Globally, the automotive sector was already seeing a reduction in sales within 2019, and the COVID-19 made it more challenging for the automotive sector to grow. It is estimated that world car sales will fall around 23 percent in 2020. This delay in supply and manufacturing due to COVID-19 has hampered the business significantly and this multi-fold decrease in sales has led to the uncertainty in this testing time. Then, there were talks, in the past years, about the introduction of electric vehicles including the ongoing sales of hybrid vehicles which were expected to be a major factor in the growth of the auto industry. The current scenario is also very uncertain as the market size of hybrid cars has been decreasing at an alarming rate and unfortunately, the hybrids aren’t flying off the shelves.
Assuming that the sales will pick up in the coming times, the question is whether a customer should buy normal petrol or diesel vehicle, or should he go for a hybrid model? Further the question arises, whether we need more and more hybrid cars in place of the conventional petrol or diesel engines now instead of a complete switch over to the electric vehicles? With crude oil sales already at the lower end, how significant is making fuel-efficient vehicles now? Should we keep innovating and bring newer technologies in the automobile industry or is it the end of an era of gasoline and diesel vehicles?
So what are Hybrids?
The term refers to a hybrid system which uses both electric and gasoline as the fuel source. This means that the car is powered by either an electric motor or a gas engine depending upon the driving conditions. Further, hybrids have proven themselves to be highly efficient both in terms of fuel consumption and pollution control and that is the main reason why hybrid cars are preferred over petrol or diesel vehicles. But the buying cost as well as maintenance costs being high people generally ignore preferring them. To explain further, the hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is the kind of hybrid vehicle that combines the traditional internal combustion engine (ICE ) method with the electrical propulsion system (hybrid vehicle drivetrain ). The existence of the electrical powertrain is meant to reach either greater fuel efficiency than the traditional vehicle or greater process. Though hybrid cars are more environmentally friendly compared to petrol vehicles as they use less fuel and emit less greenhouse gases, but they are a bit expensive than the regular engines as the additional motor and associate parts increase the vehicle price. While the world seems to be talking about complete electric vehicles (battery operated) taking over the petrol or diesel vehicles, to me it appears, it is going to take some time before that conventional engines are completely replaced by the battery operated electric vehicles. The main factor is the high manufacturing cost of the batteries and difficulties in getting the raw material for making cheaper batteries and finally difficulties in recycling the batteries.
But why people aren’t buying hybrids and sticking to conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles?
Because they aren’t cheaper! Further, one of the main reason behind this increase is due to lack of awareness among consumers of the benefits of hybrid vehicles when they go shopping for a conventional gasoline of diesel vehicle. The higher vehicle price is also a deterrent and makes them confused about the maintenance as well as the long term ownership costs.
As per a survey, I read somewhere, the growth of hybrid cars was expected to continue from the year 2020, which would have lead to a significant increase in the number of hybrid vehicles available. That way, the new generation of hybrid vehicles would have been more affordable than the older models, hence increasing demand for hybrid vehicles. The recent surge in sales of hybrid cars should have continued with increased demand for electric cars. The current trend of hybrid cars is that they are more efficient than traditional car models. The hybrid cars have been designed to meet the needs of both environmentally conscious and non-zero conscious people. To summarize, the hybrid cars are also more energy-efficient than conventional ones due to their low emission and less fuel consumption.
What about the electric vehicles?
Electric vehicles are critical to the future of the car industry, however, the final build of an electric car for the masses, in terms of looks, performance, endurance level, and value for money as well as its approval by the public are still uncertain. The demand for diminishing oil supplies fears over gas and noise pollution and recycling of the used vehicles or abandoned vehicles (not to mention the complications of recycling gasoline-powered vehicles) are all driving forces that appear to be taking all of us toward the future growth of these electric vehicles.
So, to summarize, the automobile industry should focus more on the hybrids in place of conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles and a customer should now opt for hybrid vehicles when he goes to buy a new vehicle, while the electric vehicles evolve.
This will keep all the sectors whether the oil sector or the manufacturing sector in check and will buy them time to take necessary measures to keep themselves floating. So instead of totally switching over to complete electric vehicles, people should start by switching over to hybrid vehicles and replace conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles with them. The more and more hybrids are on the road, their prices should come down in the long run. The oil industry will be happy. The environment will be happy. The battery recycling process will evolve and will keep harming the environment in the check. And finally, the automobile industry will also be happy on getting a breather for some more time to get the returns on investments they have made in that past so many years on gasoline and diesel vehicle manufacturing. And the global economy should keep on going upwards!