Hybrid vs Electric Cars Pros and Cons
Although Hybrid and Electric cars remain a niche market in the UK, their popularity is growing. A brief look at the SMMT registration data for 2022 can give you an idea of where the market currently stands:
- Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs): 267,203 cars sold in 2022. A 40.1% increase from 2021.
- Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs): 101,414 cars sold in 2022, a 11.5% decrease from 2021.
- Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs): 187,948 cars sold in 2022, a 27.6% increase from 2021.
- Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs): 219,701 cars sold in 2022, an 10.9% increase from 2021
As things currently stand, the market share of hybrid and electric cars has continued to grow, with new electric vehicles having a 16.1% share of the UK’s new car market in 2022.
Government Incentives for Low-Emissions Vehicles
The UK government seeks to lower the country’s collective carbon footprint, and to do so, it plans to transition to low-emission vehicles by 2030 fully. While this is clearly a step in the right direction for the planet, the realisation of this plan has stirred up mixed reactions from motorists and the car industry.
The issue is not with the transition but rather the time frame. Accordingly, the SMMT had publicly called upon the UK government to assist motorists by requesting zero tax on zero-emission capable vehicles.
Grants to encourage wider take-up of electric vehicles costing no more than £32,000 were axed in June 2022.
Instead, the government is putting more money into the UK charging infrastructure. This reflects widespread anxiety about the limited nature of the current infrastructure and a fear from drivers that they may be left stranded. It’s hoped that a more widely spread and visible charging infrastructure will alleviate some of the fears currently holding drivers back from making the switch.
The government’s On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) is investing £30 million to help local authorities roll out charging points in neighbourhoods across the UK. Drivers are currently no more than 25 miles from a rapid charge point anywhere along motorways and major A roads. It’s hoped that by the end of 2023, motorway service stations across the country will average 6 rapid charge points per site, with this rising to 10-12 at larger motorway services.
A range of new hybrid and electric vehicles on the horizon benefit from advanced technology with a myriad of powertrains available. In this article, we break down the pros and cons of hybrid vs electric cars.
What are Hybrid Cars?
Combining conventional diesel or petrol engines with electric motors, hybrid cars are not as green as 100% electric cars, but they produce less CO2 emissions and use less fuel than conventional cars. Hybrid cars are classified into self-charging and plug-in hybrid cars.
Self-charging vehicles can be further split into Full or Mild Hybrid. Full hybrids combine an electric motor with a combustion engine, which operates either independently or simultaneously.
Mild hybrid vehicles use a small electric motor to complement the combustion engine rather than power the vehicle independently. It is attached directly to an engine or transmission, which gives the car a boost when accelerating.
What are Self-Charging Hybrid Cars?
Self-charging hybrids do not require charging through plug-in points. Instead, these vehicles are equipped with a small battery pack that works in tandem with a conventional engine.
How Do Self-Charging Hybrid Cars Work?
The self-charging hybrid’s battery charges as you drive the car through regenerative braking by recovering the energy that your car would typically lose while braking or from the petrol engine.
Since the battery reduces the engine’s effort while accelerating, it reduces the vehicle’s fuel consumption. However, they have smaller battery packs than plug-in hybrids, making them much less efficient.
How do Full Hybrid (FHEV) Cars Work?
In a full hybrid car, the vehicle can operate in a pure electric mode – for example in low-speed environments such as traffic congestion. Under hard acceleration, the car’s hybrid system can then use a combination of the electric motor and the engine to power the wheels.
The hybrid system will determine the best combination of the two power sources based on several factors, including the car’s speed, the battery’s charge level, and how fast the driver is accelerating.
How do Mild Hybrid (MHEV) Cars Work?
The electric motor in a mild hybrid system is generally smaller and less powerful than the electric motor in a full hybrid car. As a result, a mild hybrid car cannot operate in electric-only mode like a full hybrid can. Instead, the electric motor in a mild hybrid car is used to boost the engine’s power during acceleration and to capture energy during braking and deceleration to recharge the battery.
This helps improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions by assisting the ICE during acceleration and capturing energy that would otherwise be lost during braking and deceleration.
Full Hybrid vs Mild Hybrid
Full hybrid cars provide greater fuel efficiency than mild hybrids due to their ability to operate in electric-only mode at low speeds over short distances. This reduces full consumption and produces lower emissions than mild hybrid vehicles.
At present, a full hybrid car is more expensive than a mild hybrid car due to the cost of the larger battery and more complex hybrid system. In addition, a larger battery means that full hybrids are heavier than mild hybrid cars.
Models in the Mazda & Suzuki Range
Mazda Hybrid Vehicles
Mazda calls its self-charging hybrid a ‘mild hybrid’ or ‘M-Hybrid’ as first seen in the new Mazda CX-30. The other cars in Mazda’s self-charging range include the Mazda 3 and the Mazda 2 – the latter coming as both a SKYACTIV variant and a self-charging full hybrid.
The Mazda 2 SKYACTIV vehicles are mild hybrids equipped with internal combustion engines optimised for efficiency using the SKYACTIV technology suite. In comparison, the Mazda 2 Hybrid is a classic full hybrid vehicle that combines a petrol engine with an electric motor and a battery pack and is being built in collaboration with Toyota.
The hybrid technology of the Mazda full/mild hybrid range works by using a generator to capture the vehicles’ energy typically wasted while braking. The energy saved powers the car’s electrical components and saves fuel.
Suzuki Hybrid Vehicles
The Suzuki Ignis, Vitara, S-Cross, Swift and Swace are the vehicles available in Suzuki’s self-charging hybrid range. They come in different builds allowing buyers to customise them to meet their needs.
The vehicle’s batteries fuel its electrical system when sitting at traffic lights and other stops, saving fuel. When the car decelerates, its hybrid system generates electricity to charge its batteries.
What are Plug-in Hybrids (PHEV) Cars?
Unlike self-charging hybrids, PHEVs are hybrid vehicles with battery packs that you must plug in to charge.
How Do Plug-in Hybrid Cars Work?
PHEVs come with an electric motor plus a traditional petrol combustion engine. Their batteries are larger than those in a standard hybrid, allowing it to run longer on only electric power. Most plug-in hybrids can run on electric power between 20 and 30 miles, with some models going for up to 50 miles.
These plug-in hybrids typically run on electric power until almost depleting the battery. When this happens, they automatically switch to power from their petrol engine.
Models in the Mazda & Suzuki Range
Mazda Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles
The Mazda CX-60 is a well-equipped and stylish compact crossover SUV PHEV that offers a balance of performance, efficiency, and versatility. It can drive in full electric mode with zero emissions or in hybrid mode, where it utilises both motor and battery in unison to provide a powerful yet highly efficient driving experience. It is also soon to launch with a diesel only option in addition to the PHEV variant.
Suzuki Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles
The Suzuki Across is currently the only plug-in hybrid in the Suzuki range. It has one of the longest electric-only driving ranges of any plug-in hybrid, providing around 46 miles on zero-emission electric-only power.
What are Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)?
Battery Electric Vehicles operate entirely using electric power, storing their electricity in rechargeable batteries. These are zero-emission vehicles that significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
How do Battery Electric Vehicles Work?
Using electricity stored in a battery pack to power an electric motor and turn wheels, BEVs use grid electricity from a wall socket or charging unit to recharge. Considered “all-electric vehicles“ because they do not use petrol or diesel, they do not produce tailpipe emissions when driven.
Electric Models in the Mazda & Suzuki Range
While Suzuki has not yet released a BEV, Mazda has the all-electric MX-30. The MX-30 has a 124-mile range and features rapid charge taking the battery from 20% to 80% in 36 minutes.
What are Range Extended Electric Vehicles (REX)?
REX vehicles represent the middle-ground between pure EVs and Hybrids. They are for people who are not yet ready to purchase a fully electric vehicle but want similar benefits.
How Do Range Extended Vehicles Work?
REX cars’ electric motors drive the wheels. Having batteries powered by an external supply, they perform like BEVs. In addition, they come with a small combustion engine for recharging the battery if needed. However, the internal combustion engine never directly drives the wheels.
Range Extended Electric Models in the Mazda & Suzuki Range
The Mazda MX-30 BEV was launched in 2021 and is soon to launch a range extender model. Unlike most range extended EVs, the MX-30 utilises the renowned Rotary engine. The standard MX-30 has a battery range of 124 miles, but by utilising a 830cc Rotary engine to generate additional charge to a 17.5kWh battery, the MX-30 REX will have a total range of over 400 miles.
Suzuki doesn’t currently have a REX in its hybrid range.
Benefits and Advantages of Self-Charging Hybrid vs Plug-in Hybrid vs Electric Cars
Both Hybrid and electric cars have significant advantages, depending on your needs. One of the most significant advantages is that they both have much better fuel economy than an equivalent petrol or diesel-powered car, resulting in substantial savings.
The driving dynamics are also different, as electric motors produce more power and torque when accelerating.
A hybrid car does not cost any more to maintain than a regular vehicle, with a replacement battery costing around £2000. That being said, batteries typically have an 8 -10 year warranty to give you peace of mind for long term reliability.
Hybrids can achieve longer distances compared to electric cars since they do not rely entirely on an electric charge. Thus, they offer greater flexibility if you drive long distances regularly. However, the downside is that hybrid cars still emit tailpipe emissions, so Government tax breaks are lower for Hybrids than electric cars. In addition, as they have smaller batteries, they also can’t match a BEVs’ electric driving range.
Battery Electric Vehicles
BEVs have a driving range of 100 to over 250 miles on a single charge, making them ideal for short to medium-distance trips. They are an excellent option for city driving and shorter day trips since you can drive entirely on an electric charge. Their main downside is you have to plan in advance for longer journeys, ensuring that there will be a charging station available at your destination.
BEVs offer significant savings over hybrid and conventional cars, cutting fuel costs by more than 70%. You will also benefit from a range of grants and tax breaks when you purchase a BEV.
Hybrid and electric cars depreciate at a similar rate as conventional cars. There are over 25,000 charging points available across the UK, so you won’t have to search far and wide to charge your vehicle.
If you need help understanding more about the technology, want to book a test drive at your home to experience for yourself, or need to discuss pricing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Although Hybrid and Electric cars remain a niche market in the UK, their popularity is growing. A brief look at the SMMT registration data for 2022 can give you an idea of where the market currently stands: Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs): 267,203 cars sold in 2022. A 40.1% increase from 2021. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles […]
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