Eco-Car Shopping? Know Your Electric From Your Plugin-Hybrid
If you are thinking about buying a new car, you may be in the market for something that is less harmful to our environment. A car with eco-friendly features perhaps? Maybe a hybrid or even a fully electric powered car. The options are increasing as the motoring industry is focusing more and more on eco-friendly, low emissions innovations.
Just as many car manufacturers are pulling away from diesel altogether, so too are more drivers looking at vehicles with cleaner emissions.
Are we there yet?
Our driving habits can be hard to break and fully electric cars are still reasonably rare on the roads. However with UK government plans to ban traditional combustion-powered vehicles by 2040 from new car showrooms, we are beginning to see a growing choice of “eco cars” for sale.
There are three main types:
- Pure electrics, which run off rechargeable batteries
- Hybrids which are powered by both petrol and batteries that recharge as you drive
- Plug-in hybrids, which you charge at charge points drive on electricity, petrol or a combination of the two
Here we take a look at some of the options and some of the practicalities to consider:
Pure electric cars
According to Auto Express Magazine, the top ten electric cars to buy in 2019 are:
- Jaguar I-Pace
- Kia e-Niro
- Hyundai Kona Electric
- Tesla Model S
- Nissan Leaf
- Volkswagen e-Golf
- Audi e-tron
- BMW i3
- Renault ZOE
- Tesla Model X
Naturally the price range here is wide and not all of these vehicles will be affordable for everyone. In fact some may find the list price of electric cars off-putting. They can look expensive compared to equivalent petrol or diesel vehicles.
However you will have some calculations to do to work out if the electronic car will save you money overall. Remember there is a government plug-in car grant to take into account. Also charging an electric car tends to be very economical in relation to fuel costs. There is also a road tax exemption, company car tax advantages and reportedly, lower maintenance costs due to fewer moving parts.
Even if the calculations come out in favour of an electric car purchase, there can be some practical implications to take into account. Although more charging facilities are becoming available across the UK, making regular long trips in an electric car can be more difficult than a traditional vehicle.
You will likely want to charge your car at home overnight when electricity tariffs are lower.
As a rule of thumb, if your average daily mileage exceeds the range of your electric car, you may need to consider carefully if there are enough convenient charging points to make it practicable.
The hybrid car
Most of us have probably travelled in a hybrid car with Toyota Prius models often the go-to vehicle for Uber drivers.
The car works on a petrol engine and electric motor combination. You don’t have to charge the car – you add petrol as with a traditional vehicle.
However you do not qualify for the plug-in car grant and road tax is not exempt.
It is possible however to save on fuel consumption compared to petrol and diesel cars.
The plug-in hybrid
As more car makers join this field, the price tag for plug-in vehicles is gradually coming down. Many plug-ins come with lower VED road tax rates and benefit-in-kind rates for company car users.
Some people find a plug-in hybrid a good compromise because they are not restricted to only charging the car in order to power it. If you cannot charge the car it reverts to running via its internal combustion engine. Of course, by charging it regularly you can benefit from lower running costs.