01 March 2018

Are hybrid cars worth it?

By 2040, all new cars on UK roads will be electric, if the government's proposal to ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars happens.

Many people are already making the the leap to batteries, with the number of hybrid vehicles purchased in the UK increasing by 27% in 2017 to  (This link will open in a new window)a record high in sales.

Are they worth it? We've taken a look at the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a hybrid car.

What is a hybrid?

Hybrid cars combine a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor. The combustion engine charges the car's batteries, with the electric motor kicking in when extra power is needed, usually during acceleration. Unlike purely electric vehicles, hybrids produce some emissions as they still rely on burning fuel to power them.

What are the pros of buying a hybrid car?

Improved fuel economy

Hybrids improve fuel economy by around 20%-25%, saving considerably on day-to-day running costs.

Reduction in CO2 emissions

Hybrid vehicles are cleaner to run than conventional cars. Toyota claims their hybrids are up to 80% cleaner than gas engines. Most new hybrid models also offer a zero-emission mode for short distances. During this time the car drives completely in electric mode, which saves on fuel and cuts all CO2 emissions.

City driving

In general, hybrid cars are great for city driving, as they're at their most efficient when regularly stopping and starting. For drivers in and around London, hybrids will also save you on the Congestion Charge. Hybrids with CO2 emissions of less than or equal to 75g/km and that meet Euro 5 emissions standards are eligible for a 100% discount. If you're driving in London daily, this will save you £11.50 per day with a potential annual saving of over £2,000.

Higher resale value

Hybrid versions of popular cars remain in high demand on the used car market. While it's more expensive to buy a high quality used hybrid car, you'll likely recoup a higher percentage of your investment when it's your turn to sell.

What are the cons?

Performance

The majority of hybrid cars are built for economy, not speed. As such, acceleration tends to lag behind comparable gas-only vehicles. To conserve weight, most hybrids don't have performance enhancements and the location of the battery can result in poor weight distribution. They are therefore not ideal for those looking for a slick, high-speed experience.

Price

A hybrid car is almost always going to cost more than a regular gas-only vehicle. Some are as much as 20% more expensive, which means you'll need to drive your hybrid for several thousand miles before you recuperate the cost you save on fuel.

To incentivise you to buy one, the government is offering up to 35% or up to £4,500 off certain hybrids.  (This link will open in a new window)Check if the car you're thinking of buying qualifies. If you're planning on buying a brand new hybrid vehicle, now's the time to prepare — the new car registration plates for 2018 will be released on 1st March.

Maintenance

Hybrid vehicles generally cost more to repair. Not all mechanics have the equipment and knowledge to fix them.

Long-distance driving

Hybrid cars are not well suited for regular long-distance driving. During motorway use, the hybrid systems adds little to the efficiency of the engine and a clean diesel engine would likely be a better option.

Should you buy a hybrid car?

A hybrid car will suit you well if you do most of your driving in and around towns or cities, particularly if you live in London. However, if you do a lot of motorway miles, you'd be better off with a high-speed fuel economy car.

If you're thinking of buying a hybrid car, now's a good time to start saving. Check out our full range of savings accounts.

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