This guide will take a look at the benefits of hybrids in general as well as those that each individual type of hybrid offers to help you decide whether they’re the best choice for your next company car.
On UK roads you will find three types of hybrid vehicles:
- Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs)
- Full hybrids (HEVs) which are sometimes known as self-charging hybrids
- Mild hybrids (MHEVs)
PHEVs are, as the name suggests, hybrids that need to be plugged in to recharge the battery that powers their electric motor. Without regular charging you will not benefit from the electric range. Whereas HEVs do not need charging. Instead, they capture energy through other driving processes like regenerative braking as well as being charged by the combustion engine when needed.
PHEVs and HEVs will usually offer you a range of miles using just the electric motor, though the distance they can achieve before switching to the combustion engine varies between models. Some HEVs will only use the electric motor at low speeds and once you reach a certain mph they switch to the combustion engine to optimise the electric range and maintain the vehicle’s power.
MHEVs do not have a purely electric range. Instead, they use hybrid technology to support the combustion engine with providing additional power when accelerating, regenerative braking to recapture energy that would usually be lost and managing the stop-start engine function.
For more information on the types of hybrid vehicles and the differences between them, we’ve got this guide which breaks it down in more detail.
As there are three different types of hybrids they each offer different benefits, which is why this guide has been broken down into four sections: the general benefits of hybrids, the benefits of PHEVs, the benefits of HEVs, and the benefits of MHEVs.
There are some general benefits that hybrids offer no matter the type you opt for so rather than repeating these multiple times we’ve rounded them up below.
Best of Both Worlds
Hybrid vehicle can offer you an electric motor and a traditional combustion engine and so you’ll have a number of unique benefits that comes from having them both. We’ve rounded up all of these benefits below.
Less Need for Charging
One of the biggest concerns drivers have over going into an EV is about charging it. Unless you opt for a PHEV then you won’t need to charge your hybrid at all so this isn’t a concern at all!
Even if you do choose a PHEV then it will not need charging for as long as an EV and you can utilise public chargers frequently enough
No Range Anxiety
One of the main worries we find drivers have when looking at electric models is the range and whether this is suitable for you. As a hybrid combines the electric motor with a combustion engine you will not have this range anxiety as once the electric motor is finished they will switch to using petrol / diesel.
Lower Fuel Bills
If you use a hybrid sensibly, and regularly charge it in the case of PHEVs, then you will manage to do a fair few miles on electric power rather than traditional fuel, this means that the cost of filling up at the pump will be lower for you.
Lower Road Tax
Lower emissions also mean lower road tax. If you are driving a company car this will usually be taken care of by the business, but the road tax band might affect the vehicle choices available to you.
Lower BIK Rates
Depending on the type of hybrid you opt for and that particular vehicle’s specifications then hybrids can offer much lower BIK rates. This is determined by how far the vehicle can drive on just electric power as well as the emissions it produces. If you’d like to find out more about BIK rates then you might find this article useful.
Hybrids will emit less emissions than a vehicle that just has a combustion engine. This reduces your personal carbon footprint as well as the business’, and when driving in electric mode will also reduce noise pollution as well as air pollution.
Regenerative Braking Systems
Nearly every hybrid model will use some form of regenerative braking which captures energy that is usually lost during driving. This will improve fuel economy
There are a number of reasons that a PHEV might be the best type of hybrid for you to drive.
As PHEVs have a rechargeable battery the battery capacity is larger, which means they have the longest electric range of hybrids available. Most offer between 20 and 30 miles before they need to switch over to the combustion engine.
A longer electric range means they will have lower BIK rates than other types of hybrids so you’ll pay less company car tax on them.
It also means that depending on the daily mileage you need from the vehicle and how often you’re able to charge it then you might be able to do the majority of the miles as electric ones. This means that your traditional fuel bill will be much lower.
There are grants available of up to £350 to help with the cost of installing a home charging unit, and as an official partner of Pod Point we can help with arranging this for you. If you’d like to discuss charging then please give us a call on 01722 322 888.
The main difference between HEVs and PHEVs is that you do not need to plug in a HEV to charge the battery. This means you do not need to worry about charging the vehicle at all, which is one of the biggest adjustments that drivers find difficult to make with an EV.
The majority of HEVs will also still have a fully electric range so will qualify for reduced BIK rates and reduced road tax.
Vehicles with mild hybrid technology are the most similar to those with traditional combustion engines and so are less of an adjustment for drivers.
The technology for MHEVs is cheaper and easy to install to traditional vehicle chassis designs which means that the price difference between these and the equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle is much less than with other hybrids. If you are paying for the car yourself then this is useful to bear in mind.
Disadvantages of Hybrid
While there are many benefits of hybrid vehicles there are some drawbacks and we want to be fully transparent with you and make sure you’re also aware of these.
As hybrid vehicles have additional weight from carrying both the combustion engine and electric motor they are heavier and less nimble which can result in poorer handling, especially on windy roads.
In order to combat the heaviness many hybrids are fitted with smaller batteries which means that they are able to provide less power via the electric motor than an EV.
Higher Maintenance Costs
Due to there being an electric motor and its supporting systems along with the combustion engine there are multiple systems that require maintenance and servicing so the cost of this work will be higher.
Is A Hybrid Vehicle Right For You?
Deciding if a hybrid is right for you will depend on your individual circumstances but there are a few general tips we advise you follow as part of your decision making process.
Firstly, ask yourself will you be able to make the transition from a petrol / diesel car to a full EV without too much inconvenience or adjustment to your driving style?
If not then you'll then want to consider how long you will have your next vehicle for as the ban on the sale of new hybrid models come in 2030 so if you want to use a hybrid as a step in your EV transition then you'll need to lease or purchase one before this. Depending on whether you want to move from a HEV or MHEV to a PHEV and then to an EV or just to a hybrid and then to an EV this may also impact your hybrid choice.
Another thing to consider is the benefits of hybrids we've explored above and how these can improve your life.
If you're trying to decide on the right fuel type for you then we would advise checking out our electric guides section here to see if a full EV would be a better option or looking at our guides to more traditional fuel sources in this guide collection.