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Hybrid and Electric Cars Explained

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Motoring Budget Electric Cars Hybrid

Many drivers are looking to own hybrid cars and electric cars in an attempt to reduce their car's fuel emissions. Instead of using fuel, electric cars run on a battery, while hybrid cars can run on either battery power or a mixture of battery power and fuel, depending on which type of hybrid car they are. If you are on a motoring budget, you might assume that both hybrid cars and electric cars are out of your reach, but this is not necessarily the case.

In the past, hybrid cars were much more expensive to both buy and run, but costs have come down significantly. In some cases, running a hybrid car may even be cheaper. See our article on “Will Hybrid Cars Save Me Money?” for more advice on how hybrid cars can benefit those who are on a motoring budget. This article explains all about the battery-run hybrid cars and electric cars.

Hybrid Cars

As well as being more environmentally friendly than your average car, hybrid cars can cut your fuel bills, which is great news if you are on a motoring budget. Some hybrid cars run almost entirely on an electric battery, but many combine battery power with the traditional petrol-powered engine found in most cars.

Popular examples of hybrid cars are the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic and Lexus RX SUV. The former is the most commonly bought hybrid car in the UK, and is less expensive than you might think. It can run up to twice as long as a petrol-powered counterpart, meaning that you can save on fuel costs.

Electric Cars

As their name suggests, electric cars run on a battery instead of fuel. This means that you can avoid spending a significant proportion of your motoring budget on fuel, but they will not be suitable for everyone. Motoring experts suggest that electric cars are best suited to those living in urban cities. The big disadvantage of the electric car is the fact that it needs to be charged using home electricity, which obviously contributes to household electricity bills. This can be negated as much as possible by charging during off-peak electricity hours (for example, during the night) as this can vastly reduce electricity costs. In comparison to the fuel bills of most motorists, the cost of electricity to power the car is far less.

Electric cars are dismissed as being slow and in need of frequent recharging to ensure that they carry on working. This is not the norm across the board though. The G-Wiz is currently the greenest car in the UK, and is the fastest electric car in the UK (although the Think City car is expected to rival this in the future). It costs a lot less to insure than most cars, and does not road tax paid on it.

Being on a motoring budget does not automatically exclude you from owning a hybrid or electric car. Whereas hybrid cars used to set you back much more than other cars, some are now cheaper than other types of car to buy and run, making them an increasingly attractive option. Contrary to popular opinion, buying a hybrid car does not mean compromising on power, despite the often smaller engine size. Whether or not you should buy an electric car is often best determined by where you live, as they are seen as being best suited to city life.

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