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Hybrid vs. Electric Cars - What's The Difference? 

The green revolution is here, and car manufacturers are kicking their eco-friendly innovations into high gear. If you’re thinking of jumping on the bandwagon and purchasing one of these vehicles in order to lower your carbon footprint but aren’t sure what the whole hybrid vs electric thing is all about, don’t worry, we’re here to help.​

When it comes to choosing a hybrid or electric car, which is better? 

Both have their pros and cons, so choosing between them is really about what your needs are as a driver. We take a closer look at both types, so you can make a more informed decision. ​

What is a hybrid vehicle?

A hybrid vehicle has an electric motor and battery, but also has a diesel or petrol fuel engine. It is essentially a ‘hybrid’ between an electric car and a conventional car. The most common type of hybrid is known as the parallel hybrid, which means the wheels can be powered three different ways, either solely with the electric motor, solely with the fuel engine, or both working together in conjunction. There are also range extender vehicles, which use an engine to power the electric battery, and plug-in hybrids, which move closer to the electric models of cars as you have to recharge the car’s battery from an outlet.

The biggest advantage of a hybrid car is that it is very economical when it comes to fuel consumption, and whilst they are not as eco-friendly as fully electric cars, they do emit much lower emissions than your regular fuel-run models.

Pros: Hybrid cars are brilliant for city drivers that do a lot of driving around town. They are super affordable when it comes to the stopping and starting type of driving typical of cities. Generally, you’ll spend far more time using the battery than the fuel, which will save you money.

Cons: These cars are great in the city, but require charging to travel to long distances. The batteries lose their charges at high speeds and will switch to fuel. Why is this a problem? Well the batteries are pretty heavy, so the car requires more fuel to get it going. If you have to do a lot of out-of-town driving, you’ll need to factor this in.

What is an electric vehicle?

Unlike a hybrid vehicle, electric vehicles are solely operated with electricity and do not use petrol to fuel the engine and instead are operated via a battery that needs to be recharged. Previously, this was a sticking point for many drivers, because to charge the vehicle you needed to plug the car into a socket at home. This was due to a general lack of handy charging stations available around the country’s roads.

However, this seems to be a problem of the past. As of 2020, over 150,000 electric vehicles were registered, and the number of charging stations across the country has grown to well over 10,000. With the electric vehicle primed to become a long-term staple on our roads, the number of charging stations has increased exponentially and so has the focus on developing the tech in this field. It may just be time to make the leap…

Pros: Thanks to the zero emissions that these vehicles produce, drivers are completely exempt from road tax if the cost of the car comes below £40,000. If you travel to London a lot, you’re also exempt from the London Congestion Charge.

Cons: The biggest con remains the range the cars can operate on before needing to be charged. Some models like the Kia e-Niro, the Jaguar I-Pace, and the Hyundai Kona can all comfortably reach 250 miles before needing to be charged, but if you drive a lot of long distances, this might not be the right choice for you