March 3rd, 2021 at 1:06 pm
No-one can knock the concept of an Electric Vehicle, not only is it good for the environment but there are real savings to be had for the motorist. There is also growing pressure from the government to embrace this new technology and to turn away from the traditional combustion engine powered by petrol or diesel.
But the uptake of EVs is cautious and there are a few reasons for this. Motorists are still to be convinced about the number of recharging points and the ease with which they can charge their car. There are many more charging points in urban areas and cities than in rural areas but ironically, town dwellers are more likely to live in properties which will make it difficult for them to install their own charge point – think the traditional terraced row of houses in London. The capacity of the car for longer journeys is also a worry. And, quite rightly, the resale value of a used EV is something of a topic for debate. With new technology, there isn’t enough of a secondhand market to be able to get a feel for resale values. And, with technology improving so rapidly all the time, could you just be left with an outdated lemon which no-one will want to buy. The costs from new are steep as well. So why not consider a new hybrid?
A hybrid is a gentle introduction to new electric technology without the risks and unknown elements of going fully electric. Some call hybrid vehicles the best of both worlds. Short journeys can all be conducted under battery power but if you are travelling long distance or you haven’t had the opportunity to charge the battery, then the good old petrol engine is there to fall back on.
What is a hybrid car?
Hybrid technology has been available in the UK since 2000 but many people still don’t really understand what hybrids are. Hybrids combine an electric motor with a traditional combustion engine usually fuelled by petrol. The electric motor supplements the output of the engine to give good acceleration and something called regenerative braking helps to keep the batteries charged. Regenerative braking uses the motor as a generator to convert the kinetic energy available during deceleration and captures and stores this within the car’s battery. The electric range of a hybrid is not vast so it really lends itself to the urban setting and numerous short journeys. Hybrids are not plugged in and recharged externally which is why the range is limited.
What is a plug-in hybrid?
Plug-in hybrids are the version that you can charge up and so have a greater range and capacity on the electric motor than a conventional hybrid. There are also hybrids called range extenders which use the car’s combustion engine to charge the batteries so giving greater range than a standard non-charging hybrid.
Which sort of driver suits hybrid technology?
Town driving is best suited to hybrid cars as numerous short journeys work well with electric technology and from a green perspective, these are the locations where pollution is at its highest level.
How do hybrids actually work?
You don’t have to worry about switching your power source from electric to traditional fuel, if the car realises the batteries are low, it will do this for you automatically.
What is the road tax position on hybrid vehicles?
The technology has been around now for nearly two decades and the government’s continued push is towards fully Electric Vehicles so the tax advantages are not as great as they once were on hybrids.
The tax bands changed in April 2017 and only zero-emission EVs were tax-free after this date. Some hybrid cars are still exempt from the congestion charge in London but their output needs to be pretty low – less than 75g/km. This is all part of the push towards fully electric vehicles. The congestion charge is not to be ignored for inner-city dwellers, it varies from £11,50 to £12.50 per day, a very good reason to go fully electric as these costs would quickly mount up.
Hybrid cars are more expensive
Yes, they are but not as expensive as fully electric vehicles. The government is still offering an incentive to encourage people to buy with 35% off up to a maximum figure of £3,500 available as a discount off certain hybrid vehicles.
Hybrids are a lifestyle choice
For certain people, hybrids are definitely an excellent choice as a new vehicle. The city or town setting with numerous short journeys – school, work, shopping – are ideal for these vehicles. Lower tax and minimal congestion charge costs plus no fuel costs if you stay on electric power should be sufficient incentive to tempt even the wariest of motorists.
But if your driving profile does not fit that bill then you may find that despite your interest and intention to go green, a hybrid vehicle is just not going to work with your lifestyle. With an expensive price tag even with the government incentive plus uncertain residual values, you really do have to be sure that hybrid technology will work for you.
Leasing arrangements – PCP or PCH
If you are uncertain about a hybrid in terms of cost and relative secondhand value but embrace the technology and think it will work for you, why not consider leasing a hybrid on one of the many schemes available at dealerships.
Personal Contract Purchase or Personal Contract Hire will give you a new vehicle which you can return at the end of the agreement period should you wish to do so. This avoids the higher purchase price and also means you are not stuck with a vehicle if you fancy something else. Technology can move on quickly in just a couple of years but you won’t be tied into keeping something that has been superseded.
Leasing is a really popular way to obtain a new vehicle of any type but works particularly well with emerging and changing technologies such as hybrids and EVs.