A familiar smell takes over and triggers a memory, you take a deep whiff for one last time before changing the gear and pressing the pedal.
Petrol is a common form of fossil fuel used to drive a majority of vehicles around the globe today. Have you ever stopped to think where these fuels are derived from? What does it mean to use them? The amount of money you spend on them?
These are precisely the questions running through my mind when I decided to switch from using our 10+-year-old Toyota car to buying a new one. Being in the Sustainability field has taught me to analyze my everyday decisions. Therefore, I started my research and dug deep into the field of purchasing, driving and maintaining petrol and electric vehicles.
Though electric vehicles are now being encouraged in the UAE, most electric vehicles in the market needed to be charged at least once a day. Keeping in mind my driving distance that was true and purchasing a Tesla was clearly outside my set aside budget. A fully electric car was not as practical as my apartment building and office area did not offer a charging station. I was keen on not giving up and finding a sustainable alternative. My research was fruitful when I found the feasibility and convenience of owning a hybrid vehicle. With hybrid, there is no hassle to find a charging station and though it does require petrol to run, the comparison on the amount of fuel consumed is enough to make everyone wonder why they have not made the switch yet.
I got my Toyota Prius in June this year and I was keen on doing a review for myself and you on the driving experience, performance, and economics.
Battery: Regenerative braking system charges the battery. The hybrid battery has an 8-year warranty from the manufacturer. It has to be kept in mind that changing the hybrid battery after its life can cost up to AED 20,000.
Driving: It is quite smooth to drive on the road just like a petrol vehicle. Between the speed of 0 – 65 km/hour the vehicle runs on battery continuously. Starting pick up and acceleration after the vehicle comes to a halt may be slow as the vehicle starts on the battery system. A clear indication is provided on display on whether you are driving on battery, fuel or both.
My favorite aspect: At the end of each trip, the car provides me with a score on my driving performance based on acceleration, driving and even A/C speed. This really makes you think and often compete with yourself not in terms of speed but on improving your fuel efficiency on your next trip.
Full tank – 38 liters (Toyota Prius 2017 model)
Distance – 759 kilometers average with a full tank
Fuel mileage with a hybrid: 20 km/liter
My old Toyota corolla: 12.5 km/liter
While previously, I used to refuel every week, I now need to only visit the gas station every 10 days. I can now drive 7.5 kilometers more on one liter of petrol. Even though petrol can be purchased at a low price in the UAE, I save up to AED 4,440/year compared to my previous car just on petrol with the distance I travel. This margin is bound to be higher in other countries where petrol prices are higher. This is what I noticed predominantly in the United States during my last vacation where hybrid cars were a common sight.
Moreover, what is close to my heart is the carbon emissions saved because of the less number of liters I am consuming to travel in a year, which accounts to 607 kgs of carbon emission equivalent (IPCC) or half a ton of emissions saved from being emitted.
In conclusion, though the initial investment for a hybrid may seem a little on the higher side, I urge you to think about the economics, environmental aspect and of course your enjoyment in driving the vehicle.
Happy and Safe Driving!