Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

Electric vs Hybrid – Which is Best for your Business Fleet?

You roll up to the fuel station, fill up the tank and off you go. It’s second nature, so there is bound to be a degree of trepidation when considering the switch to hybrid or electric. Even those who know it’s better for the planet might not have the cash, or a place to plug-in at home. The result?

Procrastinate and continue fuelling the old diesel.

There is good news though. In 2023, technology continues to improve for both vehicles and batteries, but what are the differences? How do you know which is best for you?

What’s the Difference Between Electric and Hybrid Vehicles?

Firstly, let’s talk about emissions. A hybrid has a petrol or diesel engine to support the battery, so the pure EV is obviously the winner in this area. That said, either option is an improvement, but the choice between an EV and a hybrid will be influenced by your personal situation.

Pure EVs can only be charged through a chargepoint, and logistically this can be challenging. People may not be able charge the vehicle at home, and companies might lack the infrastructure to charge onsite. Whilst there are government grants to assist with both scenarios, the charging conundrum remains a barrier to entering the electric vehicle market.

On the other hand, hybrid vehicles charge while they are being driven, and that makes them a popular choice for many.

What About ULEVs? 

It would be great to imagine that one day all new vehicles are zero emission, but it isn’t quite that easy.

Put simply, the term ULEV is a catch-all for Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles. Any vehicle that emits 75g/km CO2 or less falls into this category.

Under this umbrella there are three types of electric vehicles:

  • Pure electric vehicles (EVs) are powered wholly by a battery which is charged from the mains. Increasing numbers of vehicles now have a range of over 300 miles on a single charge.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) offer the best of both worlds, combining an electric motor with an internal combustion engine. The battery range is much lower than that of a pure EV, typically 20-30 miles. On longer trips, or to serve as a boost, the engine kicks in to power the vehicle.
  • Extended-range electric vehicles (E-REVs) are similar to pure EVs, and some can travel up to 150 miles on a single charge. The point of difference is the ICE generator that can charge the battery when necessary. The ICE generator doesn’t power the vehicle, but it’s a worthy back-up for peace of mind.

Also in this category are hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Currently, the cost of them in the UK is high and there isn’t a framework of fuelling stations to support them anyway. It’s early days, but car manufacturers are investing in this area; expect to see more HFEVs in the future.

What’s Best for Me?

Compared to buying a car historically, there are more things to think about, but essentially it’s still about what works for you. If you’re an individual looking for a new vehicle, visit dealerships, take a test drive, and enjoy it!

Fleets are more complex, but there’s a wealth of information out there. Fleet leasing companies have cost of ownership tools which enable you to look at affordability and performance, and this offers the advantage of comparing several vehicles in one report. Even if you’re thinking of outright purchase, these tools are great to provide projected cash flow insight.

Overall, the EV sector and the essential 21st Century start-ups who provide infrastructure support and EV fleet switching services are here to stay. As time goes by, more second-hand electric vehicles will become available, charging points will be in abundance, and switching to electric will become easier.

But for now, your choice of EV or Hybrid will be influenced by your needs and where you live. Buying a carmay not be as easy as it was ten years ago, but your choice to go greener is a good one.

The planet will thank you.