Plugin hybrids are pretty new on the scene. Well, new compared to standard hybrids that is. And, we suspect that they are only going to get even more popular in the months and years to come.
However, one of the questions that we get asked quite a lot is ‘should I get a plugin hybrid?’
And it’s a good question, and it’s important that you weigh up your options so you can make an informed decision.
In this article, we compare a plugin hybrid to a standard hybrid and an electric car, to see which one is right for you.
What is a plugin hybrid?
A plugin hybrid differs to a standard hybrid. Both have an electric battery and a fuel-powered engine. However, a standard hybrid only runs on electricity at low speeds. Once it hits around 30-40mph (depending on the car), it switches to the fuel-powered engine. The electric battery will then recharge using components of the engine already in the car.
A plugin hybrid, however, will run on electricity until the battery gets to a pre-determined level. You then recharge it either at home or when you’re out and about.
A standard hybrid predominantly runs on electricity when around town and fuel at high speeds, a plugin hybrid predominantly runs on electricity.
Plugin Hybrid vs. Electric Car; Which is better?
There are quite a few similarities between a plugin hybrid and an electric car, but there are key differences that are important to note.
The main difference between an electric car and a plugin hybrid is that a plugin hybrid still has a combustion engine where as an electric car runs on 100% electricity.
Which is better? Well, that’s down to what you prioritise.
Plugin Hybrid vs. Electric Car; Which costs less to run?
With an electric car, all you have to do is charge it up. This can cost as little as 2p/per mile if you charge it up at home, which is where we assume you will be doing a majority of your charging. If you charge it up in a public place then you may be charged, you may not. This is up to the discretion of whoever owns the charger.
However, with a plugin hybrid, you will also have to fill it up with fuel. Admittedly, you won’t have to do it half as often as you would with a normal fuel-powered car or even a hybrid, but it is something that you will have to think about on top of the costs to charge your car up at home.
If you want the lowest running costs, then an electric car is your best bet. You won’t have to worry about refuelling, and charging your car up at home is cheaper than you think.
However, while an electric car costs less to run, they are more expensive initially. So, while the electric car costs more to run, a plugin hybrid might be better for you because it is less initially.
Plugin Hybrid vs. Electric Car; Which is best for a company car?
If you’re looking for a company car, you might be deciding between an electric car and a plugin hybrid. But, which one is best as a company vehicle?
It depends what you are looking for. If you are doing longer journeys, then you might want to opt for a plugin hybrid. You won’t have to recharge your vehicle as much, and you will eliminate range anxiety. After all, many electric cars have a range of around 150 miles, and that’s based on no traffic and sticking to the speed limit. A plugin hybrid gives you that security that you won’t end up running out of charge when you’re halfway down the M1.
If you’re doing short, quick journeys in and around a city, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be looking at an electric car. Their range is enough to get you about town and you won’t have to pay for petrol.
When it comes to company car tax, both are pretty good. You’ll have to pay slightly more for a plugin hybrid as they do emit more emissions than an electric car, but this will only be marginally more. They are also both exempt from the salary sacrifice scheme changes. This means that they will not be taxed as their cash equivalent, and will be taxed as per the current rate.
So, it depends what you are doing. Plugin hybrids are probably best suited to long journeys, but if you want the lowest amount of company car tax possible, then an electric car is your best bet.
An electric car is better if you want the lowest company car tax possible and the lowest running costs. However, plugin hybrids cost less initially and you won’t get range anxiety. The choice is yours.
Hybrid vs. Plugin Hybrid: What’s the difference?
Now we’ve discussed electric cars against plugin hybrids, what about standard hybrids?
The difference between a standard hybrid and a plugin hybrid is, as mentioned above, is what they predominantly run on. A standard hybrid predominantly runs on fuel and only uses electricity when going at slow speeds. A plugin hybrid, however, uses electricity until the battery runs down to a pre-determined level.
But, which one is better?
Hybrid vs. Plugin Hybrid; Which is cheaper to run?
Because a hybrid still uses fuel as its main source of power, you will still end up spending a fair bit on petrol or diesel. However, a plugin hybrid uses considerably less petrol/diesel and therefore you’ll spend less on fuel.
Of course, while a plugin hybrid is cheaper to run, they are more expensive upfront. Plugins are more expensive initially plus you have to pay to have the charger installed. So, it depends what you consider a bigger priority; cheap running costs or lower initial cost.
However, both cost less to run than their 100% fuel powered counterparts.
Hybrid vs. Plugin Hybrid; Which is better as a company car?
As we’ve mentioned above, plugin hybrids are great for company car tax as they are exempt from the salary sacrifice changes and won’t cost you much to tax due to their low CO2 emissions.
Standard hybrids, unfortunately, are not exempt from the salary sacrifice changes.
There are also changes to company car tax even if you do not have a company car on a salary sacrifice scheme. These include additional bands for the lower emission vehicles. You can find out more about those here.
There isn’t really a debate about this one, a plugin hybrid really is better for a company car. The only argument for standard hybrids is that there are more diesel hybrids available, which will be good for those who are doing a lot of motorway driving. But then again, there are still some plugin hybrids that are diesel, though your choice is pretty limited.
Honestly, if you are looking for low running costs and a good company car, then you should be looking at a plugin hybrid. However, if you are concerned about high costs upfront, then a standard hybrid is probably a better option for you.
Should I get a plugin hybrid?
After all of that, should you get a plugin hybrid?
Honestly, we would say you should definitely consider it. You won’t have to worry about range anxiety, they are cheap to run and they are great for company car tax. There’s nothing to dislike about a plugin hybrid (as long as you have a place to charge it). The only things we can criticise is that they are pricier than their standard fuel-powered competitors and there aren’t many diesel versions on offer. But, is that not a small price to pay for something that costs a mere 2p/per mile to charge?