Is a plug-in hybrid worth it?

Are plugin hybrids all their cracked up to be? We take a look at whether a plugin hybrid is really worth it...

Plugin hybrids are a great alternative to fully electric cars and are perfect for those who don’t want to take that leap into a full battery powered vehicle.

And they are becoming increasingly popular. There’s no doubt they will become a common sight on British roads in the years to come.

However, one of the questions asked a lot is ‘are plugin hybrids worth it?’

In this article, we look at the pros and cons of a plugin hybrid, and whether they’re really worth the hype.

What is a plugin hybrid?

Firstly, let’s look at what a plugin hybrid is. A plugin hybrid is exactly that, a hybrid that plugs in. Essentially, a plugin hybrid is a vehicle whose motor batteries charge by plugging it in, but it also has a conventional petrol or diesel engine. 

A conventional hybrid runs mainly on fuel. It only uses electricity when it is travelling at low speeds. However, a plugin hybrid runs mainly on electricity. It will only switch to fuel when the battery reaches a pre-determined level.

best luxury plugin hybrids

A conventional hybrid is charged while you are driving, using components already in the combustion engine. A plugin hybrid, however, is charged via a charging point in your home or when you are out and about. You can read more about our top hybrids here.

What are the advantages of a plugin hybrid?

There are quite a few advantages of a plugin hybrid, and maybe these reasons will make you think that a plugin hybrid is worth it:


  • They are environmentally friendly
    • They are the second most environmentally friendly type of vehicle. All plugin hybrids are classed as ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV’s). This means that they emit 75g/km of CO2 or less, making them extremely eco-friendly. Therefore, they are perfect for lowering your carbon footprint.
  • What range anxiety?
    • One of the biggest advantages of a plugin hybrid is that there is no range anxiety. Range anxiety is where you are worried that you will run out of battery power before reaching your destination or a charging point. This is one of the reasons people are put off buying a fully electric car. However, as a plugin hybrid also has a combustion engine, you don’t have to worry about running out of battery power.
Man filling up his car with fuel hose spelling eco - is an electric car worth it?
  • Low running costs
    • Plugin hybrids are very cheap to run, particularly if you are doing short journeys as you won’t even touch your fuel tank. You will have to fill up considerably less than someone with a conventional hybrid or a standard fuel powered car. Also, charging your car up costs less than you might think, and can cost as little as 2p per mile to charge up at home.
  • High residual value
    • Plugin hybrids have high residual values, making them a great investment when it comes to reselling. Their high residual values also make them pretty good to lease as well. You can check out our lease deals here.
  • High residual value
    • Plugin hybrids have high residual values, making them a great investment when it comes to reselling. Their high residual values also make them pretty good to lease as well. You can check out our lease deals here.
  • ULEV exemptions
    • Ultra-low emission vehicles are exempt from a number of things including congestion charge and the salary sacrifice changes.
    • The salary sacrifice changes only apply to you if you have a company car. However, they are important to note.
    • The salary sacrifice changes mean that anyone with a company car will be taxed the cash equivalent, rather than via their BIK rates. But, ULEV’s are exempt from this, and instead will be taxed via their BIK rates.
    • This means that if you have a plugin hybrid then you could end up saving yourself a considerable amount of money if you are using one as company car.
  • There is more choice
    • There aren’t too many fully electric cars around at the minute which means your choice is very limited. However, there are more plugin hybrids available. So, if you like a lot of options, then a plugin hybrid is for you.

What are the disadvantages of a plugin hybrid?

  • They are expensive
    • They might not be as expensive as electric cars, but plugin hybrids are still pretty pricey. Unfortunately, their initial price (+ installation of charging points) can put a plugin hybrid out of reach for many. However, we do expect that they will come down in price once the technology becomes more widely used.
  • The battery means you sacrifice practicality
    • The battery on a plugin hybrid is pretty big. And heavy. This means you will have to compromise on space and therefore practicality, and deal with the extra weight. This means that you could end up wasting fuel due to the hefty weight of the battery.
  • Charging times
    • Charging the car is probably the most inconvenient bit about a plugin hybrid. It’s okay if you charge it at home (by the way, I hope you don’t live on a second floor flat, otherwise a plugin hybrid is out of the question) but charging it when your out and about can cost you, and take a while. Unless you have upgraded to a fast charging system that some manufacturers do offer. We also predict these will become more common as well.
Electric charging point

Is a plugin hybrid worth it?

So, after all that, is a plugin hybrid worth it?

If you’re looking for an efficient, environmentally friendly car but you don’t want to take the full leap to a fully electric car, then a plugin hybrid is perfect for you. Alternatively, if you are doing long journeys and don’t want range anxiety or to have to stop off and charge your car, then a plugin hybrid makes for a better bet than a fully electric car. You can read more about electric cars here. 

However, if you don’t want to spend that much initially, then perhaps a plugin hybrid isn’t for you. If you are still concerned about your carbon footprint, then a conventional hybrid might be something you might want to look at. They still emit lower emissions than a conventional fuel-powered car and they are less expensive than plugin hybrids and electric cars.

What is an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle?
how the autumn statement affects you
Rachel Richardson
  • 17th January 2017

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