Renting a Hybrid Vehicle

More rental companies are offering electric vehicles, allowing drivers to test out new ways to get around before making a commitment. This includes hybrid vehicles, which can be a great option for those curious about EVs but nervous about range anxiety. In this article, we’ll offer some tips to guide you in renting a hybrid vehicle.

Why a Hybrid?

The main reasons people choose hybrids is that they can bring down your fuel budget, reduce your emissions, and still give you access to the capabilities of a gas-powered vehicle. For those new to the world of EVs, transitioning from a car with an internal combustion engine (ICE) can be a bit of a learning curve. You can make this move at a slower pace with a hybrid, since you’ll have both a regular engine and an electric motor to work with.

Although the initial cost of a hybrid vehicle is more than an ICE vehicle, it’s typically less than a fully electric vehicle. Basic maintenance across ICE vehicles, hybrids, and regular EVs is essentially the same, so the cost of maintaining a hybrid won’t be much different.

If you’re still deciding, renting a vehicle (whether it’s a hybrid or regular EV) can give you a better idea of how it may change your lifestyle.

How to Pick a Hybrid

If you’re renting a hybrid because you’re thinking about purchasing one, try to get one that’s similar to what you’d commit to. Depending on what a company has in their fleet, you may not find exactly what you’re looking for, but you can have some features in mind when you look for your rental.

To pick the right one for you, you need to understand the three types of hybrids: full, mild, and plug-in.

  • A full hybrid (FHEV) can run solely on the combustion engine, the battery, or both.
  • Mild hybrids (MHEVs) run primarily on the combustion engine, using an electric motor as a boost.
  • Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) can run on the battery alone, using the gas tank as a back-up.

All hybrids recharge their batteries with regenerative braking, but you can also plug a PHEV into an external charger. PHEVs are like the half-way point between full hybrids and full electric vehicles.

To narrow down your options, keep these points in mind:

  • FHEVs offer the simplest transition from ICE vehicles and are typically cheaper than PHEVs or full EVs.
  • MHEVs are the cheapest of the three types, but have the least number of options.
  • PHEVs offer the most models to choose from.
  • Because of the bigger battery, PHEVs will go farther than FHEVs on electricity alone.
  • If you don’t have consistent access to a charging port, you may be better off avoiding PHEVs.

If fuel consumption is highly important to you, the Natural Resources Canada’s 2022 Fuel Consumption Guide can give you an idea of the average consumption rate of the vehicles on your rental shortlist.

Toyota Prius Hybrid logo

What You Need to Rent a Hybrid

The requirements for renting a hybrid in Ontario are usually the same as renting a gas-powered vehicle:

  • You must be at least 21 years old (drivers under 25 may face additional fees and have a limited selection of vehicles to choose from).
  • You must have a valid driver’s licence.
  • You must provide proof of existing vehicle insurance.

Check with the company you’re renting from if they have any additional requirements for hybrids.

Returning a Rental

Aside from the car being in the same condition as when you took it, some rental companies expect you to refuel a vehicle before returning it. This can vary between companies and the type of vehicle, so be sure to understand the conditions beforehand to avoid additional fees. To help protect yourself when renting a car, check out this article. Whatever vehicle you drive, follow these fuel-efficient driving tips to get the most out of your ride. For more information about hybrids, check out our blog.