September 2021

Last November it was announced that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK will be banned from 2030.

When Michael Gove - the then environment secretary - announced the ban, it was for 2040, and despite extensive lobbying from car manufacturers it was brought forward a full decade just 3 years later.

Which means that the once futuristic vision of hybrid and electric cars dominating our roads is racing rapidly towards us.

After 2030 new petrol and diesel cars, and mild or full hybrids may no longer be sold but can still be sold second hand.

Plug-in hybrids are going to enjoy an additional 5 years of sales before they join the ‘old’ fossil fuel technology on the scrapheap, and from 2035 it is predicted that all new cars sold in the UK will be electric powered.

As you can imagine, this news has driven up the number of electric and hybrid models available, and also the demand for them. Although they’re still more expensive to purchase (though this difference is reducing), the annual running costs are much cheaper especially if you’re covering above average mileage.

If you’re considering switching to EV (electric vehicle) or hybrid, there can be a lot of confusion about which is best.

There are several different types of hybrid powertrains, some of which bring more environmental and economical benefits than others.

So, what’s the difference between electric and hybrid? Which is best for performance and economy? Which is cheapest and are prices likely to come down?

What are the different types of hybrid engine?

The 3 main types of hybrids are mild, full and plug-in.

Mild hybrid engines simply pull some of the energy usually wasted with braking back into the battery through a more robust starter motor. You get a small economy and emissions kick back, but not enough to escape most congestion zone charges.

Full hybrids are the most popular but still usually require the petrol (occasionally diesel) engine and electric motor to work in unison. This will give you fairly decent fuel economy compared to petrol alone, but it also hikes up purchase price and you’re still not going to slip inside the zero-emissions congestion zone criteria.

Plug-in hybrids have a bigger battery that can be charged at home or EV charge points (of which there are more and more being installed in public places and service stations).

This means that the car can run entirely on electric, and even though the range is still limited to only around 30 miles this is often enough to get you work and back through a congestion zone.

Plug-in hybrids can give you great fuel economy and emissions but, require a home charge point and the price is once again higher than the other hybrid models.

How do Electric Vehicles (EVs) work?

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are the future of motoring in the UK, and over the next decade you can expect to see more and more of these on the roads. Many major manufacturers have already declared their intentions to make fully electric versions of all their current range of models which will bring some relief to motorists anxious about no longer being able to drive their life-long favourites.

Some of the early challenges with EVs and the reluctance for wholesale adoption of the technology have been around range, charge time, the network of charge points and of course the initial cost.

The technological advances that have been made over the last 10 years have overcome many of these challenges, and a tipping point is approaching with the number of EV cars on the road and the demand for more charge points.

Range depends on several factors, such as how you drive, the speed you drive at, road surface and even the weather. Cold temperatures have an adverse effect on performance.

EVs do tend to be more expensive, and although prices are coming down many motorists are still being priced out of the market. The savings to be made on running costs however are astonishing - charging at home at off-peak times can cost as little as £3-£4 for 181 miles (current UK average EV range).

You also save on any congestion charges and there is no road tax to pay.

The 2030 deadline has really sharpened the focus for manufacturers, and you can be sure that there will be new makes and models on the road between now and then.

There is a huge range of options available outside the traditional petrol and diesel engines. The car you select must be right for you and your needs, and will usually be a balancing act between initial outlay and running costs.

But there’s no need to make an immediate decision for your next car.

If you’re used to buying a nearly new car every 3 years you could still make 3 or 4 more changes between now and 2030.

Here at Thame Cars we are stocking and selling more and more EVs and hybrids and our sales teams and technicians are up to date with their knowledge about the market and what’s available.

If you’re confused about which is right for you, make an appointment to speak to one of our advisors and we can find out what the best options are for your needs.