As more of us try to lower our emissions and drive in an eco-friendly manner, we find ourselves wondering which type of vehicle and engine is the best option. Here are some deciding factors that will help you choose between hybrid, petrol and electric vehicles.
When choosing a car with the right engine, you want something that’s affordable, reliable and doesn’t guzzle fuel.
Electric vehicles are powered solely by electricity, so produce no exhaust emissions. They are powered by an electric motor that runs off a battery, which charged by plugging the car into a suitable power point. These ‘engines’ are often able to last for around eight years on average before the battery starts to lose some of its charging power.
Hybrid vehicles come in two main forms – standard (sometimes known as mild hybrids) and hybrid-electric vehicles (considered full hybrids or plug-in hybrids). Hybrids often have a lower battery capacity than fully electric vehicles and the electricity often acts as a supplement alongside the petrol to give maximum performance while conserving fuel. You can drive on fully electric modes in some hybrids, but this is usually only suitable for short distances and at lower speeds.
Petrol-powered vehicles are the most common cars on the roads today, with a standard Ford Focus able to travel an average of 1,112.69 miles on a full tank of petrol. Due to petrol engines being commonplace, you would be able to take it to your nearest garage and get it fixed quite quickly if an issue arose. Petrol, however, is the worst option out of the three for its impact on the environment.
More than 30% of Europe’s carbon emissions are linked to transport and, in particular, the use of petrol to power vehicles. Petrol is also a fossil fuel, meaning there is a limited supply and eventually it will run out.
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Electricity, however, can be easily and ethically generated with renewable energy sources such as wind turbines.
Hybrid vehicles are much more economical when driving around a city where there will be lots of stopping and starting. However, if you are driving across the country, the battery of a hybrid is much heavier than a standard petrol car’s engine, meaning your journeys may be less fuel-efficient.
Electric cars are considered a fully sustainable option when recharging your battery at renewable sources. They are a quieter, easier-to-drive option and leave you to rest assured you won’t be causing harm to the environment as you travel around.
The maintenance needed
Unfortunately, all cars will face problems from time to time and as they are used more frequently.
In terms of the costs and repairs, petrol-powered cars are the most affordable due to their parts being readily available and them being the most common vehicle type on the roads. There’s also much more choice with petrol cars, so you can find something affordable that is aesthetically pleasing and suits the job you need it for.
Hybrid vehicles are slightly more difficult to maintain as you will need to go to a specialist garage for repairs. With them being less common, you might also have to wait a while for parts to be ordered in as they usually won’t be readily available in typical garages.
Fully electric vehicles are generally more expensive to purchase to start with and can be harder to find replacement parts for due to them not being as readily available just yet. Although they are low-cost to run, you could find yourself spending quite a bit if anything does need repairing. It’s important to assess your finances in case such an incident occurs.
In a nutshell
Petrol-powered vehicles are the least economical but are more affordable to buy and parts are readily available, though the sale of new models will be banned in the UK from 2030.
Hybrid cars are somewhat better for the environment but struggle to maintain power on long-distance journeys. Therefore, if you can afford to keep up with the maintenance and can install a charging point at home so you can power up your vehicle overnight, an electric car could well be the best option in the long run.