Many car manufacturers now offer “hybrid” or “electric” cars, which should be considered as an option when you’re thinking of buying a new car. As well as being kinder on the environment with lower CO2 emissions, hybrid cars and electric cars can be cheaper to run and can hold their value better than some petrol and diesel cars. Let us take you through the ins and outs of hybrid and electric cars, and why you should consider both when thinking of buying your next car
An electric car is one that runs entirely on electric power. Petrol or diesel are never used to fuel an electric car, instead the electricity that powers an electric car is stored in batteries, before being used by electric motors to drive the car’s wheels. Electric cars are also known as electric vehicles or ‘EV’ for short.
When considering an electric as your next car, it’s worth considering the pros and cons –
Some of the most common electric cars are –
A hybrid car combines electric power with a traditional engine (an ICE – internal combustion engine), and can be either petrol or diesel powered. This blend theoretically gives you the low emissions and smooth power delivery of an electric car, with the long-distance abilities of a traditional petrol or diesel car. Hybrid cars are also known as hybrid electric vehicles or ‘HEV’ for short.
When considering a hybrid as your next car, it’s worth considering the pros and cons –
There are a number of common types of hybrid cars –
Some of the most common hybrid cars are –
We’ve outlined the basics and the pros and cons of both electric and hybrid cars, but which is right for you? Let’s highlight why you should consider them as your next vehicle –
The key difference between a hybrid and electric car is that a hybrid car is in part powered by petrol or diesel, whereas an electric car is entirely powered by electricity.
Not all hybrid cars work in the same way; some cars can run solely using the electric motor at low speeds, whilst others only use the electric motor to provide the main engine with extra help. Plug-in hybrids are cars that have larger batteries and can run for longer on the electric motor alone. But you need to recharge these at electrical outlets after a certain level of use.
The running costs of hybrid and electric cars are generally lower than that of traditional petrol or diesel powered cars, and some also offer additional financial benefits such as lower road tax. However, they are generally more expensive to buy in comparison to some petrol or diesel equivalents.
Expensive electric car batteries are the primary reason why hybrid and electric cars cost more to build than petrol or diesel cars. Offering newer technologies and limited production amounts means that electric and hybrid car prices stay relatively high . The UK Government have announced investment in EV technology development and in next-generation batteries to help improve infrastructure and lower costs in the future.
The cost of charging an electric car depends on the size of car battery and on the charging source – prices will vary if you are using a public rapid charging point versus a cheaper home electricity supply. For example, a Nissan LEAF has a 40kWh battery, so to fully charge the battery from empty would cost £4 using a 10p per kWh home energy supply. Using a public rapid charging point would be more expensive.
The time it takes to fully charge an electric car depends on the size of car battery and on the charging source – times will vary if you are using a public rapid charging point versus a slower home electricity supply. For example, a Nissan LEAF has a 40kWh battery, so to fully charge the battery from empty would take 4 hours using a 10p per kWh home energy supply. Using a public rapid charging point would be faster.
The range of electric and hybrid cars depends on the size of their battery and precise makeup of their power (hybrids being a mixture of electrically and traditionally powered vehicles). Most electric cars have a battery range of between 120 and 150 miles, but each vehicle will be different.