Recent figures from the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders) show that of the new cars registered in the UK in 2018, 6% (141,234) were electric or alternatively fuelled 1 this represents a 21% increase compared to the previous year.
89% of these were hybrid or hybrid plug-in vehicles: cars powered by a petrol engine and a self-charging electric motor. From private motorists to organisations with company cars, more and more people are making the switch to hybrid.
1. Enjoy electric vehicle (EV) benefits without range or recharging worries
Battery electric vehicles offer clean, entirely emissions-free driving. But currently they only have a very limited mileage range. Reach that, and you’ll need somewhere to recharge.
Conversely, hybrid vehicles combine emissions-free EV driving in slow traffic with efficient cruising using a petrol engine. So with some fuel in the tank, just head wherever you want. With a self-charging hybrid, you’ll never need to recharge.
2. Drive further using less fuel
When it comes to practical efficiency, hybrids offer the best of all worlds. When driving at a low speed, or in stop/start urban traffic, power is provided by the electric motor alone. The petrol engine stays off, using no fuel at all. When cruising, even though the petrol engine is in use, it’s more efficient, and simultaneously generates battery power for EV use later.
3. Reduce harmful CO2 (greenhouse gas) emissions
Burning fossil fuels (including petrol and diesel used by cars) produces carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. These threaten to increase global warming, changing global climates and disrupting or destroying vital ecosystems. In response, world-leaders are committing to ambitious global emission reduction programmes. Many countries are also legislating to limit air pollution in cities caused by petrol and diesel powered vehicles.
By reducing the use of the combustion engine, and using clean, pollution-free electric motor power where possible, hybrids minimise the combustion that creates emissions when we drive.
4. Virtually eliminate toxic NOx and soot particulates
Compared to petrol engines, diesel engines emit higher volumes of NOx (nitrogen oxides). These are harmful to human health, and indirectly damage crops and ecosystems. Diesels also emit toxic soot particulates. In contrast, the efficient petrol engines in hybrids produce virtually no particulates and, coupled with assistance from a clean electric motor when under load, almost no NOx.
5. Save on ownership and running costs compared to diesel
In addition to using less fuel, hybrid cars have fewer consumables and mechanical components. For instance, there’s no clutch to wear out, and, due to regenerative braking, brake pad wear and tear is reduced. Hybrid servicing costs are also typically lower.
6. Pay less Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax)
Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates are linked to each model’s CO2 performance. The fewer emissions a car produces, the less VED you pay. Hybrids occupy some of the lowest VED bands compared to equivalent models with a conventional petrol or diesel engine.
7. Reduce company car tax and NI (company cars/fleets)
Companies providing employees with cars for business use are taxed; they must pay a company car tax and National Insurance contribution. The tax rates are linked to the vehicle’s CO 2 emissions. The lower they are, the less tax is due, usually making hybrids significantly less costly to operate than equivalent conventional models.
8. Reduce personal Benefit-in-Kind tax (business drivers with a company car)
Employees enjoying the use of a company car are also taxed. This ‘Benefit-in-Kind’ (BIK) levy is a personal tax paid by the driver. The lower the vehicle’s emissions, the less BIK is due, making hybrids a more tax-efficient company car choice. BIK savings can run into four figures over a three year/60,000 period.