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Hybrid vs. electric cars: which is right for you?

Sorry, petrol heads. Fuel guzzling cars are moving aside for electric-powered cars.


In 2020, the sales of pure electric cars increased by 185.9% and registrations of plug in hybrids rose by 91.2%.


As we move closer to the 2030 ban on the sale of brand new petrol and diesel cars, this number will increase even more as EV charging infrastructure improves.


With just 8 years to go before the ban comes into action, we are going to help you choose between a hybrid or electric vehicle.




What are hybrid cars?


If you opt for a hybrid vehicle, you’ll have two options: self-charging or plug-in.


A self-charging hybrid has a small battery, electric motor and a petrol or diesel engine. The driver’s car can therefore be powered by the engine or electric motor alone, or from a combination of the two. The motor is meant to improve your fuel economy and to give you a few miles of electric-only range. The battery can either be charged through regenerative braking or through the internal combustion engine. Energy that would have been used up when braking/accelerating is diverted to the battery which powers the electric motor.


A plug-in hybrid also has a petrol or diesel engine, but with a larger battery that can be recharged through an EV charging point. It is often viewed as a step towards a full EV.



What are electric cars?


An EV is powered solely by its battery and therefore needs to be plugged in when the range runs low.


They essentially have a much larger version of the battery that powers your mobile phone. This is connected to an electric motor that gets your wheels moving, your lights shining and your radio pumping.



Popular hybrid vs. EV cars


The Toyota Prius is perhaps the most famous hybrid in the world. Favoured by taxi drivers, the Prius has become synonymous with green cars since its introduction in 1997.


Currently, the Tesla Model 3 is the most popular fully electric car. In fact, in 2021 it was the second best-selling car, with the ever-popular Vauxhall Corsa taking the top spot.



Pros of owning a hybrid car


Hybrid cars are typically cheaper than electric cars. Car Magazine named the Toyota Yaris Hybrid as the cheapest available hybrid, featuring “Toyota’s well-proven 1.5-litre hybrid powertrain”. You can get a new Yaris from £18,745.


If you are looking for a cheaper company car that is exempt from congestion chargers, a hybrid may be for you. You can also save money on environmentally harmful fossil fuels due to the twin-powered engine that lowers fuel consumption.


In a self-charging hybrid, your battery will recharge slightly whenever you brake which reduces the need to stop and recharge the vehicle as often. Also, the light materials used to make hybrid cars (including a lighter engine) means less energy and fuel are needed to power your car.



Cons of owning a hybrid car


The upfront cost of a hybrid is higher than most petrol and diesel cars. This limits their appeal in the lead up to 2035 as hybrid cars will eventually be banned (this may even be brought forward to match the petrol/diesel ban in 2030) and the government may even decide to remove their exemption from congestion chargers and clean air zones soon.


Hybrids can be useful for climbing hills or in areas of congestion, but they are often less efficient than diesel vehicles for motorway driving. Also, the limited electrical range of hybrids means that you will need to be vigilant with your charging or face a huge drop in fuel economy when the engine functions without support of the battery and motor.



Pros of owning an electric car


Charging an electric car is far cheaper than filling up a petrol or diesel car, plus you can even do it from the comfort of your own home or workplace!


You are exempt from congestion charges (yes, this include London’s ULEZ), clean air zones, fuel tax and you can get up to 50% off on toll roads just by driving an EV. You can even get free parking in some place.


EVs produce no emissions when driving and the are very quiet, reducing both air and noise pollution. Continuous research and development has led most EVs to out-perform petrol cars and they are much cheaper to maintain. You needn’t worry about oil changes or replacing parts of your engine and almost all breakdown coverers in the UK are trained to deal with EVs safely.


Ford states, “By 2025, our vehicle sales will be 100% all-electric and our aim is for our entire operation to be carbon neutral across Europe.” This means that opting for an all-electric vehicle is a future-proof decision as all car manufacturers selling in the UK – and shortly after, the rest of the world – will be electric.



Cons of owning an electric car


EVs are becoming more affordable year after year, but they are still typically more expensive than their equivalent petrol or diesel car. Fortunately, there are still government grants on some models and the cost of batteries in EVs is decreasing.

Some EVs may not be the right fit for drivers that cover longer distances, so it is important to do your research beforehand. Tesla, for example, offer their models in standard or long range versions.

You also need to consider the cost of having an EV charger installed at your home. It isn’t safe or efficient to charge from a regular domestic plug socket, so you will need to contact Charge & Recharge to get your own charger installed by our friendly team.


Electric cars are the future. The government will be banning the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars before 2035 so choosing to go electric now is the future-proof decision.


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