Dawn Foster

9 Questions You Had About Hybrid Vehicles, Answered


As people get married and start having families, their vehicle needs change. Anyone who has shopped for a car in the past few years has seen how many options they have to choose from. This leads moms and dads to wonder, "What about a hybrid or plug-in hybrid? Is it right for our family?” While they ultimately have to answer that question for themselves, there are a lot of other questions about hybrid cars that can be answered right here! To help raise awareness for the release of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (America’s first-ever hybrid minivan), Romper partnered with Chrysler to provide helpful answers to some of the most common questions about this type of vehicle.

Hybrid vehicles use two types of power. They typically combine a gas-powered engine with a battery-powered electric motor, which work together to make the car more fuel-efficient. Hybrid vehicles were first introduced to the mass market in the United States in 1999, and since then, more than four million have been sold in the US. As they've grown in popularity, automakers have continued to develop the technology, making it a little challenging for car buyers to stay knowledgeable. For help, we turned to Lauren Fix, aka The Car Coach. Fix is a mother of two and the author of three automotive books, including Lauren Fix's Guide to Loving Your Car. In the infographic below, we’ll give readers the most up-to-date and informative answers about hybrid technology.

1. What do drivers like about hybrid vehicles?

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Considering how traditional vehicles produce about 1.7 billion tons of greenhouse gases every year (and that greenhouse gases are the most significant source of climate change in the 20th century), hybrid vehicles are appealing to consumers because they typically produce fewer emissions than other cars on the market. People who buy them may also qualify for some tax credits.

2. Will plug-in hybrids lessen my dependence on gas?

Dawn Foster

In the broad sense, plug-in hybrids can help reduce our dependance on imported petroleum because they use electric technology to operate, and using less petroleum can help reduce the economic impact of surges in gas prices. But more specifically, it depends on how often you’re able to charge your plug-in hybrid and how many miles you drive per day. There are other factors to consider as well, such as the climate you're in. If you're driving in a cold climate with snow, you're going to see reduced EV range and gas fuel efficiency. But any vehicle will see reduced efficiency under these conditions.

3. What's the gas mileage like?

Dawn Foster

This varies, depending on which hybrid you choose and how you drive it. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid gets up to 84 MPGe(1). With a full charge and a full tank of gas, it has a total driving range of up to 566 miles(2). It can go 33(3) miles without using any gas, so errands can be completed using only the battery.

4. Are there really tax benefits to owning plug-in hybrid vehicle?

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Yes, there can be. For example, when you purchase a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, you qualify for the full federal tax credit(4) of $7,500, as well as state or local credits.

5. What's the cost of maintaining a hybrid?

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According to the U.S. Department of Energy, hybrid vehicles don’t need as much maintenance as traditional vehicles. This is because there are fewer fluids that need to be refilled, fewer moving parts (compared to gasoline-powered vehicles), and regenerative braking means the brakes get less wear and tear.

6. How's the storage space?

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The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has the most cargo capacity of any hybrid(5) because the battery is beneath the floor, the second-row seats are removable, and there’s third-row Stow ‘n Go® seating which folds into the floor.

7. What if the battery runs out while I'm driving?

Dawn Foster

Once the battery is depleted the Pacifica acts like a traditional hybrid. If you're on vacation and there's no place to plug in, you can drive up to 566 miles without charging. After you drive that distance, you can fill up with gas as you normally would, with the added benefit of better fuel economy hybrid.

8. Can my family fit in a hybrid?

Dawn Foster

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has seating for seven, and has the most cargo capacity of any hybrid (which means it's totally easy to store your kids' sports equipment when you're driving them to practice or a game). It also offers many other family-friendly options, including the Uconnect® Theater system(6), which features dual 10.1-inch touchscreens, built-in games and apps, and an available Blu-ray™ player. Fix says, “If you’ve got kids, this is the vehicle.”

9. How safe are hybrids?

Dawn Foster

Many hybrids offer advanced safety features. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid offers more than 100 standard and available safety and security features, including an available 360º Surround View Camera for a bird's-eye view of your location.

Since Lauren Fix has two of her own, she knows what it's like to choose a car for a family. "Moms look for seating comfort, visibility, ease of getting car seats in and out, and of course, a high priority is safety." In the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, you can keep an eye on what's happening in the backseat without turning around. Fix says, "They have a conversation mirror in the center console, so you can see your children. It's just like glancing in the rearview mirror."

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This post is sponsored by Chrysler Pacifica.

©2017 FCA US LLC. All Rights Reserved. Chrysler is a registered trademark of FCA US LLC.

(1) EPA-estimated miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent (MPGe). Actual mileage may vary.

(2) Based on manufacturer’s estimates. Actual mileage may vary.

(3) EPA-estimate with fully charged battery. Actual mileage may vary.

(4) This incentive is offered by a third party and is subject to change without notice. Please confirm this information to ensure its accuracy and availability. Consult a tax professional for details and eligibility requirement.

(5) Based on the latest available competitive information.

(6) Certain features require compatible streaming device and may use your device's existing data plan. See dealer for details.