If you’re thinking about your next vehicle, you are probably wondering whether you should buy a hybrid car or a fully electric one.
We’ve identified some of the key differences between electric cars versus hybrid cars to help you reach a decision.
What Are The Differences Between Hybrid and Electric Cars?
The main difference between hybrid and electric cars is how they are powered. An electric car runs exclusively on electric energy, which is stored in a battery.
A hybrid uses a combination of an electric motor and conventional fuel to help efficiency.
Plug-in hybrids take that even further, with a conventional fuel engine and a powerful electric motor which is recharged from a plug-in charging point and capable of up to 50 miles of range with pure electric power.
Are Hybrid or Electric Cars Better for the Environment?
A hybrid car can travel a short distance on pure electric power before using its internal combustion engine, so it has less environmental impact than a conventional car.
Driving a plug-in hybrid is even more sustainable, depending on how you use and charge it.
For example, the car’s engine won’t be used if your journey is within the maximum battery life – meaning no use of fossil fuels and, therefore, no emissions.
However, hybrids still have more moving parts than electric cars, increasing the carbon footprint for both manufacturing and ownership.
Electric vehicles are much better for the environment than hybrids overall. They produce no emissions, and the manufacturing and maintenance of electric cars create a much smaller carbon footprint than hybrid cars.
You will not use conventional fossil fuel resources when you charge your electric vehicle using renewable energy sources at home, such as a fully sustainable mains electricity supplier or your own wind or solar power generator.
So, Should You Buy an Electric Car or a Hybrid?
There are pros and cons to electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid options.
When driving, a hybrid car feels very much like a conventional car, so you still have that familiar driving experience. The sensation of driving an electric car is very different and can take a little getting used to.
A hybrid vehicle is also more efficient and, therefore, cheaper to run than a petrol vehicle, and they are more economical than a diesel car in typical town driving.
Hybrids also have tax benefits as vehicles with lower emissions are liable for less VED (Vehicle Excise Duty) in the first year after registration. They also qualify for an annual saving of £10 for subsequent years, compared to a petrol or diesel car (see the Government website for more information).
Petrol or diesel cars typically have a lower purchase price than hybrid cars. Diesel cars are also more efficient than hybrids on a motorway, so a company car driver might see tax savings wiped out by fuel bills. Their battery range is limited, meaning fuel costs and emissions are still factors.
With their larger battery capacity, plug-in hybrid cars travel much further than a hybrid on electric power, and the internal combustion engine is there as a backup.
On an average car journey, you would probably only use the battery power, meaning less fuel consumption. This, in turn, would carry an even greater VED benefit.
However, the upfront cost of a plug-in hybrid can be nearly as high as that of an electric car.
The sale of new hybrid cars is currently planned to come to an end in 2035, as this date will mark the end of the sale of all new fuel-powered vehicles. However, you will still be able to drive your existing hybrid car after this date, and the buying and selling of used fuel vehicles will still be legal.
Electric cars are still expensive now, but the UK government offers incentives to drivers, including money towards the purchase of the car and funding towards the installation of a home charging point.
Electric cars qualify for free VED, low company car tax, and are exempt from the London Congestion Charge.
An electric car will be cheaper to run than a petrol or diesel car and has the best environmental credentials, mainly if you charge it at home using renewable energy.
Special energy tariffs are available for electric and plug-in hybrid cars when you charge them at home. Most energy providers are offering these tariffs – check out Money Saving Expert’s informative blog post on Electric Vehicle Energy Tariffs in the UK for the low-down on these.
Through ownership of an electric car, you’d also pay less for maintenance as there are fewer moving parts subject to wear and tear.
Here’s Our Summary of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
Electric cars are the future. However, if you’d like to test the water, you might find a hybrid or plug-in a great option in the shorter term.
The final decision depends upon whether you are mainly concerned with emissions, fuel costs, upfront costs or changes to your driving habits – remembering to plug in, for example.
Your decision between hybrid and electric might also vary depending on how you use a vehicle. A commuter making regular long journeys might find an electric car more economical. In contrast, a town driver might find the hybrid more cost-effective as they can run the vehicle with the electric motor and regenerative energy, hardly using the fuel motor at all – if ever!
Just Right Autos are here to help you maintain hybrid and electric vehicles.
Whether hybrid or electric, car or van, Just Right Autos can help you keep it in tip-top condition at our modern, family-run Trust My Garage-accredited workshop in Witney, Oxfordshire.
Get in touch with us for a friendly chat on any car-related matter.