With rising petrol and diesel costs, many car buyers are seeking alternate fuels and technologies that can help reduce running costs. These include looking at dual-fuel cars such as petrol-CNG or petrol-LPG cars which are cost effective to run. The next wave likely to be prevalent in India is a shift to petrol-electric or diesel electric hybrids.
Guide to hybrid cars in India
You can convert most petrol cars or diesel cars to petrol-electric or diesel-electric hybrids soon, with the government framing norms to regulate the conversion of regular petrol or diesel cars to hybrids. This is a step before all-electric cars make an appearance. See: Govt framing norms to convert cars to electric hybrids.
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There are already some readymade solutions to convert cars to electric hybrids using an electric motor and battery pack to assist the car’s engine. However, these systems are in an initial stage of development and are fairly expensive, with costs ranging between Rs. 60,000 and Rs. 1.3 lakh for such systems. See: Convert any car to a hybrid using Revolo’s hybrid system
True hybrid cars in India are few and far between, with the Toyota Prius being the only true hybrid on sale in India at the moment. However, Maruti apparently has long-term plans to launch a more affordable hybrid car in India. See: Maruti plans to launch affordable hybrid
How cost effective are hybrids?
Not many people have experience with true hybrid cars in India and hence it’s tough to come up with real-world running costs based on a large pool of data. However, there is an argument in favour of both – hybrids as well as conventional diesel and petrol vehicles. See: Do hybrids really reduce running costs?
Is CNG or LPG a better option now?
While hybrid cars are still some time away, there is an argument that works in favour of CNG and LPG conversion at the moment. In fact, going hybrid may or may not be the best option just yet. See: Petrol-electric hybrid or CNG conversion, pros and cons
Converting a car to LPG or CNG is a question of fuel availability and also cost. This is an interim option before electric hybrids become popular.