The primary difference between a hybrid car and an electric car is that the hybrid car derives some of its power from a conventional internal combustion engine. On the other hand, a true electric car gets all of its power from electrical sources, and thereby is a completely non-polluting zero-emission vehicle (ZEV).
Until now, there has not been great motivation for manufacturers to produce hybrid or electric vehicles. However, with increasing fuel costs and the public’s awareness and passion for green issues, demand is set to rise over the next couple of years.
With Government incentives and grants to aid the transition from traditional fuels to hybrid and electric alternatives, the infrastructure of Britain is gradually transforming to accommodate the needs of electrification. For example, public car parks have electric charging spaces and government grants are available to install charging points at home.
How To Choose
When considering buying a hybrid or electric car, think about your lifestyle, driving habits and budget.
A full hybrid or self-charging hybrid car uses a petrol or diesel engine plus an electric motor. You cannot plug it in for extra electrical power, the electric motor is re-charged whilst the vehicle is cruising or braking.
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV, uses more electric running. That is, it uses electric power until the electricity runs out and then the petrol or diesel engine kicks in and takes over. This way it is cheaper than a full hybrid car.
Pure electric uses only electric power and has to be plugged in. It is worth bearing this in mind depending on where you drive, for example motorways versus remote country lanes. When you stop to re-charge you will have to allow at least 30 minutes even on fast charge. However, the benefits to air quality and the environment, low fuel costs and no tax or congestion charges are positive points to consider.
Think about the initial expense of the car, as this varies between fuel types. Consider your lifestyle, budget for ongoing expenses, usual mileage and location of your driving. Consider where you live for home charging – for example if you live in a 3rd floor flat, does the apartment block or street outside have a charging point?
The future electrification of the motor industry is well under way. 2020 will see most manufacturers introducing electric or hybrid versions of their existing models to their ranges, with many introducing completely new designs of electric cars and vans.
With this in mind, we are gradually adapting our website to list electric and hybrid models separately to traditional new car models. Visit our Volkswagen franchise to see this beginning.
If you have any questions about hybrid or electric cars then please feel free to ask at any of our branches. Our Sales teams are kept up-to-date with the very latest innovations in electric driving and will be able to offer you help and advice.