Electric and hybrid cars: what’s the difference?

Customers have been faced with many changes in the automotive industry over the past 10 years. An increasing awareness around the harmful effects of emissions has encouraged drivers to become more environmentally conscious. As a result, eco-friendly vehicles are being manufactured by the world’s leading automotive firms, with options for electric or hybrid.

However, many drivers are stuck in the habit of buying diesel and petrol vehicles. The prospect of buying an electric or hybrid alternative can pose more questions than it answers. Find out everything you need to know before buying an electric or hybrid car with Collingwood, a provider of provisional insurance.

What’s the difference in cost?

The electric and hybrid car industry is becoming more accessible. And the good news? There are models available to suit a variety of budgets. 

The first thing to consider regarding price is whether you are interested in buying a new or used car. Findings from Next Green Car have shown the extent of variety in terms of all-electric engine pricing, with one of the most popular models, the Nissan Leaf available new from £22,790 and used at £6,750. Models such as the streamlined BMW i3 are pricier alternatives, with a new vehicle costing around £39,575 and used from £14,499. 

A similar range of price exists for hybrid cars. The Toyota Yaris Hybrid has emerged as a favourite amongst motorists, with new models for sale between £15,995 and £20,100 and used options coming in anywhere from £7,000 to £19,000. If you are willing to spend a bit more, then the VW Golf GTE can be bought new from anywhere in the region of £33,400 – £35,165 or used at a price of £13,500 up to £24,000. 

Electric cars can be priced slightly higher than the traditionally fueled vehicle. A plug-in hybrid tends to be less than an all-electric vehicle thanks to a smaller battery pack.  For long-term expenses, however, electric vehicles are cheaper to run than petrol vehicles. So, the initial cost of the car pays off in fuel savings in the long term! Be sure to check out the discounts and initiatives from manufacturers too! Volkswagen, for example, offered customers a ‘scrappage’ discount in the past when buying an electric vehicle.

To encourage a transition to eco-friendly vehicles, the UK government offers a scheme for those wanting to switch from petrol or diesel. Category 1 vehicles producing less than 50g/km and a zero emissions range of at least 70 miles qualify for a £3,500 grant from the purchase price. It is certainly worth exploring any available incentives to help cover the cost of buying an electric or hybrid vehicles.

What’s the difference between electric and hybrid? 

This is entirely dependent on what suits you and your needs. With a hybrid vehicle, power is sought from electricity first from the battery. When this runs out, the petrol or diesel element takes over while the battery recharges, meaning that you don’t have to worry about trying to find a charging point in a hurry and will give you peace of mind on longer journeys. Hybrids are also available as plug-in models, where the batteries can be plugged in and recharged at an electrical source. Hybrids tend to suit urban motoring for their ultra-fuel-efficient qualities.

For electric cars, the car runs entirely on electricity provided from the rechargeable battery, meaning that they are reliant on charging points. Longer range electric vehicles can go further on a single charge, but need more expensive, bigger batteries to do this. This affects initial costs, but if you frequently travel long distances by car, this option may be best for you. If you mainly make short trips by car, an electric vehicle is a great (and green!) way to do this!   

How do I refuel a hybrid or electric car?

The most important thing to consider when buying a hybrid or electric car is if there are enough charging points in your area. Luckily, ZapMap can show you all the public charging points across the UK. 

Fortunately, the UK’s charging network is always evolving. For example, a government initiative is focusing on installing an electric car charger at every new built home across the UK. This, alongside a rapidly growing charging network means you won’t be stranded with no opportunity to recharge. 

Is it a different process to insure a hybrid or electric car? 

Although you may have heard different, the process of taking out an insurance policy on an electric or hybrid car doesn’t change. While we have covered the running costs for these eco-friendlier motoring methods, taking out insurance is essential to protect yourself from any unforeseen circumstances and to comply with UK law. 

You may have heard that it is more expensive to insure an electric car. But findings from What Car suggest that this might be set to change. When the electric market emerged initially, insurers had no way to reference the cost of repairs on electric vehicles. As a result, their predictions were laid out to accommodate every end of the scale. This led to some suppliers refusing to insure electric vehicles or simply boosting the premiums, which made it harder for electric motorists to get insurance. 

It is good news for those of you considering an electric or hybrid vehicle. The increasing popularity of these eco-friendly vehicles has opened the door for realistic premium rates. Many market observers have predicted continued growth, with a predicted one million-electric cars set to enter the UK’s roads by 2022. This means insurance costs for electric vehicles will soon contend with petrol and diesel. 

So, there we have it. Electric and hybrid vehicles have different specifications to suit different needs and lifestyles whilst reducing emissions.

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