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Hybid car usage

We are thinking of buying a new hybrid car with a lithium ion battery pack. We will only drive the car on weekends, and then for short in-town errands for the most part, along with the occasional freeway/highway trip. Our question is, does it shorten the lithium ion battery life, or is it otherwise hard on a hybrid car, to drive it infrequently? We live in Seattle, WA. Our primary concern is using less fossil fuel rather than recovering our fuel costs by purchasing a hybrid.

Though your plan is admirable, why bother financially or practically. Wait till you can buy a cheap all EV (best choice) with enough range for your needs in a few years, or a cheap used Corolla (better choice)or something like it. Your driving habits don’t fill the need for one IMO.
If you buy a hybrid (worse choice), you would not save enough in fuel to offset the impractical use you’re giving it.

You mean a Volt? Your infrequent use makes the added expense a waste of money and resources. Your purchase would damage, not improve, the environment. There are major costs (both financial and environmental) in making the large battery packs, and if they’re not being used to any significant degree it’s just a waste of resources.

Why no get a slightly used economical car? That would be the best, from an environmental viewpoint.

You use your car so infrequently, I wouldn’t bother with a hybrid. Instead, find a small economy car with a small efficient engine. This isn’t about the financial aspect. This is about the fact that hybrids really only benefit those people who drive a lot. Let someone who drives a lot more buy the hybrids you have been looking at.

All good points and all have been considered. It may help to point out that we currently drive a 1990 Honda Civic, which we bought new and would keep forever if possible. We plan to keep our new car as long. My question, though, remains unanswered. Is it hard on a lithium-ion battery, or a hybrid car in general, to use it infrequently? Does the battery “leak”, is it hard on the charging system, or the engine, etc? Does anyone have any information or opinions on this?

Yes, it is hard on the battery, if it is used infrequently. Which car exactly are you considering? The only hybrid with lithium ion batteries is the Volt, I think.

The 21012 Honda Civic hybrid will have a lithium-ion I believe.

If you insist upon a hybrid, the plug in Prius 2012, I bet distance Won’t be (15miles) competitive with the Volt. Leave it plugged in during the week and the price if the same will be hopefully many thousands less. Then you’ll have your somewhat EV.

Keeping li-ion batteries full all the time will shorten their life.
They are happiest when stored about 1/3 full and used in shallow charge/discharge cycles.

I don’t think I can wait 19,001 years for that!

yeah, hopefully we’ll be flying george jetson cars by then

I know you want a hybrid, but the 2012 Civic HF would be a better match for your planned use. 40+ mpg highway, probaby 30+ city, and for sure quite a bit cheaper to buy.

Lithium ion batteries in autos is technology that is too new for anyone to give you a knowledgeable answer. Only time will tell. If your car use is that infrequent your motives are honorable, but in fact you won’t be saving much fuel for the planet.

A new conventional Civic will get excellent mpg, and is a very low emissions vehicle. Driving a new Civic is a good thing to do for the planet and you aren’t messing with questions about new and unproven technology in low use conditions.

That’s a general guide to li-ion batteries. You can trust the charging system in a modern ev or hybrid to do the right thing.

Forget the hybrid and get small gas powered car like a Fit or Yaris or Mini. You aren’t doing the earth any favors with a hybrid, as the manufacturing chain in making the batteries spans the globe, the raw materials are mined at one location then shipped across the world for processing, then shipped to another country to be made into batteries, then those batteries are shipping to another country where the factory that makes the car itself is.