Should I Buy An Electric or Hybrid Car?

By Vanessa B

So, it’s time to upgrade your car and you want to save the environment, money, or both. You’ve decided on an electric or hybrid, but you’re not certain on which. Well, we’re here to help. Here are the top reasons that might sway your decision.

Which is Better For The Planet?

You can’t get lower emissions than having nothing actually released from your exhaust. This is what you get from a pure electric vehicle. Of course, there electric isn’t totally zero on the carbon footprint of course. The carbon intensity of the electricity you’re drawing from the grid influences how green you’re being overall. However, continuous decarbonization of our electricity supply means driving an electric car will become cleaner and cleaner as time goes on than it already is.

Plug-in hybrid emissions are still low, but the overall efficiency is very much dependent on how often it is charged. You really need to ensure you have charging at home and ideally at work if it is a company vehicle to make sure your car is always topped up and ready to go. Running them on fuel is not always efficient or cost effective. Often, the carbon emissions are heavier than a similar petrol or diesel model. This means they are likely to contribute to higher levels of emissions if used on fuel all the time. You also lose the cost benefits of owning a hybrid car in the first place.

Vehicle manufacturers are rushing to address these issues. Next generation plug-in hybrids are coming with bigger battery pack, meaning further available distance. Some models will have 40 miles of electric range, a large upgrade on what is available currently.

Comparing costs

The up-front costs associated with buying a pure electric car or van can be steeper, however.

So, do the government provide any incentives to counter this?

Yes, they do. The government will pay £2,500 towards the cost of any car with CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km that can travel at least 70 miles without creating any emissions. Unfortunately, that almost completely limits it to purely electric cars for now, so plug-in hybrids are generally ineligible for this.

You can also get up to £500 or up to 75% towards the cost of installing an electric car charging point at your home, but this only applies to more modern ‘smart chargers’. For a detailed look at exactly how this might benefit you, see the .Gov website.

Often, this can be the decisive moment for someone looking to buy an electric car. The expensive up front cost often massively outweighs a similar petrol model. Cost-effective ways of purchasing a car are constantly changing and as electric cars become more commercially available, options such as car finance available today.

Range is Everything

A big part of the competition where Electric vehicles win comfortably is in the low running costs and emissions. Electric cars win comfortably against hybrids on both counts. Pure electric vehicles can have a range of up to 325 miles, with an average of 194 miles on a single charge. It’s worth bearing in mind that the average car journey is around 21 miles, so the majority of us won’t need an electric vehicle that can go 300+ miles without refreshing a charge. But if you make business trips or spend a lot of time travelling to the point where range is a valid concern, then it may be that a plug-in hybrid is the best option for you.

Hybrids are the recommended purchase in this situation due to their big batteries which can be charged from a plug, which means that it’s possible to use them in the same way as a pure electric vehicle until the charge ends, at which point the petrol aspect kicks in. Often, smaller journeys however, commuting or a school run for example wont use any petrol at all. The option of that petrol engine, though, means that it can cope with long journeys without worries about whether there’s charging station somewhere on your journey.

Keeping batteries topped up

When it comes to charging, pure electric cars and vans are best. Their batteries can usually take higher rates of charge and many are capable of being rapid charged, meaning you can get on with your journey without having a major logistical plan around your charging schedule.

Charging times for plug-in hybrids are usually slower; between two and four hours depending on the power rating of the charger and the size of the battery pack.

Verdict

So, in short, electric is our preferred option if you’re not making huge journeys in one day. For everyday commutes and journeys to work or the shops and back, electric is the most cost effective, environmentally friendly and futureproof option for someone looking to purchase a new vehicle.

©FM