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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.

Contents:

Best hybrid cars in Singapore

BrandEngine CapacityFuel consumptionPrice (with COE)
Suzuki Swift Hybrid 1.2 RS1,242 cc27.4 km/L$87,000
Honda Shuttle Hybrid 1.51,496 cc34.4 km/L$87,088
Honda Grace Hybrid 1.5 DX1,496 cc34.4 km/L$86,888
Honda Vezel Hybrid1,496 cc24.2 km/L$96,000
Toyota C-HR Hybrid 1.8 S1,797 cc30 km/L$111,000
Toyota Prius Hybrid1,798 cc27 km/L$159,888
Lexus NX 300h2,494 cc17.5 km/L$231,800
BMW 5 Series Plug-In Hybrid 530e1,998 cc15.8 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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

cars or taxis emmission surcharge

(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 StandardToyota Corolla Altis Hybrid
Fuel consumption6.4L/100km4.4L/100km
Distance travelled on full tank859.4km (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.

Thinking about car insurance?

Name Product Accidental Damage Roadside Assistance New Car Replacement Choice of Repairer Guarantee on Repairs
Direct Asia Comprehensive Cover Car Insurance
Direct Asia Comprehensive Cover Car Insurance
Yes
Optional
Yes
Optional
Lifetime repair guarantee
Receive S$100 worth of Shell fuel (or 3,000 Shell Escape points) plus free 24 Hour Breakdown Assistance when you insure your car. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 July 2022.
Budget Direct Insurance Comprehensive Car Insurance
Budget Direct Insurance Comprehensive Car  Insurance
Yes
Optional
Yes
Optional
12-months repair guarantee at authorised workshops.
Receive up S$100 NETS FlashPay card when you purchase a new 12-month comprehensive car insurance policy online. Use promo code 'HAPPY5'. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Oct 2021.
Get an additional 5% off by using Affinity ID 'FDRSAVE'.
FWD Comprehensive Cover Car Insurance
FWD Comprehensive Cover Car Insurance
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Get 20% discount when you purchase a comprehensive plan using the promo code: FINCAR20. Ends 16 October 2021. T&Cs apply.
98.9% of Car insurance claims approved. Lifetime 50% NCD Guarantee.
Income Drivo Premium Car Insurance
Income Drivo Premium Car Insurance
Yes
Optional
No
Yes
N/A
Get unlimited third party liability and unlimited windscreen cover. Plus, choose your preferred workshop for repairs or maintenance.
Direct Asia Third Party Fire and Theft Cover Car Insurance
Direct Asia Third Party Fire and Theft Cover Car Insurance
Yes
Optional
Yes
Optional
Lifetime repair guarantee
Receive S$50 worth of Shell fuel (1,500 Shell Escape Points) when you insure your car. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 July 2022.
Budget Direct Insurance Third Party Fire and Theft Car Insurance
Budget Direct Insurance Third Party Fire and Theft Car Insurance
Third party fire and theft only
Optional
No
Optional
12-months repair guarantee at authorised workshops.
Loss or damages to your car by fire or theft - up to your car's market value. Plus, unlimited cover for injury or death to others.
Budget Direct Insurance Third Party Only Car Insurance
Budget Direct Insurance Third Party Only Car Insurance
Yes
Optional
No
No
12-months repair guarantee at authorised workshops.
Receive $20 in shopping vouchers when you refer a friend. Your friends will each get 5% off any policy they purchase. T&Cs apply.
Get an additional 5% off by using Affinity ID 'FDRSAVE'.
Direct Asia Third Party Only Car Insurance
Direct Asia Third Party Only Car Insurance
Yes
No
Optional
Optional
Lifetime repair guarantee
Receive S$50 worth of Shell fuel (1,500 Shell Escape Points) when you insure your car. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 July 2022.
Income Drivo Classic Car Insurance
Income Drivo Classic Car Insurance
Yes
Optional
No
No
N/A
Unlimited third party liability, up to S$5 million in damages to third party property, up to S$1,000 in medical expenses.
RentalCover.com Rental Car Insurance
RentalCover.com Rental Car Insurance
Yes
Yes
No
No
N/A
Direct Asia SOS Car Insurance
Direct Asia SOS Car Insurance
Up to the market value of your car
Optional
No
Optional
Lifetime repair guarantee
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