Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 23rd 2013 Contents BG28 | INTERNATIONAL
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MAY 2013 • WEEK FOUR
negotiation and mediation
Port of Spain
• Learn how to mediate disputes
• Learn how to deal with tough bargainers
• Receive individual coaching in mediation
• Our joint ADR and Advanced ADR Programmes are
accredited by the Mediation Board of T&T.
"Very useful. I would recommend it for all
managers and supervisors. Excellent presenters."
- Sandra Jones, Ministry of Health, Port of Spain
held at the Capital Plaza Hotel
call 1.800.808.4132 or 416.307.0007
Though not yet commonly avail-
able in T&T, hybrid vehicles are
likely to be a familiar sight on
the nation's highways for two
Firstly, Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine
in October 2012 took delivery of a new hybrid
car as part of the ministry's fleet. The auto-
mobile was described as an "awareness tool"
for its ongoing energy awareness campaign.
The Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs
was described as taking a "leading role" by
incorporating the Toyota Prius into its auto
pool. Ramnarine said at the time that new
vehicles would be either CNG-powered or
hybrids and talked about bringing proposals
to Cabinet to improve the affordability of
Secondly, Visham Babwah, president of the
T&T Automotive Dealers Association, said at
a May 8 press conference at P&V Marketing
in Chaguanas that some of used car dealers
have already started importing used hybrids
that run on a combination of unleaded gasoline
Against that backdrop, the Business Guardian
is publishing the pros and cons of hybrid vehi-
cles for interested motorists.
Hybrid car on a highway
With their growing popularity, many people
have questions about the pros and cons of
hybrid cars. It is well known hybrid cars have
great gas mileage, but less familiar is the ever-
Not only are hybrid vehicles more efficient,
producing lower emissions than gas powered
automobiles, but their performance is con-
tinuing to improve thanks to advances in tech-
Hybrids were once accused of being gutless
when compared to an average gas powered
engine, but that is a thing of the past. They
come with many of the same features that
their traditional counterparts do, offering high
performance steering and superb quality brakes.
Hybrid car advantages
Clean energy. An electric motor, together
with a gas-powered engine, make a vehicle
that has lower emissions and better gas mileage.
It conserves energy while having the power
of a standard engine.
Performance improvements. New tech-
nologies allow hybrids the same kind of per-
formance as normal cars, and they are con-
tinuing to develop, improving efficiency, getting
better mileage, and reducing emissions even
Incentives to invest in hybrid vehicles vary
from state to state in the United States. Fed-
erally, hybrids may come with a tax benefit
and savings in the form of much less money
spent on fuel.
Regenerative braking. Each time you brake,
the battery is recharged a little, eliminating
the need for stopping to recharge the battery
Lower fossil fuel dependence. Hybrids are
much cleaner and require less fossil fuel to
Lighter weight. Hybrids are constructed
using lighter materials, so the car does not
have to expend as much energy to do the same
task.A smaller engine. Again, a smaller engine
means a lighter one, and because there is less
cylinder displacement, the engine does not
have to work as hard, and a hybrid uses far
less fuel in the process.
Higher resale values. As more and more
people are turning to hybrid vehicles to help
save money on annual fuel bills and protect
the environment, used hybrid vehicles are
commanding higher than average resale values.
Many popular fuel-efficient vehicles such as
cars made by Honda and Toyota have always
enjoyed high resale values, and the hybrid ver-
sions of vehicles made by these manufacturers
are demanding even higher selling prices. So,
in the event you need to sell a hybrid vehicle,
it is safe to assume that you will be able to
recoup much more of your investment than
you would with a standard gasoline engine
Hybrid car disadvantages
Depending on how you drive, a hybrid car
might not be the right choice for you, because
they tend to perform quite a bit differently
than the vehicles most of us are used to.
Lower power output. These vehicles are
built for economy, not for speed. The gasoline
engine (the car's primary source of power) is
much smaller than in comparable vehicles. If
you need more acceleration than the conven-
tional engine can provide, the electric motor
assists in getting the car going. However, even
with extra help, the total power output of the
hybrid platform is often less than that of a
comparable gas powered car.
Poorer handling. Hybrids as a rule don't
handle as well as conventionally-powered
vehicles. The reason for this is centred around
the issue of weight. Extra weight results in a
loss of fuel efficiency, so manufacturers tend
to cut weight wherever possible.
Hybrids generally have less bracing and sup-
port in the suspension and body, and they use
lighter-duty components than in cars that are
Higher centre of gravity. A car's centre of
gravity and weight distribution has a huge
effect on how it drives. Vehicle manufacturers
do their best to distribute the weight as well
as they can, but it's just not possible to mitigate
this factor completely. Hybrids are usually
front-wheel drive, and the easiest and safest
place for the batteries tend to be in the rear
of the car. This distributes weight away from
the drive wheels which tends to have a negative
effect on performance.
Sticker shock. The price difference of hybrid
cars versus standard vehicles is considerable.
In many cases, the hybrid electric version of
a vehicle may cost between US$5,000 and
US$10,000 more than the standard version.
Many consumers will simply not be able to
afford the price difference in the two types of
vehicles regardless of how much money may
or may not be saved with the better fuel effi-
ciency of hybrid vehicles.
Higher maintenance costs. Hybrid vehicles
also cost more to repair because of the com-
plexity of the dual compulsion system used
in most hybrid vehicles. Not all mechanics
are trained or equipped to work on hybrid
vehicles. Also, because of the increased weight
of hybrid vehicles, you can expect to replace
tires and brakes more frequently as well.
The pros and cons of hybrid cars
The hybrid Toyota Prius purchased by the Ministry of Energy.
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