Hybrid or PHEV(3 Posts)
I’m struggling to understand the difference between hybrid cars and PHEV. Can anyone tell me which is better - mostly drive under 30 miles at a time but monthly motorway trips of 210 miles. I’ve always had diesel - if you’ve changed to a hybrid what were the main differences in performance etc? Also wondering how the public charging points work - is there a cost?
An old-fashioned or “mild” hybrid has an electric motor to assist the petrol or Diesel engine. The electric motor takes its electricity from a big battery separate from your normal car battery. That big battery gets charged from the energy the car loses as it brakes, which would otherwise be wasted as heat. The result is that the extra “push” from the electric motor saves you fuel. Depending on the make and model, you can go from a car which will do 35 to 45 mpg as a plain diesel to the same model with a hybrid doing 55 to 75 mpg. You pay a bit extra for the hybrid battery and kit, but you save a lot of money on fuel. The motoring experience is very much the same.
A PHEV is a plug-in hybrid. The battery is even bigger and you can charge it from the mains. That’s an awful lot cheaper per mile than using petrol or diesel so you save even more money. A fully-electric mile will cost you less than 3p compared to 12p to 25p for fuel costs in a petrol or diesel car. Again, the motoring experience is pretty much the same.
An additional twist with PHEVs is that if the fully-electric range is more than 30 miles they get taxed as an electric vehicle or very nearly so. That’s because you could run them only on electricity for everything except long trips. That also saves you a few hundred pounds a year in tax.
A PHEV would suit your usage since you could do most of your driving electrically, with the petrol engine to manage your monthly motorway trip. Unfortunately, at the moment there aren't that many on sale in the UK new, and, as its a developing technology, even fewer secondhand, and those that there are are often quite expensive. It really depends whether your fuel savings can justify the cost, unless you are a believer in electric motoring for the good of the planet.
Public charging is a mess. There are a large number of operators each of whom have their own access card or app, and prices range from free to more expensive per mile than diesel. The government is working on the problem but it is likely to take a couple of years to sort out.
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