to day the article is not a total fake. His points are very valid from a general point of view hybrids usually don’t make sense that’s why you see manufacturers are now switching to fill electric. The performance of hybrids dosent justify the cost most of the time . And also the extra dead weight of the car makes it consume more fuel generally than a similar car that’s not a hybrid

  8. I prefer electric cars than hybrid, i don’t see future in hybrid cars its just pollution its the same as my parked honda fit we need Maxwell inventions with his green invention i know by defending hybrid cars maybe you own a petrol filling station & Maxwell inventions will ruin your plans😂😂😂 he was right this is just a scam indeed.

    1. The article is a scam. I owned a Toyota Prius for 11 years and have had a Toyota Camry Hybrid Sport edition for 4 years. Fuel consumption Is 50% or less of a similar sized petrol motor. Absolutely minimal maintenance costs. Great acceleration as the electric motor provides instant maximum torque. Even after 11 years the main battery pack was still fine, although the 12 volt battery died around the 7 year mark. Hybrid cars are great for Australia where there are often long distances between refuelling points. The Toyota Camry Hybrid potentially gets 1,000 km on a 50 litre tank (although the best I got was around 920km).

  9. Munyori next time musawanze munamato.
    Matenderera zvakanyanya but still hamuna kutipa point.
    Shuwa mungataure nyaya ye space ye ku boot

  10. The article seems a bit shallow.
    It is not every hybrid vehicle that has it’s luggage space reduced by the hybrid battery pack. Most has a similar space compared with the non hybrid cars.
    Issues like maintenance and service cost, efficiency and fuel serving issues, power and reliability are those which we need to hear from you.
    You may need to provide emperical evidence to substantiate your opinion

  11. As someone who owns a Honda Fit hybrid I find your article very ignorant. I don’t know if it was just click bait, but you need to do some research before you post such misinformed articles.

  12. Yah, the article is more self opinionated. I love info from Techzim but wakuti loosiser(ruziza) hope ne ma artcles enyu. I dont how their existence or formulation cheat someone out of something?? Iyi article should be redacted or rephrased, imo

  13. You didn’t distinguish between hybrids and PLUG IN HYBRIDS, plug – in are much better because you can recharge the battery at home , and for short distance commuting they can work like EV’s .

  14. I think the hybrid benefit of cars in Zimbabwe depletes over time considering that we don’t have many specialist auto mechanics especially for these ex Japanese cars.

    1 in a million of these cars will be properly serviced..aside when the batteries need replacement l dont think it will be easy replacing them.

  15. I usually agree with you guys on Technology advices but in this case, you don’t have all the knowledge. Study hybrid cars more and you will learn how they make a huge difference

  16. As much as I hate the death of the combustion engine I think this post was written by someone with a Backward mentality.

  17. Your full of picky, hybrids is the great way to go for now, as we build the electrical system to handle full electric. In countries like Europe electric should keep going as distances to next place are close, but in north America, example for me to go to costco is 200 kms then return my car is fine but electrics run out before I get home.

  18. The magic of Hybrids are regenerative braking. Ability of recovering some of the braking energy provide the great efficiency which would have usually been all lost and converted to

  19. You are right to some extent, Plugin Hybrid (PHEV) are better than the regular Hybrids we currently have in our market e.g honda fit and corolla cross, plugins can run on fully electric mode for 100s or more Km, which is what most people really need for their commutes. Although they are heavier I think they make more sense than a hybrid that still depends on petrol like any regular car.

  20. What an absolute load of rubbish. I have a hybrid and it is the best car I have ever driven and the fuel economy is excellent. Crap article

  21. I’m thinking of purchasing a PHEV Haval.
    It can do 201 kilometres on battery and a back up petrol engine to help it get up hills and of course, when the car runs out of battery power.
    The guy failed to mention plug in hybrids which means, he is not up to date with technology

  22. I fully agree with this article in terms of more components breaking and failing. There’s no denying hybrids are heavier and will wear out tires and suspension components. When the battery dies, what is the cost of replacement? The fuel savings will just go to replacing the battery.
    However, I think hybrid cars are a great concept and basically a compromise. If you do mostly highway and long drives beyond the full electric range, then there’s little advantage in fuel savings as you will be powered by the ICE coupled with the added weight of the hybrid system. If you do a lot of city driving within the range of full electric, then you will save fuel and the environment. There’s also no range anxiety when you go for long trips. In short, it’s the best of both worlds, thus why it’s called a hybrid. Still, my preference is to go for a hybrid car before full EV until they further improve the battery technology and lower the cost of acquisition.
    My take on this article.

  23. Not trying to be rude but your article was non objective and was inaccurate at every point. I drive a 2020 Hyundai Ioniq. It replaced my 2002 Ford Ranger. I purchased this vehicle for 18300.00 brand new and received a 10 year/ 100000 mile warranty. The battery has a lifetime warranty to the original owner which is me from Hyundai. Hybrid vehicles are actually simpler than straight internal combustion power vehicles and have less to go wrong. As a matter of fact there is a very real chance you will never have to have brakes replaced on a ev or a hybrid because mot of the braking effort is done by regenerative braking as opposed to using the actual vehicles mechanical braking system. My car is roughly the size of a Camry and is slightly less weight. I recently took a road trip to Nashville, Tennessee from Hattiesburg, Mississippi with my wife, son, and daughter in law and luggage for four for a four night trip. We averaged 57 mpg cruising at 80mph. When I’m not carrying passengers and luggage my mileage increases to around 60 mpg. When I had my Ranger I was commuting around 610 miles a week with a gallon of fuel averaging 2.80 a gallon. This had me spending 450.00-500.00 monthly for my vehicle alone. I also have a Jaguar XJ6 which gets slightly better mileage than the ranger, but it actually cost more to drive as it requires premium fuel. Now back to the Hybrid. My Ioniq dropped my operating costs by 75%. When fuel was 2.80 a gallon my fuel bill dropped from 450.00-500.00 monthly to around 80.00 a month. My Ioniq is quicker, more comfortable, infinitely safer , and is quite large inside. Plus it’s a hatchback so it’s ver versatile. It’s hands down the best automotive investment I have ever made. I don’t mean any disrespect but this article was inaccurate in every point and biased. You should really try one of the new Ioniq vehicles. I think you would really like it.

  24. Thanks to the people who know how to maintain decorum when addressing an article they have read. An opinion is like an asshole – everyone has one and we all want our opinion to be heard but there’s no need to slander those you disagree with.
    All Hybrids, in any form, have good and bad aspects that provide us with differing experiences to form opinions from.
    What we are not addressing here is the sourcing of raw materials and the global environmental impact that it’s having in trying to provide enough rare earth minerals to keep up with supply and demand.
    We have moved on from Nickel cadmium to Lithium Ion and are currently sourcing Cobalt and venturing into Solid State batteries but some countries are experiencing similar consequences of the ‘blood diamonds’ fiasco and it will worsen yet with the Chinese offering cheaper alternatives by using inferior materials in the vehicle and battery manufacturing.
    Some companies are developing the 80-46 to address the loss of boot space and to create the main platform for the cars monocoque frame. We are moving in the right direction – but at what cost?
    A few of you have commented that the money saved in fuel consumption is lost on maintenance and replacement.
    We also need to address the end-of-life battery issues due to high contaminant levels.
    So much to debate boys and girls, but let’s remember that key word ‘debate’ and don’t feel that your opinion must be definitive when you respond to articles.
    I can’t afford that luxury so, why can you?

  25. Anybody that starts an article claiming a catalytic converter is a particulate filter doesn’t have the technical expertise to write about transportation technology. Dollar for dollar the added expense and complexity of a hybrid may not make sense for many consumers. But sometimes you just want to make your payment to someone other than the gas industry. I’ve owned many, and the old nonsense about slow acceleration, poor overall economy, and commonly failing batteries are just part of a paranoid perspective that doesn’t come from direct experience.

  26. I’ve had hybrids since 2009, it’s been nothing but positive. Owned an Altima hybrid for 12 years with 0 issues with the electric motor and the battery was performing fine. All drive train expenses were for the ICE, oil changes and exhaust system repairs. The battery did reduce trunk space, but I rarely needed extra space. I got 30-35 MPG for the life of the car. Now I have an Accord hybrid, with good performance, no loss of trunk space and 40-45 MPG. It actually operates more like an EV, with the ICE a generator for the battery. At higher speeds the ICE can engage a single gear to assist the electric motor if needed. I expect similar reliability with the Accord. The technology is extremely reliable, battery life has been an non-issue and the fuel efficiency is significantly higher than the ICE versions. In spite of the extra complexity and extra weight my experience is it has cost $0 in maintenance and provided much better MPG.

    I’ve always been amused by people that think it’s reasonable to pay more to add extra power by adding 2 cylinders to the base engine (4-6, 6-8 cylinders), at the expense of reduced MPG. But foolish, or a scam, to add extra power to the base engine by adding a hybrid system, with the benefit of increased MPG.

  27. What an ignorant and full of lies “report.” More like an obviously attack on a proven technology that does exactly as intended. A 2008 Ford Mercury hybrid, USA, served well until traded in 2021 for a plug-in hybrid and at 100,000 miles yielded 34 mpg on a 300 mile trip! No battery issues. Whoever wrote this report needs to be fired.

  28. You don’t know anything about hybrids. Look at the recent Toyota Camry, Sienna, and Honda insight/accord hybrids. All of these cars are as fast as their gasoline only counterparts and achieve far better mpg ratings. Also, if you look at reliability averages, the most reliable car is the Toyota Prius. So please, shut up. Don’t share your uninformed opinion.

  29. I have a 2008 Prius and love it. I get 50 – 55mpg in town on regular fuel. Went between Tucson and LA and back and got 52mpg. No range anxiety! Battery pack died a little over a year ago and I got a brand new one from Toyota for $1700. I live in a condo so I can’t have a charger so I’d love an EV but the hybrid is a good compromise for now. Maintenance has been very inexpensive. Battery was most expensive, but friends paid more for transmission work. Brakes last forever due to regen – I still have the original brakes on mine and there’s over half left, on a 16 year old car driven mostly in town!

  30. Can you prove hybrid is a scam by providing numbers?
    Basically you can claim anything but, without substantiating it’s worthless.

  31. Doubt highly this SHWOOG is more knowledgeable than than thousands of automotive engineers. Do us all a favor if you are in Africa, please stay there.

  32. Doubt highly this ignorant SHWOOG is more knowledgeable than than thousands of automotive engineers. Do us all a favor if you are in Africa, please stay there.

  33. I feel like you’ve never heard of the Chevy Volt, Prius Prime, RAV4 Prime, the Chrysler Pacifica, or the Jeep Xte lines. These all go full speeds completely on electric, until the battery is low enough to require the motor for recharging.

    Perhaps you should rephrase by saying non-PHEV hybrids are sorta scammy, as your analysis completely misses PHEVs.

  34. My Wife’s 2007 Prius is still going strong. No battery change so far and it has almost 170,000 miles. We’re getting 48 mpg average.

  35. I guess the millions of taxi driver’s around the world who’s actual livelihood depends on low running costs have no clue what they’re doing. You sir are completely clueless.

  36. When i saw the Hybrid are scam i wonder what the writer is talking about. Even though the name of the oublication is Tech Zim, he not write any meaningful sense concerning the Tech issue at hand. There are no major problems recording so far concerning hybrid, to such an extend that they reached 300000 km. Also if can manage to check the test contacted by South Africa’s Car magazine of four brands namely Mercedes Benz petrol, BMW diesel, Porsche electric and a Lexus Hybrid, the test was earlier this year later last year, the testers concluded that the Hybrid Lexus was the best. So just imagine a reknowned publication calling a hybrid the best yet according to you are calling it scam? The Toyota Prius is the best selling car in America since its arrival on the market, how come a scam is the best selling? I hope next time you will do your research before posting anything.

  37. Hybrid cars are not a scam, Do your research again and give us a more balanced techexplaining article about hybrid cars and please don’t forget to give it a better title, you guys can do better than this

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