At first this can definitely get a bit confusing, but there are three main types to consider when looking at hybrid and electric cars:
Traditional Hybrids – these hybrids twin a traditional fossil fuel powered engine with an electric battery and motors. Traditional hybrids charge their battery solely through the use of the car’s brakes and engine.
Plug-In Hybrids – these work the same as traditional hybrids but offer the additional benefit of the ability to charge the car by plugging it into a charging station.
Fully-Electric Cars – unlike the hybrid choices, electric vehicles are powered solely by an electric batteries and motors. They can reuse energy from the brakes but require plugging-in to charge. Thanks to the total removal of the fossil fuel engine, they offer zero emission driving.
Advances in technology mean that modern day electric cars are now capable of offering 150 – 200 miles of range on a single charge (some even more). Whilst it may not sound like a lot compared to some petrol/diesel cars, it’s plenty for most journeys and it’ll cost you a lot less in fuel costs.
For longer journeys, you can simply give your electric car a little extra charge by plugging it in whilst you stop for a coffee or snack at one of the UK’s many service stations. There are now over 4,500 charging points across the UK that allow you to charge your electric car.
Battery technology is rapidly evolving - with future releases like Porsche’s Taycan offering ranges of over 310 miles per charge - so expect the available ranges to continue to grow significantly over the next year.
The experience when driving an electric or hybrid car is quite the opposite! Unlike traditionally powered vehicles, electric and hybrid vehicles are capable of delivering high levels of torque instantly.
The removal of any hesitation means that electric and hybrid cars accelerate faster and are more exciting to drive at real world speeds.
As well as the power benefits, many also offer increased handling ability thanks to clever ways of using electric motors. One such method is to individually power and brake each wheel by using a dedicated electric motor on each; the result is improved levels of traction and cornering ability.
With the Government wanting to make the switch to electric or hybrid power as soon as possible (banning the sales of new cars that aren’t hybrid or electric from 2040) this question has been a sticking point.
Research has shown that most electric and plug-in hybrid cars are charged overnight at people’s homes – this uses about the same amount of power as an electric dryer or stove.
Analysis by Cambridge Econometrics actually suggests that the increase in electric and hybrid cars due to the 2040 ban would raise the demand for electricity by less than 10% by 2050.
Just like a fossil fuel powered vehicle, electric and hybrid cars do need to be refuelled or recharged.
Charging an electric car has never been easier, with all of them offering multiple options when it comes to charging. If you’re on the move, there are now over 4,500 charging points that can be used across the UK. Otherwise, you can simply charge your car at home overnight – just like you would your phone.
Plug-in hybrids and traditional hybrids benefit from the ability to simple pop into a traditional fuel station to fill the tank with normal fuel for the conventional engine. Plug-in hybrids can be charged as above as well as filled with normal fuel.
These days, you can expect an electric battery to last well into the 100,000’s of miles before you need to think about getting it changed – some electric taxis currently boast 75% battery capacity and over 120,000 miles on the clock!
In terms of recyclability, the electric batteries used in cars are now widely recyclable, with around 90% of the battery being reused. Helping this even more, there are currently schemes being tested that’ll use recycled car batteries in residential and commercial settings; batteries removed from electric cars typically have 70-80% power remaining, more than enough for other uses.