We talked to the experts – Vancouver and Victoria cab drivers – to find out if hybrid cars really are better than other vehicles on the road.
1. It’s economics: Douglas Jones has been driving with Maclure’s Cabs for four years. Since 2010, he’s put 300,000 kilometres on his Prius cab, and gets 7 L/120 km. “The economics are obvious. I would definitely recommend it as a personal vehicle,” says Jones. When Amit Arya bought his Prius at the end of 2004, people made fun of him. “Some people would say, whoah! We ordered a cab, not an alien ship!” But in just two and a half years, Amit paid off his car loan – two years earlier than originally planned – by using the money he saved in gas.
2. The car will last almost forever. Victoria based cab driver Rakesh Kohli was the first person at Blue Bird Cabs to buy a Prius in 2004. Everyone thought he was crazy. Now, 98% of the fleet are hybrid vehicles, and Kohli’s first car from 2004? It has over 1.1 million kilometres and he’s still driving it.
3. Less visits to the repair shop. “The mechanics tell me it’s easy to work on,” says Douglas Jones. And 10 years later, Rakesh Kohli’s car with over 1.1 kilometres still uses the same battery. Robert Rogers adds, “I was having a lot of trouble with my Ford. I was spending more time with my mechanic than with my girlfriend…and I’ve had this [Camry Hybrid] six years now, I’ve got 700,000 kilometres on it. Toyota has produced a vehicle that requires very low maintenance, and if it does require maintenance, it doesn’t cost much.”
4. Resale. “This is my second car,” says Amit Arya, an owner-operator with Blue Birds Cabs in Victoria. “My first car I sold with 740,000 kilometres in 2011. I put it on UsedVictoria, and sold it for $3,500 in less than three hours. I got so many emails asking if there was a typo, is it really 740,000 kilometres? The guy I sold it to, that car has gone past a million kilometres now. And still the same battery, same engine. Nothing changed.”
5. Hybrids offer an environmentally-friendly option to drivers. Unless you’re riding a bike or taking transit to work, commuting by car can’t be avoided. “You need to be environmentally conscious,” says cab driver Robert Rogers. “It’s a save the trees, save the whales, save the environment place, and I feel good that I’m helping by driving the hybrid vehicle that reduces my emissions and reduces my carbon footprint.”
Straight from the experts. #AskACabbie about their hybrid car the next time you’re in a cab, and
join the conversation by searching #AskACabbie on Twitter, and visit www.hybridland.org.
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