Technology has been advancing rapidly since the days of DOS. Never heard of it? It stands for Disk Operating System, an early operating system developed by Microsoft which does not come with any color graphics and in order to run the software programs you must type in the commands. Now with its transition to Windows we have color graphics and running a program is just a mouse click away. How does this translate in terms of the advancement in car technology? Let's find out.

How they are powered

Hybrid vehicles which is a combination of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) system with an electric propulsion system was mass produced in Japan as far back as 1997. If you are not aware there are actually different types of hybrid cars and my take is that this is still in the experimental stage to probably determine which one will come out ahead. Remember the VHS vs Beta war? All hybrids will still use petrol to fuel the car and regenerative braking to recharge the batteries.

Electric powered cars began its experiment some say back in mid 19th century but it was during the 21st century when it actually took off. In the US, Tesla was the first company to produced a pure electric vehicle with a roadster in 2008. BEV or battery electric vehicles uses electricity stored in large battery pack. They are powered by charging the battery using grid electricity either from a wall socket or dedicated charging station.

Which is better?

Since both hybrid and BEV technology have not yet fully matured, both still have ways to go. There are benefits and limitations on both so let's dig in.

When it comes to wait time to power the vehicle, Hybrid for now has the edge as the wait time is simply filling your tank with gas and charging the battery is built-in on the vehicle. If you have plug-in hybrid you have the option to plug it in as it has the extra large battery packs that gives you the ability to drive your car at freeway speed using solely electricity. And if the battery is depleted you have your gasoline engine to take over the power and not have to worry about finding a public charging station. On a BEV it does not have the ICE so not only do you have storage at the trunk but also an extra space at the front where the engine used to reside. There will be no emission so no more trip to the smog test center. Woo hoo. As for maintenance there will be no need for an oil change. But what exactly is needed? I am not exactly sure what the requirements are at the moment -except maybe tire rotation?- but if we were to use Tesla as an example it requires you to bring your car in every year and for a fee they will inspect your car. If everything is ok you simply drive off and enjoy your car again. If any of you have any experience with BEV and would like to give some input about maintenance, please feel free.

Owning these type of vehicles does come with a price - for now.

These vehicles are typically more expensive than ICE. Electric motors for hybrid usually kicks in only at low speed. If you have the plug-in hybrid you may be able to use the electric motor at higher speed due to the larger battery pack but at a limited distance and it reduces the passenger room and possibly the trunk space as well. For BEV and hybrid, the main concern would be the cost of the battery and electric components. Due to the lack of aftermarket competition, you may be limited to the dealership/manufacturer for repair and replacement which will be costly. At present these types of vehicles have lower resale value than ICE but that could eventually change... or not.

Charging stations are limited in the cities and larger towns.

Sure some can be charge at home but using your regular wall outlet will not fully charge your car overnight. Another factor to consider is the charging connector on your car as they are not standardized so it may not be compatible with all public charging stations. There is also the question of the capacity of the country's current power grid to handle large volume of electric cars being charge at the same time.

How then will the demand for BEV cars surpass ICE or even hybrid in the future? That is a difficult one to answer so I laid out a few scenarios which I think should occur before that will happen.

1. Shorter charging time. About only as long as filling up your gas tank or

2. When a portable interchangeable battery is a reality and people can just drop by in any battery stations to purchase a new or used battery and trade in your old battery or

3. The scariest part which is when the government mandates (forces you) to buy electric vehicles in the near future.

So if your only option is to buy either a hybrid or BEV today which would you get?

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