Blog: The ultimate hybrid car guide

Blog: The ultimate hybrid car guide

It’s World Environment Day! So, we thought we’d do a bit of jargon busting and helpful guidance on the next big thing getting the spotlight when it comes to cleaner transport – the hybrid.

We recently conducted a survey about environmental issues. Out of 146 people, 82.9% agreed, strongly agreed or slightly agreed that vehicle manufacturers have the ultimate responsibility for protecting the environment. 

Plus, a massive 91% of people strongly agreed, agreed and slightly agreed that environmentally friendly vehicles are more expensive to buy, however, this is not always the case. You can view our cheapest hybrids in stock here.

Check out what else we found when we asked what was important when buying a car:

  • 24.7% said that CO2 emissions were the most important
  • 34.25% said that miles to the gallon were most important 
  • 31.5% said that road tax was the most important

Taking a stand against fossil fuels and reducing air pollution, hybrid cars have become all the rage during the past few years. With extra restrictions starting to take effect in city centres on diesel and petrol motors, hybrids appear to be the way forward for most lifestyles.

How they work

This is just a quick overview of the main types of hybrid cars. They all have their own positive and negative points, and if you’re seriously looking into getting a hybrid, be sure to do all your research as every hybrid works in a slightly different way.

A bit of jargon busting for the main two types:

Full hybrid 

This is the generic term for the hybrids where the electric motor does the ‘driving.’ It won’t need the on-board combustion engine (the “normal” petrol or diesel engine in most modern cars) to make the car move for a period of time at least. These are the cars that can usually charge their own batteries using the engine.

Mild hybrid

In the mild hybrid, the combustion engine makes the car move, the electric motor is pretty much there for a bit of assistance – effectively a power booster. These are usually cheaper to buy, but not as environmentally friendly.  

Range extender hybrid (EREV’s)

How it works

You could say that a range extender hybrid car is a lot more alike to an electric one. You will have to charge it overnight (like a lot of electric cars,) but it also has a small combustion engine on board to charge you up should you need it. 


The pros

·         Even if you don’t buy a hybrid with one on it, you can fit a range extender to a lot of hybrids

·         Compared to normal hybrids, like the name suggests, you go a lot further without filling up at the pumps

·         The engine won’t turn on when accelerating hard unlike some other hybrids, so it’s a bit greener

The cons 

  • A load of luggage or a few passengers may affect your speed
  • If the battery runs out at high speed, you’ll have to go slower until you charge up
  • Steep roads may be an issue when it comes to speed

Plug in hybrid

How it works

Plug-in hybrids can travel further on just electricity than regular hybrids. They have a larger battery that will need to be charged from the mains, but like most hybrids, they mainly work with a combination of the electric motor and the combustion engine. 


The pros

·         If you can charge at home and work and have a commute of about 30 miles or less, you can run on mostly electric and won’t have to refuel very often

·         It can cover a lot more miles than other hybrids without using the combustion engine 

·         Which means it uses less fuel 

The cons 

·         If you’re doing enough miles to drain the battery, the car will essentially be petrol. And, because the car is heavy, it will be a lot less economical

·         Costs a lot of money if it breaks down

·         Like any hybrid, it’s more expensive to purchase


The parallel hybrid car

How it works

The parallel hybrid car is the most common hybrid. It uses a combination of the traditional internal combustion engine (petrol or diesel) and the electric motor on-board.  You can drive with the electric motor alone, the combustion engine alone, or a combination of the two.

When you’re cruising the engine is most efficient, so this is when the car uses the combustion engine to power the generator as well as the car. When braking and pulling away, the electric motor does the job. 


The pros

·        Regenerative braking – this takes the energy from the parts braked to be reused

·        Some models don’t require to charge the batteries overnight – the engine does that when cruising

·        Smaller battery pack than series hybrids (keep on reading to find out what they are)

·        Great on the motorway

The cons

·        Not the best in stop start traffic 

·        Uses more fuel than a series hybrid

·        Like any hybrid, it’s more expensive to purchase

·        Quiet when pulling away – so be sure to keep an eye out for pedestrians 


Series hybrid

How it works

In a series hybrid, the combustion engine is only there to charge the battery, so, technically the electric motor does all the driving. That being said, on longer journeys, the engine may provide the power, but even this is not directly powering the car itself.


The pros

·        Regenerative braking - this takes the energy from the parts braked to be reused

·        More powerful battery compared to parallel

·        Engine is usually smaller

·        Great in stop start traffic

·        Uses less fuel than parallel

The cons

·        More expensive than parallel due to larger battery and generator

·        Generator produces emissions

·        Expensive to purchase 


The horror stories put to sleep

What happens when you run out of charge?

Easy - the combustion engine will take over to either recharge the battery as you go or you will drive solely on it. Either way, as long as you have some fuel in your tank, there won’t be a problem.

Isn’t it complicated to drive?

Nope. It’s the same as any modern car.

But it takes ages to charge?

The beauty of a hybrid is that it doesn’t rely solely on electrical power. Yes, you may have to plug your hybrid in overnight to get the full benefit of the running costs, but, you should be fine to get to and from work and around the town. A lot of places of work have charging points too! 

Will you have to replace the batteries? That’s expensive, right?

Modern hybrids have batteries in them that are designed to last for at least 100,000 miles, some even 150,000. So, unless you plan on keeping your car for a very long time, this shouldn’t be anything to worry about.


The tax

Previously, hybrids were amazingly popular due to the affordable road tax and cheap running costs, but, you should be aware of a few changes that have come in to affect recently.

  •  If a hybrid was manufactured before April 2017 most hybrids are void or have minimal road tax on them.
  • After April 2017, hybrids under £40k are £10 to tax for the year (still cheaper than petrol and diesel, mind) and if it’s more than £40,000, it’s a whopping £440 a year.

Also, charging points – like the ones at the motorway services - which used to cost you pence to charge up have hiked their prices up recently.

But, it should be noted that the government will give you a grant to install a charging point at home when you buy a hybrid, so at least that’s one less headache to have. 

And here’s a list of the other hybrids that CarShop has to offer too:



One step further: Electric cars

If you want to look at reducing your emissions even further, purely electric cars are being developed and produced too, such as the Nissan Leaf.

*Just so you know, the exact cars featured here may not still be available, but be sure to keep an eye out for others. **Since hybrid cars a little less common, not as many come through to CarShop, so apologies if the links don’t work when you click, but there’s sure to be more in soon!

  • On: 30 May 2018
  • By: CarShop

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