JT Hughes
View all
Author - JT Hughes
JT Hughes

Electric vs Hybrid Cars: What's the Better Choice? (Pros & Cons)


There has never been a greater demand for electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid vehicles but with so many options available, it can be hard to know where to begin.

In this helpful guide, we’ll explain how hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles differ.

Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid and Electric Cars

A hybrid car, usually referred to as a self-charging hybrid, has an electric motor and a small battery to improve efficiency. Its main source of power is a diesel or petrol engine, but the small additional battery enables it to go about a mile on pure electricity in urban areas.

The plug-in hybrid still has a diesel or petrol engine but, depending on the model, a bigger battery provides it with an electric range of up to 50 miles.

Due to their ability to run on electric power, while still having an internal combustion engine as a backup, plug-in hybrids are often considered a first step towards a fully electric vehicle.

Last but not least, is the all-electric car, sometimes referred to as an electric vehicle (EV) or battery electric vehicle (BEV). Electric cars are powered solely by batteries. If the battery gets low on power, the car needs to be plugged in and charged.

Here’s a useful tip to remember: hybrid vehicles can’t be plugged in, plug-in hybrid vehicles should be plugged in, and electric vehicles must be plugged in.

Hybrid Cars

A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) has both an electric motor and a diesel or petrol engine. This means that the driver has a choice between using the engine, the all-electric drivetrain, or both. A hybrid car is just as efficient and cost-effective as a comparable diesel vehicle when used properly.

Hybrid Cars: Pros And Cons

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of hybrid vehicles.

The Pros

Just like driving a petrol car

One of the main advantages of driving a hybrid car is that it feels the same to drive as a standard car. You shouldn't notice many differences or need to think about charging the battery while driving the vehicle.

They’re efficient

The electric motor in a hybrid car provides a short range of one or two miles of electric power, as well as enhanced fuel and overall efficiency.

A hybrid car will either use the engine or regenerative braking to recharge the battery. The electric motor is powered by energy that would otherwise have dissipated during braking or when releasing the accelerator pedal. This is what makes a hybrid perfect for stop-and-go traffic.

No need to think about the range

There’s no range anxiety with a hybrid vehicle. If the battery runs out, the car will simply switch to using the fuel in your tank.

Good for towing

If you’re looking for an electric vehicle that can tow, an HEV is the best option. Their maximum towing capacity is typically higher than that of an electric car, however, it’s likely lower than that of a similar petrol or diesel car. Most all-electric vehicles have not been approved for towing.

  • Familiarity
  • Efficiency
  • No range anxiety
  • Good for towing

The Cons

Cost more to buy

Not all of the news is positive. The monthly finance costs can be greater for hybrids because they are often more expensive to buy than petrol or diesel vehicles. Also, they’re less efficient for motorway driving than diesel vehicles, so companies might find that any tax savings are offset by higher fuel costs.

Limited range

The limited range of hybrid vehicles is a deal breaker for some people, depending on their needs.

The 2035 ban on sales

Hybrid car sales are set to end in 2035 and this may even be pushed back to 2030 along with the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles. Hybrids could be subject to further clean air zone exclusions as the government strives to become carbon neutral by 2050.

  • Cost more
  • Limited range
  • 2035 ban on sales

Plug-In Hybrid Cars

A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) has an engine that is powered by either diesel or petrol and an electric motor (or motors) powered by batteries. The battery pack can be recharged at home or via the network of public charging points.

Plug-in hybrids are not a new idea but, during the past ten years, they have grown in popularity.

A PHEV can go further than a hybrid can on electric power since it has a bigger battery pack. These cars typically have an electric range of some 20 to 30 miles, and some models can travel up to 50 miles.

Plug-In Hybrid Cars: Pros And Cons

Plug-in hybrids are a popular alternative to a regular car for drivers that are not ready to go fully electric.

The Pros

Engine power

Having a petrol or diesel engine available can be enough to allay any range anxiety in sceptical drivers. When the battery runs out, the vehicle shifts to its diesel or petrol engine, which is powered similarly to a regular vehicle.

Consume less fuel

The average car journey in the UK is less than 10 miles so you might discover that you don't need the engine at all for shorter trips. For longer journeys, the engine is there if you need it.

Lower tax

The tax advantages are significantly higher with lower emissions, especially for commercial vehicles. Some plug-in hybrids received ratings as low as 8% in 2021–2022.

Lower running costs

Driving a plug-in hybrid is just like driving a standard car, other than the fact it needs to be plugged in. Improved performance is delivered by combining electric, and a petrol or diesel engine, but without the high running costs of a speedy standard car.

Also, there’s no issue if you can’t find a charging point as you can just keep it running with the engine until you reach your destination.

  • Engine power
  • Lower tax
  • Consume less fuel
  • Reduced running costs

The Cons

Higher upfront cost

Plug-in hybrids do have some disadvantages, including high purchase costs that are comparable to those of pure electric vehicles.

Needs to be charged

A plug-in hybrid needs to be charged regularly. If you don't make sure it’s charged, you'll just be paying more to transport a bulky, expensive battery pack around with you.

If you drive mainly on motorways, a plug-in hybrid vehicle probably isn't the ideal option.

May be phased out

We might see PHEVs phased out in favour of all-electric vehicles as battery technology improves and our charging infrastructure expands.

  • Higher upfront cost
  • Needs charging
  • May be phased out

Electric Cars

The electric car has finally reached the forefront of technology, after what seemed like glacial development.

Most car makers now offer an electric vehicle of some sort, and several have committed to phasing out non-electric cars entirely.

An electric vehicle has a battery pack that powers one or more electric motors. The battery pack can be charged at home or via a public charging station. Finding a charging station is becoming easier all the time and there are now at least 25,000 charging points at more than 15,000 sites in the UK.

The capacity of the battery is one of many variables that affect how far you can go on a single charge. When electric cars were first launched, they had a maximum range of around 100 miles. Now, cars like the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 SE offer well over 300 miles of range.

As pressure mounts on manufacturers to cut Co2 emissions, the situation will only get better. This, together with tighter regulation, will result in an enhanced charging infrastructure, and EVs with a significantly increased range.

For the time being, the public charging network should suffice for the majority of EV owners, but it makes sense to install a home charger too. Home chargers provide faster charging speeds and can be configured to take advantage of cheaper off-peak electricity rates.

Electric Cars: Pros And Cons

The Pros

Lower tax and no congestion charges

With free VED and incredibly low company car tax, electric cars continue to offer savings long after the original purchase cost. Moreover, the London Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) don’t apply to electric vehicles.

Low running costs

Compared to a petrol or diesel vehicle, an EV will cost less to run. This is especially true if you charge your car at home.

With fewer moving components than an internal combustion engine (ICE), you'll also benefit from lower servicing and maintenance costs.

Zero emissions

Zero exhaust emissions and quieter city and town driving are big advantages. The feeling that you're helping to improve local air quality may be less tangible but is no less important.

Responsive to drive

The best electric cars are responsive and enjoyable to drive because of their rapid torque. Some electric vehicles can accelerate more quickly than a six-figure supercar! That said if you want to stay safe and extend the vehicle's range, you should use its powerful acceleration wisely.

  • Lower tax
  • No congestion charge
  • Zero emissions
  • Responsive to drive

The Cons

The stated range may be lower than the actual

You should only use the manufacturer's stated range as a guide as you’re not likely to get that range in practice. There are lots of factors that can reduce it like the way you drive, the terrain, and cold weather.

Higher upfront cost

Despite having lower operating costs, EVs are considerably more expensive to purchase. A basic electric car can cost from around £20,000 while some of the more high-end EVs cost over £100,000.

If you’re using monthly finance, the difference in cost between an electric vehicle and a comparable petrol or diesel car can be lower. Right now, there are some excellent, affordable leasing options available for electric vehicles, with many costing less than their petrol-powered counterparts.

Needs to be charged regularly

While the public charging network is expanding, some locations remain underserved. It’s also not unusual to find a charging point that’s not working. If you don’t have a garage or off-street parking, you might find it difficult to charge your electric car at home.

  • Stated range may not be accurate
  • Higher upfront cost
  • Needs regular charging

Are Electric Cars Really Better For the Environment?

Electric vehicles are frequently thought to be more environmentally friendly because they don't use conventional fuel or produce emissions.

Let's take a look at the environmental impact of EVs, both beneficial and detrimental.

Positive Impact

  • No Co2 emissions
  • Quieter than a standard car
  • Fewer components mean lower maintenance costs
  • Manufacturers use eco-friendly materials when possible

Negative Impact

  • Chargers rely on electricity
  • Battery production can adversely impact the environment
  • Batteries contain nickel, lithium, and cobalt which require intensive mining
  • Battery recycling is complex and difficult
  • Tyres wear out faster due to increased weight and torque

EVs can be more environmentally friendly than traditional petrol or diesel vehicles but the environment is still harmed by battery production and disposal, charging, and multiple manufacturing processes.

To make these cars as environmentally friendly as possible, many issues remain to be addressed.

Time will tell if more innovation enables us to overcome the difficulties associated with EV production, end-of-life recycling, charging times, and sustainable energy sources.

The Move to Electric Vehicles

The move to cleaner vehicles is gaining more traction than ever with the UK banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans after 2030.

The ban on hybrid sales is due to come into effect in 2035.

How many electric car charging stations are there?

The number of locations where electric cars can be charged is expanding quickly, and those who are fortunate enough to have off-street parking can have private charge points installed to give them even more options.

According to Zap Map, at the end of January 2023, there were 37,851 electric vehicle charging points across the UK, in 22,355 charging locations. This represents an increase of just under a third in the total number of charging points since January 2022. 1

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

The kilowatts (kW) rating of a charger's power output determines how quickly it can charge an EV. Many electric vehicles can be fully charged in under an hour, and in some cases minutes, using quick and ultra-rapid chargers.

How far can electric vehicles travel after only one charge?

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) don't deliver the same sort of range as standard cars since batteries are heavy and heavier cars are less efficient than lighter ones.

Drivers of petrol and diesel cars may be used to travelling 500 miles before filling up but, with an average car trip being under 10 miles, a BEV is still a viable option for many people.

Grants and Incentives

Although the electric car grant is no longer available, other possibilities could benefit companies and their employees.

EV Salary Sacrifice Scheme

This can be a great option if you want an EV and your employer offers a salary sacrifice scheme. 

The way it works is that you select a car from a list of vehicles approved by your employer, and your employer then leases the EV you’d like from a third-party supplier. A pre-tax percentage of your salary is automatically deducted every month to cover the repayments on the car.

Things like servicing and insurance are typically included as part of the scheme and the EV can be used for private or business purposes. You’ll have to pay what’s called Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax, but this is negligible for EVs.

EV Chargepoint Grant

People living in apartments or rental properties are eligible for an EV chargepoint grant, which covers £350 or 75% of the cost of purchasing and installing the socket (whichever is lower). Landlords can also apply for finance to install charging stations at their properties.

If you have a qualifying electric car and off-street parking, an authorised Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) installer can apply for the grant on your behalf.

Important Role of EV Production in the UK

2022 was a volatile time for UK car production but, despite the challenges, UK factories managed to turn out 234,066 battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid (HEV) electric vehicles.

Combined volumes were up 4.5% year-on-year to represent nearly a third (30.2%) of all car production. Total BEV production rose 4.8%, with hybrid volumes up 4.3%.

Fresh SMMT analysis confirms the increasingly important role of electric vehicle production in the UK economy, especially the value of exports.

Since 2017, the value of BEV, PHEV and HEV exports has risen seven-fold, from £1.3 billion to more than £10 billion. As a result, electrified vehicles now represent 44.7% of the value of all UK car exports, up from a mere 4.1%.

BEVs, in particular, are critical to the future prosperity of the UK, with their export value up more than 1,500%, from £81.7 million to £1.3 billion. 2

Which Type of Electric Vehicle Is Best?

When it comes to choosing an electric car, hybrid, or plug-in hybrid vehicle, you may be wondering which type is best for different types of drivers.

If you’re thinking of buying one, it’s important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each type of vehicle. That way, you’re going to find the one that suits your needs and budget perfectly.

Electric cars

Electric cars are the most efficient option. This type of vehicle is ideal for drivers who usually only make short trips, such as commuting to work or running errands.

EVs also have the largest range of all electric vehicles, so drivers who travel longer distances can use them. However, fully electric cars may take a while to charge so, if you’re in a hurry, you might have to wait a while before you can hit the road.

Hybrid cars

HEVs offer a balance between electric and petrol or diesel power. These vehicles can run on both electricity and petrol, making them better at handling long trips than electric cars.

Another benefit of hybrid electric cars is that they are more affordable than fully electric models, so if you’re on a budget you might find them a better option.

Plug-in hybrid cars

Plug-in hybrids are a great choice if you need a vehicle that can handle a mix of short and long trips. They run on both electricity and petrol, and they have a larger battery capacity than hybrids, so can travel further on a single charge.

PHEVs also offer more efficiency than traditional vehicles, which makes them a great option for drivers who want to save money on fuel costs. The biggest downside to plug-in hybrids is that they cost more to buy than conventional cars.

Every type of electric vehicle has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to work out what your individual needs are before making a decision.

To sum up, fully electric cars are best for short trips, hybrid electric vehicles are a good option if you’re on a tight budget, and plug-in hybrids are ideal if you need to travel both short and long distances.

Should You Buy a Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid or  Electric Car?

When it comes to choosing between an electric, hybrid or plug-in hybrid car, it really comes down to personal preference.

If you're looking to minimise your environmental impact, an electric car is probably the best choice.

If you're looking for a town car that reduces your costs, a hybrid or plug-in hybrid car is a great option.

Before you decide, do your research and consider all the relevant factors. We always recommend that you try before you buy. So, if you’re looking for an EV, HEV or PHEV, get in touch to arrange a test drive.

[Book a Test Drive]

Electric Vehicles Are the Future

With the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles to be banned from 2030, buying an electric vehicle now will put you ahead of the curve.

If you’d like to learn more, please give our helpful team a call or pop into the showroom.


  1. Zap Map statistics January 2023.
  2. SMMT calculations based on HMRC and SMMT data and covering the period 2017-2022.


Rob JONES More than one year ago
I have been involved with electric vehicles for 12 years mainly vans and now large trucks. Very good explanation of cars options available, however you don’t explain the use of DC ( fast charging ) and normal AC charging.
Richard Stephen Billington More than one year ago
The charging infrastructure in this country is pathetic and not keeping pace with demand. This, combined with the fact that many chargers are not being maintained properly results in a very poor service for EV drivers.
Add your comments
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. JT Hughes makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. JT Hughes will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information.JT Hughes will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. JT Hughes does not share personal information with third-parties nor does JT Hughes store information collected about your visit for use other than to analyze content performance through the use of cookies, which you can turn off at anytime by modifying your Internet browser’s settings. JT Hughes is not responsible for the republishing of the content found on this blog on other Web sites or media without permission. JT Hughes reserves the right to edit or delete any comments submitted to this blog without notice due to; 1. Comments deemed to be spam or questionable spam 2. Comments including profanity 3. Comments containing language or concepts that could be deemed offensive 4. Comments that attack a person individually. This policy is subject to change at anytime.
Favourites (0)
You have selected no used cars as favourite.