With four main power types to choose from when considering a new car, it’s not always obvious which option is best for you. We’ve teamed up with our resident electric vehicle expert Paul Titchmarsh to help answer some of the questions you might have.
Which fuel type is most suitable for who?
Electric cars are ideal for city-dwellers, as they’re most efficient when driven in an urban environment. That’s not to say they’re inefficient when driven in a different environment, but outside of an urban area more power is required – this impacts range and means you’ll need to recharge sooner. When an electric vehicle is driven at higher speeds it becomes less efficient, as they tend to be heavier than a petrol or diesel due to the weight of the battery.
A hybrid would be ideal for an individual with a mixed usage pattern; the battery can be used for urban driving and the engine can kick into action for longer journeys.
Diesel vehicles are most suitable for people looking for a larger car who do lots of longer journeys and motorway miles (20,000 miles a year or more, for example), thanks to the often superior MPGs over long distances.
Petrol is the in-between alternative, ideal for light- to medium-weight vehicles that won’t frequently be used for longer journeys.
What should I consider when choosing which type of car to buy?
There are six key things to consider when deciding which vehicle is right for you.
It’s important to consider the distances you travel and the journeys that you regularly make. For example, are you mainly commuting to work, or do you have hobbies that involve a lot of longer-distance travel? This can help narrow down your choice.
The cost of each type of vehicle can vary widely. Currently, hybrid and electric pricing starts higher than petrol or diesel because of the battery – the complexity of production and materials used. However, running costs can work out considerably lower for hybrid and electric cars.
Calculate the cost of a journey here to see what you could be saving.
Ability to charge
If you’re considering electric or hedging your bets with a hybrid, it’s important to be ‘in the know’ about charging facilities. With home and workplace charging grants available, not having a driveway doesn’t mean that you can’t make the change (and there’s always the option to charge in public places too). Enter your postcode on Zap Map to explore charging facilities near you.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are generally far quieter than petrol or diesel cars – the typical rev of a petrol or diesel car doesn’t feature in an electric vehicle, making it significantly less noisy.
In a hybrid, the noise level depends on whether you’re being powered by the engine or the battery.
You can feel the pull in an electric vehicle from first acceleration as it has instant peak torque delivery. In fact, it’s so effective that a BMW i3 has the same 0-30mph speed as an M3! It’s the torque that gets you going, but the power that keeps you there.
A petrol or diesel engine can’t achieve instant maximum torque – instead, it builds up as revs increase, and tails off as higher speeds are reached.
Are you a SEAT enthusiast or an Audi lover? Many of us have a manufacturer that we’re loyal to, or a certain model which brings back good memories. It’s understandable to want to make the transition to electric or hybrid with a manufacturer that you know and trust, which leads onto the next point…
Is there as much choice for fully electric and hybrid?
Currently, no – the choice isn’t as broad as it is for petrol and diesel cars. However, thanks to electric vehicle sales rising by 21% in 2018 according to Car Magazine, manufacturers plan to produce more EVs in key segments over the next 18 months. Whilst some brands are just getting started, Audi are already onto their fifth electric vehicle with plans to reach twelve by 2025!
Can I purchase electric or hybrid from a normal dealership?
Yes, at JCT600 dealerships we offer a range of hybrid and electric vehicles, both new and used.
Do electric and hybrid cars need the same servicing and MOTs as petrol or diesel?
Yes, they do. However, petrol and diesel vehicles are made up of many parts, whereas an electric vehicle has only three main parts – the electric motor, on-board charger and inverter. Because of this, they cost less to service and maintain.
Maintenance costs for plug-in hybrids tend to be slightly higher, as they have both a combustion engine and a battery. The engine still requires the same maintenance, but there will be less wear and tear as the car uses both the fuel engine and electric power train.
Are electric vehicles actually better for the environment?
Electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions. In this respect, they’re more environmentally-friendly than a diesel or petrol car. According to the Vehicle Certification Agency, road transport is now the largest source of CO2 emissions in the UK, contributing to poor air quality, particularly in urban areas. You can help reduce air pollution by switching to hybrid or electric.
You can go one step further and continue to reduce your carbon footprint, by charging your electric vehicle from a renewable energy source. This can be done by installing solar panels at home, for example. There’s also the option to opt for a ‘green’ electricity tariff from a supplier that provides energy from renewable sources such as wind farms and hydroelectric power stations.
Got another question or want some more guidance? Feel free to contact us or call into one of our dealerships where one of our friendly team will be happy to help.