With the ever increasing coverage of electric cars you might be thinking well what’s happened to hybrid cars? I found myself wondering if manufacturers are still focused on hybrid cars or if everyone was now looking towards electric only cars.
Is it really worth buying a hybrid car? Hybrid cars are certainly worth considering, especially If you regularly drive short distances. In which case you will likely save a huge amount of money on fuel compared to a petrol or diesel. Add to that the piece of mind that with a hybrid car you dont have to worry about running out of battery when you do need to drive longer distances.
So that’s the short answer. However all vehicles can cost a lot of money to run. You are not only having to pay for a car outright, you’re having to pay for its fuel. Whether you use petrol or diesel, the knock-on effect for your budget can be tremendous. That’s why some people are switching to electric and hybrid cars instead.
These vehicles are not only seen as cost-effective alternatives. They are also marketed as more environmentally-friendly, and therefore may be a better choice for motorists who are keen to cut down on their carbon emissions.
But is it worth buying a hybrid car? Will driving this type of vehicle save you enough money in the long run to warrant purchase? In this quick guide, I’ll take a look at everything you need to know, and will see whether or not it’s worth you stumping up the cash upfront.
What is a Hybrid Car, and How Do They Work?
Hybrid cars are vehicles which mainly run on electric power. They were seen as something of a novelty years ago, however, with the world growing more environmentally-conscious, plenty of motorists are making the switch from pure fuel to a mix.
It’s this ‘mix’ that defines a hybrid car. Instead of being completely electric, a hybrid is a vehicle which has a reserve of petrol or diesel which it can fall back on in case the electric charge runs out, or shorts while in motion.
The difference between everyday fuel cars and hybrids lies in the motor, not the engine. Hybrid cars run on electric motors, but are still fitted with a combustion engine. As mentioned, this may be used when electric power runs down, or may even be used to charge the batteries.
Hybrids are seen as midway points between fuel-based and electric cars. This means that, while relatively low, hybrids still produce emissions. The British government is seeking to push through a ban on petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2040, which means hybrids could provide drivers with a gentle step towards going fully electric over the next 20 years.
Many hybrid cars are cleverly designed to use energy otherwise wasted in the vehicle to help charge its batteries. Essentially, it is a self-sufficient type of vehicle which many people purchase to help ease their consciences and their budgets.
There are different types of hybrid available – such as plug-ins, for example – which can be powered up and charged in different ways. These ways may dictate how much you pay for a vehicle outright.
How Much Does it Cost to Run a Hybrid Car?
Naturally, without any specific data to hand, it’s hard to say exactly how much you’ll be spending from trip to trip. Costs can differ depending on how you intend to use your car. However, there are a few obvious factors which can impact on how little you stand to pay while behind the wheel.
Before we get into how much you could be saving mile to mile, let’s look at the outright pricing for hybrid vehicles. This, unfortunately, is where a lot of people may start to tune out. According to statistics, you could be expected to pay up to 20% more on a hybrid than you would on a traditional fuel-burner. This is largely thanks to the convenience, and to the technology involved. As such, hybrids have gotten a reputation over the years for being a bit pricey upfront, though certainly worth it if you want to drive down your emissions.
Beyond this, there are running costs. Once you’re behind the wheel, you could benefit from an impressive fuel economy. This means you could see yourself using much less fuel than you would with a normal vehicle per mile. We’ll take a closer look at this below.
It is also difficult to say how much insurance carriers will charge for hybrid coverage. This is going to vary from firm to firm, and you will do best to speak to a representative as soon as possible to get the full lowdown.
It’s worth mentioning that the UK government continue to push money off these vehicles should you choose to invest in them. You may be able to save up to 35% off a specific model of hybrid as an incentive. However, this can and will vary. It’s worth checking with GOV UK if the car you’d like to buy is covered by the scheme.
Are Hybrid Cars More Economical?
One of the main reasons people leap from traditional fuel to hybrid cars is the fuel economy. A hybrid car will run on electricity alone for up to a period, before switching back to traditional fuel once the charge is depleted. This means that, ultimately, you may be able to save up to 30% on fuel per mile.
This depends, however, on how and where you drive. Hybrids are perfect for short trips and city driving if you’re conscious of saving money. Otherwise, you may end up paying more if you drive long distances. What’s more, powering your car to go further and faster may actually end up costing you a lot more than intended.
Therefore, think carefully about the way you drive, and what you use your car for. If you only ever make short trips, you may be able to save a lot of money by switching over. If not, you could be lumbered with a vehicle that becomes a gas-guzzler once your electric reserves run out.
Pros and Cons of Owning a Hybrid Car
As always, there are going to be positives and negatives to owning hybrid vehicles. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and it may not be the best fit for all drivers. However, there are still some major positives to be considered. Let’s break this down a bit further.
- The fuel economy is fantastic, providing you drive short distances and within the limit (as you already should be doing!).
- Hybrid cars are healthier to run, on the whole. While there are still emissions, you can expect this type of vehicle to be up to 80% more eco-friendly, according to Toyota.
- Hybrid cars are amazingly popular. This means you will likely get a good conversion on your investment if you choose to sell on. Depreciation will still be a factor, but you’ll get a good chunk of your money back.
- They are nice to drive! They’ll also help to introduce you to the world of electric cars without throwing you in at the deep end.
- A hybrid car is going to cost you a pretty penny upfront. They are more expensive, on the whole, compared to outright costs for traditional fuel-based vehicles. However, some believe a hybrid pays for itself in a short period of time.
- There are speedier cars on the market. Hybrids are nice to drive, but they’re not exactly built for performance. This is a car which you drive to save on money and emissions – not to cut up the tarmac with. As such, anyone looking for a beefier drive may be a bit disappointed.
- Anyone who drives long distances regularly will find running a hybrid car to be a financial nightmare. These are cars which are perfect for short stops and starts, not for cross-country road trips.
- Not only are hybrid cars expensive to buy outright, they are costly to fix. This is because they are nowhere near as mainstream as traditional vehicles. Your insurance premiums may be higher, too.
What is the Cheapest Hybrid Car in the UK?
It’s hard to say which hybrid car is the cheapest to run. However, you may find one or two models to be cheaper than the pack when it comes to upfront fees. Independent research shows that plug-in hybrids will retail for just less than £30,000 at cheapest. Keep an eye out for the Toyota Prius, the Hyundai IONIQ and the Kia Nero if you want to save the pennies on buying a hybrid new.
You can, of course, find some great deals on hybrids second-hand. However, do be prepared to part with at least £20,000 for these cars outright, even when used. It’s seen as a great investment by some, but it may not always be the most cost-effective solution.
Hybrid cars are alluring for plenty of good reasons. For one thing, if you regularly drive short distances, you will likely save a huge amount of money on fuel when you get behind the wheel. However, if you’re going to be pushing your car for miles on end, you’re going to end up paying more.
What’s more, a hybrid car is an economy vehicle. If you are looking for a cheap car which you can push to its limits or for extremely long drives, it’s worth looking at affordable diesel options instead.
Take time to think about your own driving habits and routine. Could a hybrid car really benefit you? If you have the available money upfront, it might be a wise purchase.