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Author: Sarah Last updated: Tue 30 Mar 10:58
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The costs of running a hybrid vehicle

Cost of running a hybrid vehicle

 First off, so we all understand each other, a hybrid is a vehicle that uses a petrol or diesel engine and has an electric motor and a battery. Why both conventional and electric?  The idea is that the conventional engine provides most of the power, but the electric motor can assist so that you save fuel. The truth is that a lot of the time, the opposite is true – depending on usage and actual vehicle.

The electric motor draws its energy from the system's battery, and the battery is recharged by the vehicle itself. One way that it does this is by harnessing the energy that would be lost when braking.

There are manufacturers such as Honda that use what is known as 'mild' hybrid systems. The electric motor in these systems do assist but it is not possible to drive for any kind of real distance just on electric power. These systems are fairly cheap, relatively speaking, and they only provide small fuel efficiency gains.

For their money, these types of hybrids are probably not worth it – big claims, small results.

Toyota, however, is probably the better-known manufacturer of what could be referred to as 'full' hybrids. The Prius is the leader of this particular pack, going from near obscurity to winning several accolades.

Full hybrid systems allow the car to function on electric power alone, the hybrid system is also constantly at work to further optimise fuel efficiency and economy.


Do hybrids have lower running costs?


So then, all things considered, do hybrid vehicles have lower running costs? The answer is yes if they are used as they should be. A hybrid car performs best when it is used in a ‘stop-start’ urban environment. When used in these conditions, the system reclaims energy from braking which can then be used to provide power later on. This means that in an urban setting, with all the traffic lights and so on, there should be little to zero emissions for a good portion of the journey. This saves on fuel for the car and pennies for the driver.

While hybrids generally cost more to buy, there are other considerations. If a hybrid puts out 75 g/km CO2, then it will be eligible for certain monetary benefits such as the 100% Ultra-Low Emissions Discount. This discount means these vehicles are exempt from congestion charges – this can save you hundreds of pounds every year, offsetting the extra purchase price very quickly.

There are also lower company car tax benefits to take advantage of and, of course, there is the fact that less petrol or diesel will have to be purchased. Overall, yes, the hybrid is much cheaper and as they become more widespread, the initial purchase price is sure to come down too.

Hybrid vehicles will be the norm very soon and they will eventually transition into full electric-only by 2040, which is the Government target to remove all petrol and diesel vehicles from the roads. For your pocket, it is worth getting in front now.

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