Hybrid and electric vehicles can both run on electricity but their emissions, running costs and maintenance vary. So which is the right choice for you?
A hybrid car is one that uses a combination of electricity stored in batteries but also has a petrol or diesel engine. It means these cars use both a fuel tank and a battery pack to supply their power and maximise their efficiency.
There are generally two types of hybrid cars: standard hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
Standard hybrid cars have self-generating batteries where the petrol or diesel engine is used to recharge the battery. The charging power is generated through braking and driving.
Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) have bigger batteries, which will last longer than standard hybrid batteries. You plug these in at a charging station with a cable, the same way electric cars are charged
An electric car runs purely on electricity. Electric Vehicles (EVs) are charged by plugging the car in to charge points.
These cars can be charged at home, using a normal household three-pin plug or a home fast-charging point, or at various public and roadside charging points. The electric power from charging is stored in the EV’s battery, which is used by the electric motor to move the car.
Electric and hybrid cars are much more economical to run than traditional cars. But there are still some differences in running costs between the two:
With fewer moving parts electric cars tend to need much less maintenance and avoid the usual repair costs associated with regular engines, like oil changes and cam belt replacements.
Hybrid cars still need these parts maintaining due to their dual-engine, but sharing the load with their electric motor can reduce the wear and tear. So, although they’re likely to need more maintenance than EVs, they generally won’t cost as much to maintain and service as regular cars.
There are a number of incentives to encourage people to buy low-emission cars and these include government grant schemes and tax reductions. These discounts differ in which type of cars are eligible:
Both electric cars and PHEVs are eligible for this government scheme. If you have a home with off-street parking that’s suitable for an electric car charger, this grant will give you up to £350 towards the costs of buying and installing a home wallbox charger.
Only all-electric cars are eligible for this scheme that provides a discount on the price of a brand new low-emission car. This grant allows you to get up to £2,500 off the price of a new car providing your EV costs less than £35,000, emits less than 50g/km of CO2 and can travel at least 70 miles with zero emissions.
The cleaner vehicle discount applies to all battery electric vehicles and only plug-in hybrids that have been approved as an ‘ultra-low emission vehicle’ by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles. This discount allows all eligible cars to avoid paying the £15 daily charge if you drive within London’s congestion zone.
In 2020, the UK government announced there will be a ban on selling hybrid cars from 2035 or earlier. This may add a further incentive for people to buy electric cars over hybrids, as their availability and popularity increases.
Electric cars are increasingly popular, they’re clean, quiet and use the latest in car technology, so what are the advantages and disadvantages of buying one?
Hybrid cars are seen as a good compromise for people who want to enjoy the benefits of an electric car but the flexibility of using conventional fuels too, so how do they rack up?