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Hybrid cars, plug in or non plug in?

(10 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Tue 24-Oct-17 13:50:38

Trying to work out which would be best for me.

44 mile commute each way, last few miles through heavy city traffic.
I would not be able to plug the car in at work but obviously would be able to at home if needed.

A purely electric car us no good for me due to the distance involved so I thought maybe a hybrid.

But now another choice. Am I right in thinking that the plug in ones are generally more economical so will save more money? I'm currently spending £200 a month on diesel. Would like to save a large proportion of that. Not sure how much money I'd save with one which isn't plug in and the battery just gets charged by the engine when that's been used.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 24-Oct-17 19:14:44


wonkylegs Tue 24-Oct-17 19:40:11

I've gone for a plug in hybrid which is eligible for the government grant to reduce its cost

Mainly chose it because it was the right car for me size, feel, drive etc so am now waiting for my VWGolf GTE to arrive shortly. I did drive the Toyota hybrids but was less convinced by the drive which is a shame as I have been so happy with owning a Toyota for years.
We are also getting solar Pv as part of our extension which offsets our charging.

GrumpyOldBag Tue 24-Oct-17 19:45:41

Have you thought about getting a BMW i3 with range extender?

The newer model (94aH) would be able to cope with your roundtrip journey in all but extreme weather conditions - and then you have the petrol engine as a backup.

It's better than a hybrid, because most of your journeys can be electric and you don't need to stop to recharge the battery if you are going slightly over the range.

I've been driving more for 2 years and about 95% of my journeys are electric - and so much cheaper than petrol.

fivepies Tue 24-Oct-17 19:47:44

Why do you assume you can't have a fully electric car? The ranges have increased hugely over the last 3 years. I have a fully electric car and commute a similar distance to you every day. I can't charge at work and come home with just over half battery. No range anxiety there!
You mention heavy city traffic - this is ideal for electric cars - they charge when they break so it is very economical in slow moving traffic.
The savings for fully electric are greater (no road tax at all and no fuel costs). The last 6 months have cost me under £100 in electricity.
I know this wasn't what you were asking but don't assume your commute means you can't go fully electric.
Happy to chat more if you want - I could talk about this all day (can't you tell?!)

TalbotAMan Tue 24-Oct-17 19:49:08

You could do it in a (newer) purely electric car. The Renault Zoe has just had a 41kWh battery option introduced and is said to be able to do 120 miles on bad day and 150 on a good. A 100-mile home recharge should be easy to do overnight. There is a new version of the Nissan Leaf coming in January which should have similar range. Teslas can go further, of course, but they cost.

Electric cars are actually good in heavy traffic. They don't idle and they are more efficient in terms of miles/kWh at lower speeds, which usually offsets any battery drain due to lights and heating. Motorways tend to be the battery drainers. I do 40 miles each way in a 2014 24kWh Nissan Leaf, which are about 35 motorway and 5 urban (though too often these days the motorway crawls at 40!) and can just about do the return trip on a charge, though I do have the ability to charge at work so normally play safe -- plus the electricity at work is free, which is always useful (thanks to Transport for Greater Manchester). Mind you, when you are stuck in a sea of German diesels breathing in their fumes while their drivers don't breathe in any from you, you may wonder about your choice.

Non-plug-in ('classic') hybrids normally charge their batteries from regenerative braking (running the electric motor 'backwards' so that it is turned by the wheels and generates electricity that goes into the battery, slowing the wheels in the process) and then use the battery either to assist the conventional engine when accelerating or climbing or, in some, to allow short periods of electric-only running. I think all the classic hybrids on the UK market at the moment are petrol -- Peugeot did have a diesel 3008 hybrid but did a model change and dropped the hybrid version. My impression is that they increase the mpg by around 10 compared to an equivalent pure petrol car.

PHEVs seem to have pure electric ranges of around 20 to 40 miles -- I've seen it described as 'having the first gallon free' so they wouldn't cover you both ways but might allow you a one-way electric trip.

The third category is the Range Extender. A 'true' range extender has a large battery and electric motor, but also has a petrol engine that acts as an electricity generator if the battery runs down. I think the only REx car that is currently on the UK market is the BMW i3 (which has pure electric and REx versions). The Vauxhall Ampera was almost a REx (the petrol engine can sometimes drive the wheels but normally acts as a generator) but was withdrawn from UK sale a couple of years ago because they were selling very few of them. i3s are pretty expensive and it is a very unconventional car.

Essentially, if you want to save money on fuel you need the greatest electric range you can find for your budget, but if you are worried about range then you need to be looking at a REx or PHEV.

GrumpyOldBag Tue 24-Oct-17 19:54:06

i3s are pretty expensive and it is a very unconventional car.

Yes, but absolutely loved by those of us who drive them! The performance is amazing.

And 2nd hand i3s are quite reasonable - as are many other EVs.

Numbsnet Tue 24-Oct-17 20:00:00

Does your work have a car park? Many employers are fitting charging points lately. I think they get a benefit to do so and are also usually keen to promote the green element as part of their image. May be worth asking!

VivaLeBeaver Tue 24-Oct-17 21:54:00

Thanks everyone, didn't realise the range on electric cars was extending. So thought that would be no good. Will look into them a bit more.

Though one other reason I'd written electric cars off was needing the car to tow a caravan occasionally, not sure an electric car could do this. Don't have a car park at work so no chance of a charging point.

Crumbs1 Tue 24-Oct-17 22:18:02

My husband loves his plug in hybrid. It makes parking a doddle as there are usually reserved spaces when others are full. He can often charge for free. We have a charging socket at home and he has put them in his offices. Only problem he’s found is people not hearing the car.

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