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January 31, 2016 10:05

With vehicular pollution levels at an all-time high and the associated health related repercussions for everyone around, a lot many buyers are increasingly becoming aware about the benefits of alternative propulsion vehicles such as a plug-in car. To help all those considering buying one, here’s what you need to know:

There is a difference between a pure electric car and say, a petrol-hybrid, for example. The former works solely on battery power and must be recharged either at a dedicated charging station or an appropriate charging outlet. These cars do not have an internal combustion engine that runs on conventional fuels.

A hybrid plug-in car on the other hand, features, both, an electric motor as well as a small capacity, fossil fuel driven internal combustion engine, often a petrol operated one. The way these cars work is that the petrol motor runs the electric one, which in turn provides key propulsion support in most conditions. Only in the case where extreme performance is required do the dual motors kick in in tandem.

One of the first things you should decide upon is which among the two would be better suited to your individual driving needs. Most pure electric cars sold in the market today suffer from range issues, with frequent charging required between operational sessions. A petrol-hybrid on the other hand, has no such compunctions.

Most seller networks are clueless about the particular benefits of each subset, so be prepared to do your homework when buying one rather than risking your purchase.

Remember that the actual range of an electric car will vary depending on individual conditions and even across owners. So whatever range figures are quoted, they must be reduced accordingly.

When plug-in car shopping, ask about the company support, particularly in terms of warranties & after-sales. This is most important, as servicing them outside the official network is usually a tall task and near impossible.

The battery pack in most electric-cars or plug-ins will eventually fail & the repair/replacement bills a few years down the line with give you quite a shock. So do factor in the replacement cost of the same into your ownership cost projections.

With more and more manufacturers starting to bring out plug-in car variants of their new cars, buyers will increasingly have to brush up on their knowledge about them.

Lastly, the government too is putting its might behind electric-cars, and the not-so distant future should bring forth some assistance in terms of subsidies & toll-waivers.

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