Are Hybrid Cars Good On Highways? (We Checked)

Over the last two to three years, hybrid car companies have enjoyed a good amount of patronage.

People considering buying a hybrid vehicle often ask how they will perform on the highway. So, here’s what we’ve gathered if you’d like to know.

Meanwhile, explore some affordable plug-in hybrid cars.

Are Hybrid Cars Good on the Highway?

First, hybrid cars are great for acceleration without taking a toll on your fuel economy. However, while they’re great on highways, regenerative braking means you’d get a lot more from them in the city. The electric motor also functions more when you drive your hybrid in the city, thanks to the start-and-stop feature.

What Do You Need To Know Before Driving a Hybrid on the Highway?

First off, your driving experience with hybrids on highways largely depends on the model and general health of the car.

It is ridiculous to place the same odds on a poorly maintained hybrid and a clean one. Notwithstanding, one of the pros of owning a hybrid car is that the efficiency of the engine improves when accelerating.

However, driving isn’t all about acceleration so that may not be convincing enough if you’re on a hunt for your next car.

Although hybrid cars have problems too, an essential plus to driving a hybrid on the highway is its fuel economy. Unlike standard cars, hybrids have a regenerative process that recharges the battery so it can be reused.

However, you’d often have to use the brake to maximize this ‘fuel economy’ in hybrids. This may not be great news because the highway is not for regular stopovers.

plugin hybrid

This means you should not expect higher gas mileage on the highway when driving a hybrid. Even though this doesn’t affect the fuel economy, hybrids aren’t different from standard cars on the roads.

Check also: 6 types of Hybrid cars.

Are Hybrid Cars Safe on the Highway?

Regarding safety, hybrid vehicles perform better than their gasoline counterparts, primarily due to their weight.

Due to the additional components like the battery pack added to the car, they weigh more than standard vehicles.

According to HLDI Vice President Matt Moore, “Hybrids, on average, are 10% heavier than their standard counterparts.”

As a result, during a collision (as expected), the bigger or heavier vehicle tends to displace the lighter one. This exerts more force on the driver and passengers, increasing injury risks.

According to research, hybrid drivers and passengers have a 25% lesser chance of sustaining injuries during collisions compared to the same model of a standard gasoline car.

The same research shows that the death rate from hybrid crashes is also lower. This is undoubtedly something noteworthy for new hybrid drivers and potential hybrid owners.

However, despite this incredible advantage, it’s only limited to the driver and passengers—pedestrians are at more risk around hybrid vehicles.

Whenever a hybrid operates in an electric-only mode, they pose more significant threats to pedestrians.

This is because hybrid cars don’t make sounds pedestrians can hear in the electric-only mode.

The same study showed that hybrids are about 20% more likely to cause injuries to pedestrians in the event of an accident.

However, congressional action has been taken by the NHTSA in response to this. Work is ongoing to install a sound generator in hybrids to alert pedestrians of their presence.

How Fast Can You Comfortably Go in Hybrid Cars?

Due to the dual-driving mode options, hybrids with an automatic gearbox can easily shift gears to provide a comfortable ride.

As for how fast you can comfortably ride in a hybrid, the design and model factors play in.

For instance, early Toyota hybrids are generally slow while driving in full electric mode. However, the latest Toyota hybrids have a top speed of up to 71 mph in full electric mode.

For Toyota hybrids, driving in electric mode may not give you the quickest trip. However, for a BMW plugin hybrid, you can get up to 80 mph (maximum EV speed) in EV-only mode. This is very okay and comfortable for a highway drive.

In hybrid mode, a BM hybrid can also give beyond 124 mph. The automatic transmission system allows the car to switch gears easily in EV-only mode.

However, unlike the Toyota system, the car gets pretty slow whenever the battery drains.

Hybrids will automatically start up in an electric mode and maintain it within a speed of 43 mph and 80 mph.

However, whenever there’s a need for additional power, especially when the battery is getting low, hybrids activate the combustion engine.

Nevertheless, as long as the battery gets sufficient charge, you can go full electric and enjoy a maximum driving experience.

How Noisy Are Hybrid Cars at Highway Speed?

Hybrid and electric vehicles are usually quiet, especially at low speeds. If there’s anything to worry about, it’d be the silence of the car. This is because pedestrians may be caught off-guard when hybrid cars move past them.

Usually, the bulk of the noise and vibrations in standard cars are produced by internal combustion engines, but that is not available in hybrid gas-electric vehicles.

However, drivers may get concerned when the vehicle produces some weird sounds.

  • A clicking noise
  • Tapping
  • Knocking, and
  • Grinding noises in hybrid vehicles could raise an alarm

Lack of engine oil or low tire pressure may cause such noises.

Although systems like the Tire Pressure Monitoring System send a warning for such situations, drivers may not pay attention to them.

At What Speed Do Hybrid Cars Shift to Gas?

Usually, the slower you accelerate with a hybrid car, the lesser you’ll use the petrol engine. This is the best way to maximize the fuel economy of hybrid cars.

Hybrid cars are designed to use the electric engine in situations where the gas engine is least efficient. This is typical in driving scenarios like

  • Slow driving
  • Reverse movement
  • Parking
  • Idling, etc.

However, for most hybrid vehicles, depending on how the car is being handled, the gasoline engine kicks between 15 mph and 30 mph.

This is usually at a slow speed, which makes a great difference in fuel economy.

Therefore, hybrids typically shift to gasoline engine when it gets above 15 mph.

During this period, the electric engine shuts down, allowing the gas engine to power the vehicle and also recharge the battery of the electric motor simultaneously.

The moment the car switches to gas; it functions like any other gas-powered vehicle. Hence, the fuel economy of the vehicle is maximized.

Are They Generally Good for Long-Distance Driving?

Of course, hybrid vehicles can pretty well handle long-distance travel. However, you may want to get more details before hitting the road.

Typically, hybrids get higher fuel economy in city drives than on the highway. This is because you need a frequent application of the brakes to maximize the fuel economy potential of the car.

However, it is unlikely that you’ll get that on the highway, because you’ll seldom run into traffics, unlike city drives.

Hybrid cars are more efficient when they are kept at 50 mph or below, which is typical of city driving.

In addition, regardless of what type of hybrid you drive; long-distance driving requires constant maintenance.

Without proper maintenance, hybrid car owners can expect to wait at the repairer’s shop with heavy bills. So, if you’re always on the road, this is something to take note of.

Is Driving a Hybrid Car Hard?

It’s quite easy to drive a hybrid car; you can very much drive it like any other car. In addition, if you can study the details in the car’s system, you may find it more pleasing than other cars.

You can save money on gas and spend more time on the road than at the pump while paying attention to active maintenance, too.

Some hybrids have special features like heated seats, which you can use instead of the heater to save fuel. You can simply put the car in “eco mode” and keep enjoying your drive.

Also, since SUVs can be harder to drive than smaller cars, it may be harder to drive your hybrid SUV. You should know that hybrid SUVs also have problems too.

How Stable Are Hybrid Cars on a Highway?

Compared to standard gasoline-powered cars, hybrids have lesser power on the highway.

Although the gasoline engine serves as the primary power source, after driving some miles on electricity, the car can switch to the gas engine and back to the electric motor at a lower speed.

However, neither the gas engine nor the electric motor works as powerfully as in gas-only or electric-only vehicles. Still, this shouldn’t be a concern for drivers that frequently drive in the city.

City drivers have enough advantages in hybrid cars because it’s just the perfect environment for the vehicle. This, however, does not make the vehicle useless on highways.

The switching between the gas engine and electric engines is flawless in most cases.

Hence, as long as you obey the rules of the game and maintain top-notch maintenance, you’ll be just as fine on the highways.

How Many Miles Can You Get in a Hybrid Car?

Hybrids can go the extra mile compared to gasoline-powered cars whose driving range depends on a full tank.

Hybrid batteries, on the other hand, power the electric engine and get charged with the kinetic energy stored when the brakes are engaged.

This gives it an edge to cover more distance compared to standard cars whose movements are at the mercy of the available fuel in the tank.

Generally, hybrid vehicles are a perfect fit for city driving. Hybrids thrive well under city traffic conditions; you can drive on electric 80% of the time.

You can also find out if electric and hybrid cars can jump-start other cars.


What Are the Disadvantages of Hybrid Cars | Kia

How Does a Hybrid Car Work | U.S. News

Here’s what science says about electric cars and their impact on noise pollution | FAST COMPANY

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