Electric and hybrid vehicles have seen a huge boom in business over the past few years, with each of the 10 best-selling manufacturers in the UK offering an electric vehicle in their range. From 2013 to October 2015 the number of newly registered plug-in cars has increased from 3,500 to over 43,000 and it looks set to keep rising.
If you’re thinking about switching to a greener vehicle then the biggest decision that you need to make is whether to opt for one of the increasingly popular hybrid cars, or electric cars. Vans of all sizes and styles are also available as both electric and hybrid models but, depending on your requirements and circumstances, one type may be better than the other.
Referred to as PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) and EREVs (extended range electric vehicle), hybrid cars use an electric motor to travel certain distances or below particular speeds but rely on a regular petrol or diesel engine for the rest. They offer a much better green driving experience but still have a few drawbacks.
Search for used hybrid vehicles on AA Cars: www.theaacars.com/used-cars/displaycars.php?fueltype=Hybrid
The main advantage all hybrid cars have over their electric counterparts is their range. Thanks to using a petrol or diesel engine as well, you can comfortably take one on a long trip without worrying about finding a recharging point. This makes them an excellent choice for those who regularly drive outside of an urban environment.
Charging the electrical aspect is also fairly rapid, with most reaching 80% in just half an hour. Hybrid cars are more powerful too, due to their fuel engine back-up.
One drawback of hybrid cars is that there isn’t as much variety available – yet. Most drivers with a green inclination prefer to go straight for an all-electric vehicle, wanting to reduce their CO2 emissions as much as possible. Due to using fuel they also cost a bit more to run than electric cars, although still a significant chunk less than regular vehicles.
The Toyota Prius PHEV has become synonymous with green driving and is one of the most affordable and practical models available. Ford’s Mondeo Titanium hybrid is another of the cheaper versions out there and delivers an impressive range. For a more luxury vehicle, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron may cost a bit more but still has a great range and is one of the most powerful, achieving 0-62 mph in 7.6 seconds.
Called BEVs (battery electric vehicles), electric cars run solely on an electrical charge, using no other fuel. This means they are automatically exempt from vehicle tax due to having zero CO2 emissions. Their popularity is increasing, as is the range available, and they can make a great commuter vehicle for those living in cities.
Search for used electric vehicles on AA Cars: www.theaacars.com/used-cars/displaycars.php?fueltype=Electric
Fully electric cars have a more positive impact on the environment as they rely on purely electricity to run, reducing the driver’s carbon footprint. This also makes them a lot cheaper to run, compared with hybrid cars, as they don’t use any fuel at all. They provide a greater electric-only range than hybrids, making them a good option for those who spend a lot of time driving around cities.
There’s also a lot more choice when picking out an electric car. Whether you’re after a van for work purposes, a brand new vehicle or a second-hand electric motor, there are plenty of options available.
An electric vehicle’s range is its main disadvantage. Many only manage around 70 miles, although some of the top models can achieve over 100 miles on one charge. There’s no back-up engine if the power runs out and it’s also a lot slower to refuel than regular cars. These factors make it ideal for those who only drive short journeys – at the moment.
Like the Prius, the Nissan Leaf has become renowned and is one of the most affordable electric cars that also delivers an impressive range for a cheaper model. It can do 0-60 mph in 7 seconds. The VW e-Golf has the stylish looks of its regular version and provides a good range. At the high end, very few electric cars beat the Tesla Model S, which looks incredibly classy, achieves the largest range of all BEVs and is leading electric cars into the future.