What is a Hybrid Vehicle?

A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that still has a traditional internal combustion engine but uses this alongside electric motors to power the vehicle.

Some hybrids have a fully electric range where they only use the electric motor and then switch to the petrol or diesel engine once the battery is depleted while others use hybrid technology to reduce the dependency on the combustion engine.

The government have put in place a ban on the new sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles from 2030. With this in mind we are currently seeing a number of drivers and businesses opting for hybrid vehicles as they are often seen as a step towards a fully electric model as they offer some of the benefits without the same range concerns.

The Types of Hybrid Vehicles

There are three main categories of hybrid vehicles in the UK and these are plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), full hybrids (HEVs) sometimes known as self-charging hybrids, and mild hybrids (MHEVs).

PHEVs

PHEVs are hybrid vehicles which you need to plug in to charge them.

These are the hybrids that offer you the longest fully electric range as the rechargeable battery has a larger capacity than others.

Most PHEVs have a fully electric mode and then switch to the combustion engine once they reach the end of the mileage range, which is usually between 20 and 30 miles.

In order to get the most from your PHEV and the electric range it offers we recommend making sure it is regularly charged.

Charging a PHEV

As a PHEV needs to be plugged in to charge it you will need to consider how you will fit charging the vehicle into your life, or your drivers’, when deciding if a PHEV is the right choice.

There are a number of different connectors and chargers available on the market and when you are looking at PHEV models you should also know what type of charger it uses.

The majority of vehicles will be supplied with a Type 1 or Type 2 connector for slow and fast charging and either a CHAdeMO or CCS for DC rapid charging if they are compatible with rapid charging.

The time it takes for a vehicle to be fully charged will depend on the speed of charger, the receiving speed capacity your vehicle has and the size of the battery.

Some drivers choose to have a home charging unit installed, as charging at home is a very convenient way to charge the vehicle. We are an official partner of Pod Point and can help you with arranging a home charging unit. For more information just give us a call on 01722 322 888.

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It is not always necessary to have a home charging unit installed, especially for a PHEV. The UK has a growing network of public chargers and you can find them in car parks around the country at supermarkets and shopping centres as well as at service stations. Some Local Authorities are also installing residential public chargers in areas where there is not off-road parking available for residents.You can take a look at carwow’s interactive map of charging points in your local area here.

For a more in depth look at chargers take a look at this article we recently wrote to cover everything you need to know on charging.

HEVs

The battery in a HEV is charged whilst the vehicle is used, taking power from the combustion engine and through clever systems like regenerative breaking to recapture energy that is usually lost.

The benefit of a HEV over a PHEV is that you do not have to charge the vehicle, so will not need to factor in charger location or charging time.

Not all HEVs offer a fully electric range and if they do it will be a lot lower than a similar PHEV. Some models simply keep the fully electric range to lower speeds and once you hit a certain speed will switch over to the combustion engine.

MHEVs

A MHEV is another type of hybrid which does not require charging.

Unlike either a PHEV or HEV, MHEVs do not have a fully electric mode, instead they use mild hybrid technology to give the combustion engine a boost when accelerating heavily or starting from a standing start.

The technology used in a MHEV is much easier and cheaper to integrate into a conventional vehicle’s chassis design and so is an option many manufacturers are opting for. The cheaper cost is usually reflected in the cheaper purchase or lease price as well.

A downside to MHEVs is that because they do not have a fully electric mode they don’t qualify for a lot of incentives that have been put in place for hybrid vehicles, like lower BIK rates.

Why Pick a Hybrid

There are a number of reasons that you might decide a hybrid is the right choice for you, or that they are the right option for your business fleet, and these include:

  • They’re a greener alternative to a traditional vehicle without the big lifestyle and driving commitment.
  • Some of the greener benefits include reduced air pollution, lower emissions and when in electric mode reduced noise pollution.
  • If you opt for a HEV or MHEV you don’t need to worry about charging.
  • There is no range anxiety as the combustion engine kicks in once the electric range is depleted, and there will be no need to break up your journey with longer charging stops.
  • There are some tax incentives due to their lower CO2 emissions.
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For a full breakdown of the benefits of hybrid vehicles take a look at this guide

Hybrid VS Fully Electric

Hybrid vehicles are often thought of as a step towards owning a full electric vehicle (EV). This is because they offer you a few of the benefits of going electric without the concerns over range and charging.

When deciding whether you are going to opt for a hybrid or an EV there are a number of factors you should consider which will influence which is the right choice for you and if it’s a hybrid which type.

The first is how many miles you expect to do daily and how many of these you would like to be done as electric miles.  A lot of drivers find with regular charging of a PHEV they can do the majority of their daily miles on the electric motor.

However, a PHEV requires charging like an EV so many people consider this more of a jump as you will have to fit charging times into your life. The charging times of a PHEV are much lower than an EV and so it is less of a lifestyle change for you to adjust to.

The main benefit of a hybrid over an EV is that because of the combustion engine you never need to worry about being stranded because you’ve run out of charge.

As hybrids still have the combustion engine you will still have to fill it up with either petrol or diesel so you will still need to factor in your fuel consumption and the cost of fuel when budgeting.

The cost of an EV is typically more expensive than the same, or similar, model in a hybrid option. This is because the cost of the technology, like the larger battery, is more expensive. The government is currently still offering a £3,000 grant on the cost of an EV and if you are looking to lease this will be passed onto you through reduced monthly rentals.

You can also qualify for a grant to help with the installation of a home charging unit of up to £350 provided you meet the government’s requirements.

An EV qualifies for much lower BIK rates than a hybrid, and within hybrids their fully electric range determines the level you’ll pay.

The maintenance on a hybrid can be more expensive than the maintenance on a traditional diesel or petrol or a fully electric model because it has both a combustion engine and electric motor. If you decide to lease then you might want to consider including a maintenance package to avoid any unexpected bills.

Hybrids for Your Business

If you are looking at electrifying your fleet then it will depend on a number of factors as to whether you want to include hybrid options as part of this process and if you do what type of hybrid.

As part of our fleet management we can help you put in place a plan for making the switch from combustion engines to fully electric options so that it does not feel like a sudden jump to your drivers when traditional options are no longer available.

To discuss fleet management and putting in place a strategy for electric vehicles then please give us a call on 01722 322 888.

If you are looking at PHEVs or EVs for your company vehicles then you might want to consider putting charging points into business car parks. As we are an official partner of Pod Point we can also help with this. Please give us a call on the number above or request a call back via the button at the bottom of the page.

For more information on fully electric vehicles take a look at this guide or give us a call on 01722 322 888 with any questions you have.

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