Hybrid cars are quickly becoming a more popular choice of vehicle amongst drivers. Now more so than ever, we are conscious of how our everyday lives and choices affect our environment. Vehicles relying on fossil fuels are no longer a viable or responsible long-term solution for our driving needs, and electric plug-in vehicles are yet to fully convince us of their reliability and versatility in different terrains and journey-lengths.
We all want to be more green, yet switching straight from petrol or diesel to a fully electric vehicle can be quite a drastic change. However, there is a middle ground. Hybrid cars are eco-friendly enough to be environmentally conscious, whilst being economical and able enough, to get us consistently from point A to B.
Studies have shown that diesel fumes can be linked to up to 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year. Air pollution in the UK has also been linked to heart disease and lung problems.
What countries are doing
Many countries and car manufacturers have decided to take action when it comes to solely petrol and diesel-powered cars. Great Britain followed France’s decision to ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2040. Many environmentalists think this is too late however, Scotland are planning to do the same for 2032 and Denmark for 2030. Oxford are hoping to ban fossil-fuelled cars in time for 2020 on certain streets in the city centre. China have also claimed to ban the production of petrol and diesel vehicles in the “near future”.
In terms of the UK, this ban doesn’t mean all cars on the road from 2040 will be eco-efficient. Rather the production of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be stopped, and only hybrid or fully-electric vehicles will be available for purchase.
What car manufacturers are doing
Jaguar Landrover have announced they are halting the launch of any sole petrol or diesel-powered cars by 2020. JLR vehicles produce on average 164g per km of CO2 emissions, which is currently above the national average. This call to action to go green will go some way in meeting the regulation limit of 95g per km, set to be introduced in 2021.
BMW are also at the forefront of eco-efficient vehicles. They plan to have 25 fully electric or hybrid vehicles on the market in the UK by 2025, which are able to travel 435 miles at a time, which is roughly double the figure current electric vehicles are able to reach. Sales for BMW’s electric vehicles rocketed by 60% in 2017, with this figure set to keep increasing.
Big hitters are moving more and more towards electric and hybrid vehicles, for good reason. Not only are these more eco-conscious, but they are a premium vehicle, which in the long-term could return your investment due to lower fuel costs.
2040 may seem like a while away, yet these changes are happening for a purpose. There’s no harm in getting ahead of the game and switching to either an electric vehicle or even a hybrid for a more gradual change. Here at Mercury Cars, we’ll give you the rundown, on what benefits you could get from trading in your car, for a hybrid.
It’s no secret the main reasoning behind swapping a petrol or diesel car for a hybrid is to benefit the environment.
Hybrid cars use fuel-efficient engines to optimise fuel consumption, which reduces CO2 emissions. When hybrid cars are stationary, the engine is switched off, reducing fuel consumption. Electric cars have even lower CO2 emissions than hybrid vehicles, however, this can negatively affect performance, whilst also being more expensive.
Hybrid cars tend to use electric power when moving at lower speeds, then switch to the petrol or diesel engine at higher speeds. This makes them very adaptable, being eco-friendly enough to reduce CO2 emissions and reduce air-pollution, without reducing performance levels on the road. The electric engine, for example, struggles to match the performance of petrol or diesel engines when travelling at a higher speed.
Save money long-term
Although you may need to pay a bit of a premium, at first, for a hybrid vehicle compared to a petrol or diesel, over time you could see your investment pay off.
The first reason for this is due to the lower running fuel costs. The way the hybrid engine mechanisms work assist with this. When you brake in a hybrid vehicle, this actually recharges the battery of the electric battery. With a fully electric vehicle, you’d need to plug-in and pay for electricity, which is more expensive, inconvenient and can be environmentally damaging.
Another way a hybrid vehicle can save you money over the long-term is due to the falling price of electric batteries, and rising overall costs of fossil-fuel cars. Due to new regulations and increasing awareness and intention to reduce CO2 emissions, tax rates for petrol and diesel vehicles are set to increase in the coming years, as well as fuel costs. These are both reasons why a hybrid vehicle is a good compromise between fuel and electric.
Higher resale value
Hybrid vehicles currently have a higher resale value than petrol and diesel cars. This is due to the increase in demand for eco-friendly vehicles, as well as the fact they are seen as more premium and valued, than cars which run entirely off fossil fuels.
In 2018, sales for hybrid cars rose by 73%. This is staggering when the overall growth in new car registrations was just 3.4%. When compared to the figure of diesel vehicles falling by nearly 25%, this shows the growing popularity of greener vehicles, as opposed to their environmentally damaging counterparts.
From a study in 2018, results found 55% of UK motorists asked, would swap their diesel vehicle for a more eco-friendly car. Some claim this is due to the environmental factor, whereas others due to financial issues, with diesel taxes set to increase. Nevertheless, these results point towards hybrid vehicles, as the economic and environmental middle ground.
Shortfalls of 100% electric vehicles compared to hybrid cars
Besides the questionable performance levels of fully electric cars as previously discussed, there are also some ecological issues with these cars which need to be addressed.
The batteries for these electric vehicles pose an environmental hazard. Li-ion batteries are required for these vehicles to operate, which is estimated to produce 11 million tonnes of used batteries, which would be required to be recycled by 2030. This is no easy feat due to the highly flammable and reactive nature of lithium, which can often result in the used batteries simply being left in landfills, which is also harmful to the environment.
Even the process of producing lithium requires lots of energy and diesel fuel.
What More Can be Done
In Norway, the government have created incentives for consumers to go green and drive hybrids and fully electric vehicles. This has resulted in 52% opting for a fully electric or hybrid vehicle in 2017, and they hope to cut out petrol and diesel cars by 2025, 15 years sooner than the UK.
These combat many of the issues people face in the UK when it comes to trading for an eco-friendly vehicle.
First of all, performance aside, convenience is a major problem for drivers when deciding whether to go green. It is simply much easier for drivers to refuel petrol and diesel vehicles than recharge fully electric cars, whilst on the road. Norway have introduced free charging and parking stations, which aside from being accessible for drivers, also reduces fuel costs massively.
Other benefits for these vehicles include being able to use bus lanes and exemptions from certain road tolls.
These benefits are all due to the vehicle being more convenient or economical for the user, however, these still don’t solve the issue of performance for fully electric vehicles.
It is undeniable, steps are being taken in the right direction towards vehicles reducing their CO2 emissions and our carbon footprint. Figures for fossil-fuel reliant vehicles are decreasing and ecological alternatives are on the up.
100% electric vehicles would be ideal, yet these still come with their downfalls, whether it’s the price, performance or even the production process of batteries harming the environment.
This is all the more reason the demand for hybrids is on the up. We do need to start improving our carbon footprint, yet trading in performance for total eco-friendliness isn’t viable. One day fully electric vehicles will probably match the performance of petrol and diesel cars, perhaps in time for 2040 when the fossil-fuel ban comes into place in the UK. However, until this day, hybrid cars are a happy medium, between cost, performance and the environment.