As the tables turn on diesel cars and the need for zero-emission driving, there is more and more talk about electric and hybrid vehicles. We explore the differences between these newer, cleaner energy choices. What will you invest in?
In just under a year, Volvo will start producing electric (and hybrids) exclusively. You can read our previous article about this here. EVs are charged up and run on electric power. The electricity is stored in batteries which then powers the electric motor.
Government grants and the cost of charging (vs filling up) have meant that EVs are becoming more popular:
- They emit no pollution at the tailpipe
- They are very quiet and easy to drive
- You can drive an EV on an automatic driving licence
- You can charge your car at home (via a three prong plug)
There are of course faster chargers which can be found in carparks, service stations etc which are popular with EV drivers but an existing plug on your driveway or in your garage will still charge the batteries.
The disadvantages for EVs are:
- They are quiet – pedestrians don’t necessarily hear the approaching vehicle
- You need to charge your vehicle and it takes longer than filling your tank with fuel
- Electricity isn’t necessarily a cleaner energy choice
Hybrids (like their name indicates) are a mixture of electric and petrol cars. They have a petrol engine but many electric components. The car is propelled forward by electricity stored in batteries and petrol stored in the tank.
There are a number of different ways the hybrids work. Some use the petrol engine to charge the batteries, and in others the petrol motor drives the wheels directly with an additional battery adding electric drive.
Here are the different types of hybrids:
- Mild Hybrids – One of the cheapest hybrid versions, the motor can’t run the car on its own but does help the petrol engine start and stop at the right times to save on fuel economy
- Full Hybrids – These cars can propel the car entirely using the electric motor, although the petrol engine will be used when full power is needed
- Plug-in Hybrids – These cars can be plugged in like EVs and will charge the car’s battery giving an electric-only range of 20 – 40 miles which reduces petrol consumption over longer journeys.
It seems that the future is electric but for those of you wanting to ease yourself in slowly then a hybrid might be a good intermediate investment.