Hybrid or Electric – what’s best for me?
The focus on greener, more eco-friendly solutions for drivers continues to grow year-on-year, with sales of new electric cars doubling in August 2020. With the future of automotives pinned on shifting to electric vehicles in years to come, many are wondering whether their next purchase or lease should be a greener car. The UK government is committed to ending sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, as a result, people are turning to alternatives in greater numbers.
With a number of manufacturers and models available in eco-friendly options now, you might be wondering what are the key differences and benefits between hybrid and fully electric vehicles. Throughout this article, we will explore the benefits of each, their ideal use and some key considerations when making your decision.
What’s the difference between hybrid and electric cars?
While electric vehicles have been around since the early 20th century, the type we’re most familiar with these days are based on using lithium-ion batteries and were popularised by the launch of the first Tesla fully-electric vehicle in 2008.
Hybrid vehicles, on the other hand, are a combination of a combustion and an electric motor. They use stored energy from the batteries which are charged through regenerative braking and the combustion engine rather than being plugged into a charging point like pure electric vehicles.
There is also a third alternative, that sits somewhere in between the two. The plug-in hybrid enables charging in the same manner as all-electric vehicles for use around town, but combustion engines for longer journeys.
Electric - Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf continues to be a big name in the electric vehicle market. It boasts excellent safety features, and their e-Pedal for regenerative breaking - bringing you that extra mile. The Leaf also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
- Claimed Electric Range: Up to 168 Miles
- Domestic Socket Charge: 10-12 hours
- 0-62 mph: 7.9 seconds
- Top Speed: 90 mph
- Seats: 5
- Boot Capacity: 435 litres
- NCAP Safety rating: 5*
Hybrid - Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius is renowned for its incredible MPGs and low emissions. It makes for a comfortable and practical daily driver, while saving you money on fuel. It has a purely electric range of 39 miles, meaning you can do short trips without needing to top up on petrol.
- Claimed Electric Range: 39 Miles
- Domestic Socket Charge: 1.5-2 hours
- 0-62 mph: 10.8 seconds
- Top Speed: 111 mph
- Seats: 5
- Boot Capacity: 457 litres
- NCAP Safety rating: 5*
Which is greener - electric or hybrid?
If your carbon footprint is your highest priority when selecting a more environmentally-friendly vehicle, then you can’t get anything better than zero emissions. Pure electric vehicles have no CO2 emissions directly from the vehicle, however, drivers should factor in the energy usage from the grid when charging.
The great news is that with ever-improving reduced carbonisation of energy supplies, the supply chain becomes greener every year, resulting in further reductions in your carbon footprint if you opt for an all-electric vehicle long term.
Alternatively, hybrids operate with reduced emissions, rather than zero emissions. This means they still have earned their green credentials compared to combustion engine alternatives, however, will leave you with a larger carbon footprint than the electric models.
Range - which gives you more?
How you plan on using your car will depend on the range you need. Electric cars typically have a shorter range than hybrids as the batteries cannot operate the same energy production as combustion engines. The Tesla Model S offers up to 379 miles on a single charge, which is at the top end of the range for pure electric vehicles. Hybrids can cover significantly greater distances without the need to worry about charging point access, with plug-in models allowing up to 40 miles on a single charge when using electric-only energy.
If you intend on using your vehicle for short commutes, the school run and staying within city limits, an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle might be perfectly suited for your needs. If you plan on travelling long distances, especially on a regular basis, a hybrid will offer greater flexibility for your journey.
Electric - Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 has made a massive name for itself. It's so popular, it has taken over the Ford Focus to become 3rd in terms of sales in the UK in 2019 - only beaten by the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Fiesta. With it's autopilot and 14" touchscreen display, the Model 3 provides access to the latest and greatest in tech.
- Claimed Electric Range: up to 254 miles
- Domestic Socket Charge: 7.5 hours
- 0-62 mph: 5.6 seconds
- Top Speed: 130 mph
- Seats: 5
- Boot Capacity: 425 litres
- NCAP Safety Rating: 5*
Hybrid - Lexus RX
The Lexus RX has plenty of space, and an option for 5 or 7 seats. It has a sleek and luxurious, but practical interior which includes a 12.3 inch display. The 18" alloys offer a comfortable and quiet ride, and it's electronically adjustable seat and wheel means you can find your preferred driving position hassle-free.
- 0-62 mph: 7.7 seconds
- Top Speed: 124 mph
- Seats: 5/7
- Boot Capacity: 453 litres
- Engine Power - 313 BHP
- MPG (Combined): 48.7
- Insurance Group: 41E
What about costs?
Whether it’s the cost of the investment in an eco-friendly vehicle or the running costs, drivers are eager to understand which is going to be better for the bottom line in the long term. For purchasers, the initial outlay is higher for electric vehicles than petrol and diesel models, while hybrids sit in the middle of the range. However larger investments upfront are off-set by the savings made later on. With no fuel costs and the ability to charge your vehicle on off-peak rates, the costs can be substantially lower.
For hybrids, the initial investments are lower than all-electric models but there is the added cost of fuel to consider. This cost still remains lower though than petrol or diesel vehicles. The great news is for both models there are incentives including reduced VAT to 5% on electricity used at home to charge your vehicle as well as company tax and road tax reductions.
Whether you choose a hybrid or electric vehicle will depend on how you intend to use the car, how much you want to reduce your carbon footprint and your operation cost preferences. There’s no singular leader between hybrid and electric vehicles, as the broad range available on the market now gives drivers a plethora of choice that is most suitable for their needs.
At Rivervale, we offer a wide selection of eco-friendly and green vehicle leasing options. To help reduce your carbon footprint and find the right vehicle for you, explore our range of cars that are better for the environment.