What kind of engine (or car in general) - hybrid or petrol - is more suitable (economically justified and less prone to damage and faults) when driving in the following scenarios:

  1. Every day, very short distance (<3 miles), in city
  2. Once a week, short distance (10 - 20 miles), in city
  3. Once a week, moderate distance (60 - 130 miles), mixed city&outside city

By driving in city I mean driving at low speed, in traffic jam, braking very often etc.

By driving outside city I mean driving at constant speed ~55 mph, rarely braking

By hybrid I mean regular hybrids, full hybrid of mild hybrid, not plug-in.

  • This is very subjective - how do you define more suitable? Also, why rule out plug in hybrid cars? – Nick C Apr 28 '18 at 17:04
  • In my case more suitable means "economically justified and less prone to damage". I rule out plug-in as I don't have possibility to recharge such an engine (I live in a country where it's not as popular as in the US). – jesper Apr 28 '18 at 17:11

Each scenario in turn...

  1. Pushbike. This is the worst possible use-case for an internal combustion engine, as it doesn't get a chance to warm up properly - and nor do other components such as the gearbox, so a hybrid won't help (in fact it would be worse as the engine would get even less warm...). This means that components wear a lot faster than usual, plus the fuel consumption and environmental costs are high. Unless you really need a car for this journey, such as transporting heavy loads, I'd cycle, use public transport, or walk...

  2. Hybrid. This is the scenario they come into their own - long enough to get properly warmed up, and plenty of start-stop driving to charge and use the battery. A plug in or full electric would be even better, but as you've said, it needs somewhere to charge which currently isn't available in many places - particularly older towns with on-street parking.

  3. Petrol. Hybrids are no use for long drives as you don't have much braking to charge the batteries, so you're lugging around extra weight for no good reason.

  1. No non-plug-in-car is suitable for this scenario. The non-plug-in-hybrids have typically battery power for a mile at most, assuming the battery is full at the start of the trip (it may not be full). Most non-plug-in-hybrids have an EV mode that can be activated for these short trips to prevent the internal combustion engine from starting due to being cold, but it lasts only for the mile or so. You should really consider a plug-in-hybrid, it's an ideal car for these short journeys.
  2. Hybrid is ideal for this. They have no gearbox to wear due to gear changes. No clutch to wear, either. The engine is occasionally charging the battery at high power, and occasionally stopped with battery providing traction power at low power levels. Engines are far more ideal at closer to mid load than at low load, and hybrid is capable of operating the engine at closer to mid load.
  3. I would divert from @NickC's opinion and claim that hybrid is the most ideal car for this, as well. The reasoning is that modern non-plug-in-hybrids have actually quite lightweight batteries. And, what you lose in the small extra weight, you gain by having a smaller displacement more efficient engine that is more fuel efficient, with the battery providing extra boost, making the small engine feel like a big engine. Furthermore, the engines use typically Atkinson cycle (or actually simulated Atkinson cycle), meaning the efficiency of the engine is much better even at highway speeds. No gear changes to wear away the gearbox, no clutch to wear away, etc. Overtaking is a joy due to no gear changes needed. Want proof? The 1.6 litre engined Avensis consumes 4.9 l / 100 km, yet the 1.8 litre engined Prius consumes 3.5 l / 100 km on highway driving.

Edit: some could propose a modern common-rail injected turbodiesel for (3). I would not, due to dual mass flywheel problems, injector problems, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) problems, diesel particulate filter (DPF) clogging, selective catalytic reduction (SCR) failing, valves becoming coated with carbon deposits due to EGR and no cleaning action caused by indirect gasoline injection, turbochargers failing, etc. Oh, and with a diesel, you typically have a choice of manual transmission (transmission synchromesh and clutch failure due to driver misuse) and automatic transmission (very expensive to repair if it breaks). With a hybrid, there is no clutch and no transmission unless you count a single almost indestructible planetary gearset as a transmission.

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