I've found myself in the market for a new car and I am currently intent on getting a hybrid, but still busy weighing the factors.
1.) It should last much longer
-The electric drivetrain is much more rugged than the silly gas pistons in conventional cars. Since most strain on the car tends to be at start, the electric drivetrain should help protect the engine from damage.
-The load is shared between two separate propulsion systems. Even if the electric drivetrain was just as prone to failure, each system is strained roughly half as much.
-I've heard of people (who care for their cars well) getting these to 400k miles.
2.) I'll save money on gas. My consumption in my 20mpg nissan altima is nearly $1k a year, so I will get $1k back every two years.
3.) Lower emissions- good for the environment, but also...
-Saves me from emissions testing
-Gives me a reduced incidence of emissions based engine failure. Many conventional engine problems are just the cars computer complaining about exhaust recirculation issues or catalytic failure. With lower emissions, these emission reduction systems are loaded less and correspondingly less likely to fail, saving me from down time and repair costs
My only hesitation is due to:
1.) low battery lifetime. I hear about some batteries dying at 30k, though I have heard of others lasting just as long as advertised.
Thoughts: Most people don't know any better than to bring battery issues it to their local "stealership" where they eagerly charge 1k to swap it out. Many probably suffer just from imbalanced cells that could be topped off separately at home.
2.) They intimidate mechanics. They're viewed as mysterious, complex machines and some mechanics charge accordingly.
Does anyone have advice to offer or experiences to share? I've asked friends and posted in car forums, but I have much more faith in the HaD community.
Has anyone found mechanics savvy enough to work on hybrids at a fair rate?
Has anyone had experiences repairing their hybrids on their own? Battery balancing at home, etc
What other (real) problems should I consider with an electric drivetrain?
What happens when a hybrids battery dies? Does the conventional engine just lug around dead weight, or is the car inoperable until a swap?
Are there any particularly good hybrid DIY resources/ blogs I should check out?
I'm a student, so I'm looking for something under $5k. In my budget I've come across 04 civics hybrids with around 150k miles, some with recently swapped batteries. If I am right about hybrids living longer, I think I can get more out of one of these than a conventional car with 70k on the odometer.