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Best hybrid cars in Singapore: How much fuel do you save?
Reliable, fuel efficient, environmentally friendly and boasting everyday usability, hybrid cars are the sustainable vehicles for eco-friendly drivers. A hybrid car uses petrol or diesel and combines it with electric power. It does this by having one or more electric motors which assist the conventional petrol or diesel engine.
And with ever increasing options, leaner and meaner designs and better performance, hybrid cars are shedding their plain vanilla image and giving their conventional counterparts a run for their money.
Here are some of the best hybrid cars in Singapore to consider, as well as how much fuel a hybrid car could help you save.
- Best hybrid cars in Singapore
- How do hybrid cars work?
- Advantages and disadvantages of hybrid cars
- How much do you save if you drive a hybrid car in Singapore?
- Hybrid car road tax Singapore
- Petrol vs Hybrid cars
- What about driving an electric car in Singapore?
Best hybrid cars in Singapore
|Brand||Engine Capacity||Fuel consumption||Price (with COE)|
|Suzuki Swift Hybrid 1.2 RS||1,242 cc||27.4 km/L||$87,000|
|Honda Shuttle Hybrid 1.5||1,496 cc||34.4 km/L||$87,088|
|Honda Grace Hybrid 1.5 DX||1,496 cc||34.4 km/L||$86,888|
|Honda Vezel Hybrid||1,496 cc||24.2 km/L||$96,000|
|Toyota C-HR Hybrid 1.8 S||1,797 cc||30 km/L||$111,000|
|Toyota Prius Hybrid||1,798 cc||27 km/L||$159,888|
|Lexus NX 300h||2,494 cc||17.5 km/L||$231,800|
|BMW 5 Series Plug-In Hybrid 530e||1,998 cc||15.8 km/L||$285,888|
How do hybrid cars work?
Hybrid cars feature a petrol or diesel engine, an electric motor and a small battery pack. Once you step down on the accelerator, the regular engine kicks in. As the engine runs, this kinetic energy is sent to the battery pack, also known as the generator, and the electric motor stores this power.
This is sometimes referred to as “self-charging”. Once the car starts to accelerate again, the electric motor is powered by electricity from the batteries, helping the car gain speed.
Advantages and disadvantages of hybrid cars
So, how do they compare to regular cars? What are the pros and cons?
Pro #1: Save on fuel expenses
Hybrid cars run on petrol or diesel just like conventional cars, but every time you coast along, drive at a moderate speed, or get stuck in traffic, the electric drivetrain kicks in so you don’t burn fuel. In this way, hybrid cars can travel further distances on less petrol and also reduce exhaust emissions.
Pro #2: Lower maintenance
With the electric motor assisting the engine, the latter does not have to work as hard to generate sufficient torque to get going. As such, there is less load on the engine and it will experience less wear and tear over time.
Hybrid cars also have regenerative braking systems that can reverse the function of the electric motors and generate electricity while slowing the vehicle down. This translates to more lasting brake pads.
Pro #3: Some extra power for certain models
Hybrid cars have two drivetrains and an electric motor that assists the petrol engine, giving you some extra power when you need it, such as when you are overtaking some cars on the road, or accelerating from a standstill.
Con #1: Hybrid cars are generally more expensive
Hybrid cars have two drivetrains instead of one, in addition to a battery pack and various other complex components as well as technology. This drives the cost up. For example, the Toyota Corolla Altis Hybrid is a whopping $24,000 more expensive than its non hybrid counterpart, the Toyota Corolla Altis Standard.
Con #2: More expensive to repair and/or replace parts
While hybrid cars are lower maintenance, they are more expensive to repair if they break down. This is due to the presence of two engines in the car which makes it more complicated to repair. The technology used in the hybrid car to achieve great gas mileage and low emissions is also more complex and costs more to maintain.
And while hybrid car batteries can generally last up to 5 to 6 years before needing to be changed, the replacement of the batteries can be more expensive than conventional cars. Authorised Toyota dealer Borneo Motors charges $5,200 to replace a Prius hybrid battery. A conventional car battery may only cost as low as $200 to replace.
How much do you save if you drive a hybrid car in Singapore?
Singapore hybrid car rebate
Under the Vehicle Emission Scheme (VES), cars with low pollutants like hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter (PM) will qualify for rebates up to $20,000. For the top tier of the rebate, only fully electric vehicles will qualify for a $20,000 deduction.
The amount of your VES rebate depends on the type of hybrid you purchase and how well it manages emissions. Under the VES, if you register a car or taxi under bands A1 and A2, you will qualify for an emission rebate which will be used to offset the car or taxi’s Additional Registration Fee (ARF).
If you register a car or taxi under bands C1 and C2, you will have to pay an emission surcharge instead.
(Chart from onemotoring.com.sg)
And if you register an electric or plug-in hybrid car or taxi from now to Dec 31, an emission factor of 0.4g CO2/Wh will be applied to its electricity energy consumption to rate its carbon emission.
Hybrid car road tax in Singapore
Road taxes are calculated based on your car’s open market value (OMV). As hybrid cars are generally more expensive and have a higher OMV, you would have to pay a relatively higher road tax for them as compared to their petrol counterparts.
For a low cost hybrid car such as the Suzuki Swift Hybrid 1.2 RS, the road tax starts at $534.
But, the government has announced in 2020 that the current road tax scheme for electric vehicles and some hybrids will be revised from January 2021 onwards, resulting in lower taxes for these vehicles.
Petrol vs Hybrid cars
Fuel consumption –Hybrid vs petrol cars
Going by fuel cost alone, hybrid car drivers do save more than those who drive cars running solely on petrol. Let’s compare the fuel cost of driving a popular Toyota Corolla Altis Standard vs Toyota Corolla Altis Hybrid. Let’s estimate that the average Singapore car travels 16,700km annually and round petrol costs up to $2.00/L after discounts.
|Toyota Corolla Altis Standard||Toyota Corolla Altis Hybrid|
|Distance travelled on full tank||859.4km (Based on tank size of 55L)||977.3km (Based on tank size of 43L)|
|Fuel cost over 1 year||$110 for one full tank $2,137.60||$86 for one full tank $1,469.60|
|Fuel cost over 10 years||$21,376||$14,696|
|Difference in fuel cost over 10 years||$6,680|
The amount saved on fuel costs, while not substantial at each pump, can make a difference to your day to day expenses over a long period of time.
Difference in prices – Hybrid vs petrol cars
However, to find out how much you can truly save driving a hybrid car, we would also need to take into account its higher price tag.
The Toyota Corolla Altis Standard is priced at $91,888 while the Hybrid is $115,888. Without even factoring in road tax, car insurance, and car loan interest, we can already see that the amount you save on fuel will not be sufficient to offset the price difference of $24,000 for the hybrid car.
The key difference is if you are a driver who needs to travel long distances on the road everyday. For example, if you are a private hire driver or someone who needs to travel from one end of the island to the other for work and pick-ups everyday.
Private hire drivers have been known to clock up to 400km per day. This could push your fuel savings over 10 years in the region of more than $40,000, which would more than offset the high upfront cost of the hybrid car.
Experience driving a hybrid car
Diehard motorheads are unlikely to be thrilled with the idea of driving a hybrid. In the words of one purist, “I love cars for their dirty, oily, smokey, air polluting nature, and will never drive anything else, not even a Tesla.”
Enthusiasts who live for the majestic reverberating roar of their engines are also unlikely to take to the quieter, less exciting drives of hybrid cars.
In addition, those looking for a high performance car are also unlikely to be impressed by a hybrid car. Hybrid cars are generally heavier than an equivalent petrol car, and the additional weight tends to blunt handling and performance.
What about driving an electric car in Singapore?
Electric cars are another increasingly attractive option, especially due to the Singapore government’s push to encourage more EV usage to combat climate change.
For one, Singapore will have 28,000 EV charging points by 2030. About two-thirds of the 28,000 EV charging points to be available by 2030 will be in Housing Board car parks across Singapore.
Schemes will also be implemented to make EVs more attractive. For example, the Vehicular Emissions Scheme will be extended to light commercial vehicles.
Also, an early-adoption incentive scheme will be rolled out for EV buyers from 2021 to 2023. It will offer rebates capped at $20,000 per vehicle.
Some other reasons to go electric include the quietness of the ride, the silky smooth and instant acceleration. You’ll also get to enjoy lower running costs as electricity is significantly cheaper than petrol per kilometre travelled. And unlike hybrid cars, EVs have very few moving parts and are thus cheaper to service.
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