Energy efficient cars have been a hot topic for a while now and it seems 2015 is the year that they’ve become hotter than ever. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), hybrid car sales rose 984% in March this year compared to the same period last year. This was in addition to the more than 6,000 electric cars we bought in the UK, compared to 1,200 in March 2014. Incentives from the government for owning a plug-in vehicle have been extended to 2017 too, so is now the time to invest in a hybrid vehicle?Motors.co.uk takes a look…
What’s stopping you?
So, what’s stopping you from buying a hybrid vehicle? In the past, most drivers were concerned with what was coined ‘range anxiety’, a fear that they would run out of power while out and about with no charging station nearby, leaving them stranded with no way of getting home. With a hybrid vehicle, this need not be a worry as it will always automatically swap to using petrol if the electric power runs out.
Additionally, there are more than 3,000 charging points now available in the UK, so if you’re keen to keep using your electric power and keep your petrol costs down, there’s more opportunity than ever before. Compare this to nearly 8,500 regular fuelling stations, however, and you’re still more up against it than if you simply wanted to top up with more traditional fuels.
The hybrid cars themselves have also become a lot more efficient, and are now able to run for much longer distances than they previously could.
More choice than ever before
Another aspect of hybrid vehicles that has perhaps put people off purchasing them in the past is the lack of choice when it comes to the hybrid market. This too is changing, with 27 alternatively fuelled models now available across a range of manufacturers; they are becoming more attractive too! Gone are the days of the box-like hybrid vehicle that looks like it would blow over in the wind. Now that the likes of McLaren and Ferrari have entered the world of hybrid, this is sure to push up the style stakes even further.
Images sourced from Motors.co.uk
If you can get over your range anxiety and choose a model of hybrid vehicle that’s right for you, there are of course other perks to owning a ‘green’ car. These include:
• Reduced car tax
• Cheaper fuel
• Kinder to the environment
• Exemption from London’s Low Emission Zone charges
• Low maintenance costs – purely electric cars require no engine lubrication which reduces repair costs
• No noise pollution
And the cons…
So, there’s a lot of perks to owning an environmentally-friendly car but, as with most things, there are downsides too, including:
• Even fast chargers will take up to 20 minutes just to give you a 50% charge
• Batteries need replacing between every three and ten years and they can be costly
• The cars themselves can be extremely expensive. Although the government has offered incentives for their purchase in the past, this is now less common
There really are a lot of positives to owning and running a hybrid vehicle but it does also still have its drawbacks. As with any decision that sees you part with your hard-earned cash, purchasing a ‘green car’ needs careful consideration. Whether or not they are the right choice for you really depends on your budget, your priorities, and the type of driving you do on a regular basis. There’s lots more information on government incentives around owning a plug-in vehicle to help you make the decision.