Hybrid Cars, Are They Worth It?

Hi all,

I'm thinking to purchase a Corolla Hybrid. My purpose is for commuting to work during peak hours (slow traffic speed).
After considering the depreciation cost of the battery, do you think I can save significant amount of money (e.g. after 10 years) compared to the petrol version?

Thank you for joining the discussion.


  • +98 votes

    Oh hai! Toyota salesperson here.

    Ok let's break it down.

    Hybrid - 4.2L/100km
    Petrol - 6.0L/100km

    Something a lovely colleague of mine setup. Savings calculated on fuel @ $1.298/L

    Annual Kilometres Travelled Annual Fuel Cost Annual Savings
    Petrol Engine Hybrid Engine
    5000 $389.40 $272.58 $116.82
    10000 $778.80 $545.16 $233.64
    15000 $1,168.20 $817.74 $350.46
    20000 $1,557.60 $1,090.32 $467.28
    25000 $1,947.00 $1,362.90 $584.10
    30000 $2,336.40 $1,635.48 $700.92
    35000 $2,725.80 $1,908.06 $817.74
    40000 $3,115.20 $2,180.64 $934.56
    45000 $3,504.60 $2,453.22 $1,051.38

    Hybrid demands a $1,500 premium over petrol. In the Corolla Ascent Sport, you also get keyless entry/start and dual-zone climate control, over the petrol model, for your $1500.

    Now you're absolutely in the best case for hybrid, with constant braking/decelerating. Sitting in traffic at idle, you'll just be running on battery, not using fuel.

    Hybrid has less moving parts, less parts that need maintenance. Servicing won't cost you any extra over the lifetime of the car. Battery has a 10yr warranty on it, though the return rate for hybrid batteries is very low. Taxi drivers report their brake pads last longer, as they're not braking as much and the energy goes back into the battery to charge it.

    • +4 votes

      Thank you for your reply, great to hear input from expert.

      I think I will be driving 10k annually.

      How much is the battery replacement cost after 10 years?

      • +2 votes

        Battery doesn't need replacing every 10 years. It'll just be outside of warranty. Most items last a lot longer than their warranty period.


        $2,500-$3,000 after your $500 rebate for swapping it (recycling it).

        Only about 0.65% of batteries have needed to be replaced

        • +1 vote

          What is the replacement rate from 10 years onwards. If someone were to consider buying a second hand vehicle.

          • +2 votes

            @t_c: No idea. Only Prius has been around that long


            @t_c: Entirely weather and usage dependent. Heat kills batteries. Fast charging and fast drainage causes heat.

            By heat, Lithium loses its number of charge cycles north of 25C.

            So avoid a race car that lives in the hilly sections of North Australia, that only has a rapid charger! Thankfully many apps around today to check battery condition.

            Also, many manufacturers have 10yr warranties, but I expect that to change soon in Australia.

      • +3 votes

        I bought 2 Hybrid Camry Battery Packs recently from a wrecking yard for $850 (I have 3 Hybrid Camry's) you only 'need' to replace individual cells that fail, not the complete HV battery.

        • +1 vote

          seriously - every time I tried to buy them from the wreckers they wanted $1500 each ??


            @rooster: Polish up your negotiation skills.

          • +1 vote

            @rooster: What they 'want' & what they 'get' are 2 different things! They wanted $1200 each (I usually get them (untested-as is) for around $250 & was desperate as my usual guy hadn't had any for over 6 months. Went there, tested them both(they only had 2 & tested very low voltage) I offered him what I normally pay ($250 each) to which he declined. I walked away. He yelled out $1000 the pair, I said I'd meet him half way $750 to which he declined. I walked away again. He yelled out $850 as I was just about to my car to which I agreed.


          So your big hybrid fan?

    • +2 votes

      as they're not braking as much

      Could you clarify that bit for me? (I'm a hybrid noob)

      • +2 votes

        It's like engine braking, so as you decelerate, it puts the energy in the battery. As you brake, or decelerate, you're actually charging the battery.

        You find when driving hybrids that the brakes are a lot more 'grippy' than standard, just in the design of the system. And when you decelerate, same thing you're almost braking


          Ah, gotcha. Didn't know that. Cheers!


            @zeggie: Regen braking similar to F1 KERS

            When you drive tesla and foot off the accelerator, your car slows down a lot more by itself.
            Takes time to adjust your foot driving habit.

            • +1 vote

              @phunkydude: The reason it slows down is that the electric motor is used as a generator while braking. The motion of the vehicle is used to drive the generator which then produces electricity. Due to physics the generator creates the electricity by creating a load on the motor which slows you down. A pure electric vehicle can return much of the acceleration energy under decelleration without using brake pads to slow you down. .

              It’s like engine braking in a internal combustion car, but better because it enables the storage of excess energy to the battery which a petrol/diesel cannot do.


          Sorry another noob question:
          Does it mean that Hybrid cars uses 0 fuel, if I drive slowly (under 40) and no heavy acceleration?


            @Bimo: Yep. You'll just purely run off battery, if the battery has enough charge stored. Depends on how hard you accelerate though.

            Might be worth you doing a 24hr test drive of one. Clear the trip meter at the start and see how you go.


              @Spackbace: I'm getting excited about this.

              Does the boot space much smaller than the normal version?

              I'm gonna book for test drive this weekend.

          • +1 vote

            @Bimo: There's different types of hybrid. The hybrid in the corolla's case will still use petrol to charge the batteries and power the electric motors. You can't use 0 fuel with this kind of hybrid.

            With a plug in hybrid (PHEV), you can theoretically use 0 fuel as you can charge the battery with a cable



              There's different types of hybrid. The hybrid in the corolla's case will still use petrol to charge the batteries and power the electric motors. You can't use 0 fuel with this kind of hybrid.

              In the scenario he mentioned, it would cut out the petrol engine when coasting/decelerating/braking at low speeds. Driving around a carpark for example is pure battery powered.


                @Spackbace: It could, but overall it wouldn't use 0 fuel as the battery will need to be charged sooner or later and the only way to charge the battery is by using petrol


            @Bimo: Yes.
            We have several Australian built Camry hybrids at work. They are good for about 500m doing up to 15kph on battery alone. I wouldn't describe it as great.

            Maybe they've improved in the newer models.

            Around Sydney, driving normally I get ~8L/100km (a normal Camry would get ~11L/100km). On country trips sitting on 110-120kph I get 5-6L/100kph. The firm is paying for fuel so I don't tend to drive for economy.

            The regenerative braking was a bit hit & miss. One car the transition from regen to mechanical braking was seamless, the other two there was a definite cutover that was quite dangerous as the brakes came on very suddenly and the ABS would kick in. They were unpleasant to drive.


            @Bimo: Your battery only has so much capacity. Also, the hybrid car is heavier than the petrol only version.

          • +2 votes


            Does it mean that Hybrid cars uses 0 fuel, if I drive slowly (under 40) and no heavy acceleration?

            Strangely enough, the most fuel-efficient way to drive these vehicles is not to use the electric motor at all! Using the electric motor (without the petrol motor) depletes the battery. The battery then needs to recharge. Regenerative braking is insufficient to recharge the battery on its own, so needs to be supplemented with electricity generated from the petrol motor. The process of petrol —> petrol motor —> inverter —> electricity —> battery storage —> electricity —> electric motor —> acceleration is not as efficient at petrol —> petrol motor —> acceleration. Hence higher efficiency with petrol motor alone. This, I think, is the basis of the pulse & glide technique of hypermiling.

            • +1 vote

              @bcarp: So how does the fuel consumption end up less than an equivalent petrol only model? What you are indicating is that there is no point having a hybrid drive system.


                @Euphemistic: Good question. The hybrid system allows the petrol motor to turn off when it would be most inefficient, eg. when idle. So, if you're coasting/gliding, then the petrol motor is not wasting fuel on doing nothing. Same while braking, etc. The regenerative capture of energy during braking also saves some fuel. (And stop when idle also does the same, although that is happening in other vehicles too now.)

                If you're trying to hypermile using the pulse & glide technique, then you'd accelerate using the petrol engine at its most fuel-efficient rev speed (pulse), then shut it down completely while pressing the pedal slightly to avoid the mild regenerative braking that Toyota insists when you lift the foot off completely (glide). You could technically do this with a pure petrol motor, but you'd be using that ignition key/button a lot to turn the petrol motor on & off, and it wouldn't be safe. The electric motor allows you to do this safely & easily, as long as you're not in traffic.


                  @bcarp: "Strangely enough, the most fuel-efficient way to drive these vehicles is not to use the electric motor at all!"

                  If it is a highway cycle, then the hypermile technique is the most efficient.

                  On the city cycle, that is what most drivers daily drive consists of, its another story. The fuel saving from switching the engine off at the lights for a minute or two is small compared to the energy required accelerating a car from 0-60km/h. Using the regenerative energy is what increases the efficiency of hybrids to a highway cycle in city traffic.

                  Using hypermiling in city traffic is not efficient because of the energy loss in braking. Using the hypermile technique and capturing the regenerative energy from braking would be the most efficient for hybrid cars.


                    @bigticket: Spot on! Of course, if you could predict traffic enough to coast to a stop rather than use the brake, that would be hypermiling champion level! (And greatly annoy all the other drivers around you!)


                  @bcarp: A hybrid isn’t designed for long distance driving not hypermiling. It is reigned to reduce fuel consumption in stop start traffic in which case the regenerative braking and electric acceleration are more efficient than a petroleum motor alone. Check the highway/urban consumption figures for the same model, you’ll probably find the urban different and the highway quite close.


                    @Euphemistic: http://beta.redbook.com.au/compare/?ids=SPOT-ITM-509956,SPOT...

                    Highway - 6.5L/100km vs 4.2L/100km

                    Even city, the hybrid is rated to 4.7L/100km, which means it shouldn't differ too much.

                    Personally, if I had bought a Camry hybrid and it got under 6L/100km, I'd think that was damn good for a car of its size



                    A hybrid isn’t designed for long distance driving not hypermiling.

                    True. In long distance driving, there is less of an advantage over a regular petrol vehicle compared to its advantage during city driving. But hypermiling is still fun. :) This morning’s Sydney commute at 6:30am gave me 4.8L/100km. A highway stint after my first workplace then gave me 4.4L/100km.


            @Bimo: It has EV mode i drive shop for free most day.


          when you decelerate, same thing you're almost braking

          Sounds a bit annoying to be honest!

    • +1 vote

      Lol where are you living that petrol is $1.28. Here it is $1.45 minimum


      Can you advise what is the street price of Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid model? Should I buy 2nd hand?

    • +11 votes

      Does hybrid have less moving parts? I thought being hybrid means it has a normal (smaller) petrol engine plus an electric motor?


        You are correct. Hybrid is more complicated than a normal car. Fully electric is much simpler. That being said I don't think anything has had many technical issues with recent hybrids.


          The way I see it, hybrid has been around longer than eV.

          • +1 vote

            @Bimo: That's not true. Pure electric vehicles have been around longer especially for things like milk delivery trucks, post delivery vans etc. In fact the very first cars were based on electric motors, not combustion engines.

            I'm not a fan of hybrids because not only will it take you 6.5 years to recoup any savings while possibly having more costly repairs as per above (so not saving considerable money really), but also consider the driving experience as well. They just don't have the same feel and power availability. I had a hybrid Camry for quite a while and yes it's solid, comfortable and decently built, but just has no soul and no driving enjoyment at all.

            Maybe that's not important to you though and you just need an A to B commute vehicle. To each their own I suppose. Test drive one before you commit.

      • +1 vote

        Does hybrid have less moving parts?

        Sorry, wrong wording I think. Hybrid cars don't have alternators or starter motors, the electric engine takes over those roles


      Don't forget the Corolla hybrid requires premium unleaded fuel. Here it costs about 10% extra.

      • +7 votes

        No it doesn't. Old one did yes, as does new hybrid Camry, but not the new model Corolla hybrid :)


          That's a welcome change. I bet many customers were keen to save money on fuel only to realize they would be paying more per litre without any good reason.

          • -5 votes

            @Cluster: I feed my car on 98 anyway based on believe it cleans the engine.

            • +6 votes

              @Bimo: Might as well burn your money lol

            • +1 vote

              @Bimo: @Bimo

              98 cleans engine

              Fuel can clean the fuel lines, the injectors and the fuel ports/valves, as that is all it touches. Oil cleans most of your engine (excluding cooling, fuel and air paths).


              Might as well burn your money lol

              Bimo is, at ~20c per litre.


              Isn't premium fuel is more efficient?

              Nope. Less. Octane is a rating of how easy a fuel detonates. Higher ratings mean more stable fuel and less energy. Premium fuels are also watered down with detergents as a marketing gimmick (fuel is already an excellent solvent). Higher octane motors can develop more power and/or produce less pollution (but generally use more fuel) as more fuel stability allows tighter engine timing.

              So the money spent on higher price is saved on engine lifespan?

              Changing your oil every 6 months/5,000km will help far more. Annual services used to include a cap full of metho or a fuel system cleaner, which depending on your km/yr, could be cheaper or more expensive than running premium.


      Something a lovely colleague of mine setup

      Your colleague doesn't factor in the $100/yr saving on rego (in vic).


      Could you do another table service cost for both cars?

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