With rising energy fuel costs and bills in 2022, it’s more important than ever to budget your expenditure and, if you still have an old vehicle with high CO2 emissions, then it may be time to swap it for a new greener alternative. There are plenty of reasons why you should convert to a greener, environmentally friendly car, including:
• reduce CO2 emissions
• contribute to making our air cleaner
• enhance your vehicle’s economy and spend less on fuel
• save money on Congestion/Clean Air Zone fees
When selecting a green car, you’ll want to be informed on what technology is available to you, as well as who can offer such advancements. Change may be feared by some, but others will drive it, and are looking right away to zero-emissions vehicles. Others may not be quite ready yet, but are considering part exchanging their current vehicle for a hybrid of some sorts.
Hybrid and electric car technology is new to everyone, so don’t fret if you’re finding any information flying your way a tad confusing – let’s break down what’s on offer.
Mild hybrid vehicles
Think of this like the entry-level form of hybrid vehicles – the smallest form of electrified assistance, mild hybrids use kinetic energy from braking and accelerating to power an electric motor that assists the combustion engine – similar to how a turbocharger can aid an engine. Suzuki, for instance, uses mild-hybrid technology in a many of its models, such as the Swift and S-Cross.
Full/self-charging hybrid vehicles
Full hybrids – also known as self-charging hybrids – are powered by a combustion engine with the aid of an electric motor. Although they may appear similar to mild hybrids, the main difference is a larger battery, and the electric motor can work independently and seamlessly between its itself and the ICE. Toyota’s line of vehicles such as the Yaris, Corolla, C-HR, and RAV4 all utilise this form of hybrid technology, and performs in a way that the motor is self-charged by the combustion engine, so there’s no need to plug in externally.
Plug in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs)
A plug-in hybrid car – also known as PHEV – is a halfway house between solely combustion and full electric. Working in a similar fashion to a full hybrid, a plug-in hybrid offers a bit more, in that they can offer pure electric driving for several miles to give you zero emissions for shorter trips. You’ll find that a PHEV can run for about 30-60 miles on electric power alone before the combustion engine needs to kick in. To charge the battery, you’ll need to plug into an external power source, whether that be at home or on the move, and will usually take several hours to get the battery back to 100%. Charge points are constantly being installed at a variety of locations across the UK, including supermarkets. Just find a charge point and leave the car charging whilst you do your shopping or other errands.
The Volvo V60 Recharge is one example of a PHEV and offers a strong 2.0-litre engine in combination with a powerful electric motor, with the potential to return 353mpg and 56 miles on its electric-only range.
Pure electric vehicles (EVs)
If you’re looking to go full-on zero emissions, the only way to achieve this is by going full-electric. Such vehicles run solely on electric motors – there are no cylinders, no pistons, and most importantly, no fuel burning and no exhaust fumes as a result. This is what the future of motoring looks like, especially as we drive towards government targets such as the UK’s 2030 protocol to ban sales of new cars with combustion engines.
EVs will offer a slightly different driving experience to what we’re currently used to. Electric vehicles run on a single gear, so no manual or automatic changes are made whilst on the move, and electric motors offer up quite a bit of torque to give an extra bit of push when accelerating.
You’ll be able to find many EVs already on the market from the likes of Peugeot, Vauxhall, Ford, Mercedes, and Audi – each EV offers a slightly different amount of range which will depend on the size of the battery and other technology implemented. How fast a motor can be charged will also depend on the components utilised.
So for now, they’re our three options when it comes to choosing a greener car – however, as time goes on, we’ll look more and more to the prospect of having a fully-electric vehicle on our driveways to ensure we move towards some much needed targets and clean up the world we live in.