Alongside pure electric cars, hybrids and plug-in hybrids are an important part of this shift towards greener vehicles.
OVL Group has seen more customers leasing hybrid cars this year – this article covers everything you need to know about hybrid cars.
What is a hybrid car?
A hybrid car is a vehicle that combines a conventional engine (usually petrol-powered) with an electric motor.
The petrol engine charges the car’s batteries, with the electric motor usually kicking in when extra power is needed, such as during acceleration.
Cars use the most fuel when you’ve got your foot on the floor increasing speed, so using an electric motor to help the combustion engine makes cars more efficient.
On most models, the batteries are recharged by collecting wasted energy from elsewhere. For example, many hybrids use something called regenerative braking, which is where the kinetic energy released during braking is captured and used to charge the batteries.
The engine also shuts down automatically when this occurs, saving fuel and cutting emissions.
What are self charging hybrid cars?
“Self-charging hybrid” is often used as another term for non-plug-in hybrid cars, which use one (or more) electric motors to improve the performance of the car’s combustion engine.
Unlike a PHEV (more on these below), these hybrids cannot be plugged in to charge them up. Instead, energy is generated through the vehicle’s engine or brakes - they charge while you drive.
What is a plug-in hybrid car?
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is quite simply a hybrid car you can 'plug in', meaning the battery can be charged from an electric outlet including your ‘normal’ plug sockets at home.
Plug-in hybrids can travel further using only electric power than conventional hybrids, although not as far as pure electric cars (Battery Electric Vehicle or BEVs).
Most PHEVs have an electric-only range of around 30 miles.
Plug-in hybrids are a great option for those of us who can charge the car at home or work and have a commute of 30 miles or less. Being able to run your car primarily on ‘electric mode’ will save you money (you’ll be using very little petrol) and is of course good for the environment.
Are hybrids popular?
Here at OVL Group we are seeing more and more customers opting to lease hybrid cars. No doubt encouraged by the increasing range available (view our offers on hybrid cars here) and the desire to go green.
Of course the Government’s 2017 announcement that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2040 has spurred further interest in leasing a hybrid.
Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that despite a year-on-year fall of almost 7% in new UK car registrations in 2018, hybrid cars still managed to post a strong growth in sales last year.
Sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles were up 24.9% on 2017 figures (with total sales of 44,437), with petrol-electric hybrid new car registrations up 21.3% year-on-year to 81,156.
There wasn’t such strong demand for diesel-electric hybrid, though, with registrations plummeting to just 167 in 2018, a year-on-year drop of 78.3%.
Hybrid vehicles account for a relatively small overall percentage of new car registrations (5.3% in 2018), although as more manufacturers launch hybrid options, this figure is more than likely to rise.
Are hybrids cheaper to run?
One of the main benefits of a hybrid car is greater fuel economy with hybrids using up to 30% less fuel per mile than conventional fuel-powered vehicles.
If you have regular access to charging facilities and most of your journeys are less than 30 miles, a plug-in hybrid could cut your fuel costs significantly as a great deal of your driving will be via electricity only.
However, be aware that when their batteries run out of electricity on longer journeys PHEVs essentially become heavy petrol cars that will return poor fuel efficiency.
This means if you spend a lot of time on the road, particularly driving at high speeds, a hybrid may not be the right choice for you and it could be cheaper and more energy efficient to choose a clean diesel or petrol engine instead.
Are there any tax benefits?
Hybrid vehicles tend to emit less CO2 and are subject to lower tax bands.
A full round up of tax benefits of ultra low emission vechiles can be found here.
What are the best hybrids on the market?
In recent Euro NCAP safety tests, the petrol-electric Lexus ES was rated the safest hybrid on the market. It got five stars, scoring an impressive 91% for adult protection and 87% for child protection.
The Toyota Prius, is the world’s best-selling alternative-fuelled vehicle (sales topped 6 million in January 2017) and remains one of the smoother drives on the hybrid market. Click here to find out more about leasing a Toyota Prius.
Mini’s first ever plug-in to hit the market, the Mini Cooper SE Countryman is one of the more entertaining PHEV drives out there and with an electric powered driving range of 26 miles, it could help your daily commute being all-electric.
Other popular hybrids with OVL customers include the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. The Toyota RAV4 Hybridestate and the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid.
To find out more about leasing a hybrid car give our knowledgeable team a call on 01491 615500.