Often times, hybrid or electric cars are referred to as green vehicles. There are three basic types of green vehicles. Electric vehicles or EVs are pretty self-explanatory, as they're cars with no combustion engine and have just an electric drivetrain like the Nissan Leaf, the Chevrolet Bolt and the entire Tesla lineup. Cars like the popular Toyota Prius, which have a battery to assist the gas engine saving fuel, but can't run on electricity alone are conventional hybrids. Splitting the difference are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or PHEVs like the Chevrolet Volt and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. A PHEV has both a traditional internal combustion engine and an electric motor. When the electric motor loses its charge, the combustion engine kicks in so you can keep going without worries of range limitation of your car.
Pros: One of the main advantages of hybrid/electric cars is fuel savings. With a conventional hybrid, you simply get better fuel economy than you would with a similar non-hybrid car. With a plug-in hybrid, you can run on no gas at all and even when the gas engine does kick in, a PHEV is still more fuel efficient than a non-hybrid car. With an EV, you never have to buy a drop of gas to keep it going.
With any car that plugs into the wall, you'll notice a higher electric bill for obvious reasons. However, the extra amount of money you spend on electricity is still less than what you'd spend on gas. The price per mile of an EV or PHEV is always lower than that of a conventional car in the same class.
One perk of electrified vehicles that some might not consider is a performance upgrade. An electric motor makes all of its torque instantly at 0 rpm as opposed to a gas engine that needs to rev up to make peak torque. That means electric cars have very quick acceleration times. For example, the 0-to-60 mph time of a Chevrolet Bolt is about 2 seconds faster than that of a Chevrolet Cruze.
Another thing that a lot of people love about their hybrid/electric cars is how quiet and clean they are. A car that burns less gas than its conventional counterpart means reduced tailpipe emissions and all-electric cars make zero local emissions. The environmental benefit of hybrid/electric cars is very important to a lot of drivers.
Cons: While range-anxiety isn't an issue for conventional hybrids or PHEVs, it is for EVs. Unfortunately, the U.S. has nowhere near the infrastructure to support EVs as it does for regular gas-powered cars. That means depending on where you are in the country, you might be limited by how far away from home you can travel due to the range limitations of your car.
Another issue for hybrid/electric vehicles is cost. Federal incentives and several state incentives are in place to bring the cost to the consumer down for electrified cars, but those will eventually run out. It's unclear when the costs of these cars will be similar to their gas-powered counterparts without incentives.