Efficiency is the name of the game in modern cars, and if you are a true believer, then the best options on the road are hybrids and full-electric vehicles, but how do they compare? Which is better? The key to answering these questions comes down to highlighting the major differences between the two types of vehicles. Read on to see just what separates the best options and see what we picked as the best hybrids and electric vehicles on the market today.
Knowing the Difference
The primary thing that separates hybrids and electric cars is the plug. A full electric vehicle has no petrol or combustion whatsoever, so 100 percent of the power comes from a rechargeable battery. Those batteries can be plugged into regular outlets or special charging stations to recharge. Hybrids, on the other hand, combine advanced batteries with traditional combustion engines. While some types of hybrids can be plugged into an outlet, the ones on this list all use a technique called regenerative braking. When you hit the brakes on the hybrids, it uses the energy to charge a battery that works in tandem with a regular gas engine.
Now that you know the basics, take a look at the best among 2016’s most fuel efficient cars.
The Hybrids Line-up
1) Chevy Volt
The Chevy Volt is a great combination of responsible engineering and love of driving. It doesn’t lose the joy of being behind the wheel.
- Fuel efficiency: 53 mpg motorway / 45 mpg city
- Horsepower: 194
- Top speed: 102 mph
- Price: $30,000-$40,000
2) Audi A3 e-tron
Like the Volt, the A3 doesn’t sacrifice driving and responsiveness to achieve efficiency. The stats put the A3 above the Volt, but the price tag kept it from being the number one choice.
- Fuel efficiency: 86 mpg motorway / 86 mpg city
- Horsepower: 204
- Top Speed: 127 mph
- Price: $40,000+
3) Ford C-Max
The C-Max has a little less focus on handling than the two above, but it still provides impressive responsiveness for a hybrid, especially considering its extremely affordable price.
- Fuel efficiency: 44 mpg motorway / 41 mpg city
- Horsepower: 141
- Top Speed: 104 mph
- Price: $25,000+
The All Electric Line-up
1) Tesla Model S
The Model S is easily the priciest car on this list, but it is also the flagship for all electric cars. It screams innovation, from unbelievably responsive driving to a functioning autopilot. The Model S comes in several varieties, but all of them charge quickly.
2) Nissan LEAF
Like the best hybrids, the LEAF competes by offering reliable driving in an efficient and affordable package. Including government rebates, starting prices for a new LEAF can get as low as $20,000. The battery gets 87 miles per charge, with a larger option available that extends the range to 107 miles.
3) Chevy Spark EV
Another strong candidate, the Spark EV doesn’t include quite as much as the LEAF above it, but it is another affordable and effective option. Pricing starts at $25,995 for an all-electric that gets an 82 mile range. The one place the Spark EV excels over all of the competition is with charge time. The battery can charge from 0 to 80 percent in just 20 minutes.