Bridging the gap between a conventional fuelled car and a fully electric car, there are many benefits to leasing a hybrid car.
To help you better understand the advantages and disadvantages of leasing an hybrid, Nationwide Vehicle Contracts has put together a comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about leasing a hybrid vehicle.
Often seen as a stepping stone between a traditionally fuelled car and a fully electric vehicle, a hybrid vehicle combines an internal combustion engine (petrol or diesel) and an electric motor to power the vehicle. Typically, in a hybrid, the electric engine powers the car at lower speeds and the gas engine powers it at higher speeds. There are three different types of hybrids available in the UK: mild hybrid (MHEV), full hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
While a hybrid vehicle may not be as environmentally friendly as a pure electric vehicle (EV), they are significantly cleaner than a traditional gasoline powered vehicle thanks to their twin powered engine. In a hybrid, the electric motor and the gasoline engine work together to reduce fuel consumption and conserve energy, making them cleaner than a diesel or petrol fuelled car.
Driving a hybrid is similar to driving a conventional automatic car, so there’s little compromise on performance. Most modern hybrids also offer a choice of driving modes too, ranging from eco to power, enabling the driver to choose maximum efficiency or performance depending on the driving conditions.
Whether you opt for a Full Hybrid (also known as a self-charging hybrid) or a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), you never need to worry about range anxiety when driving a hybrid vehicle. Unlike an electric car which needs electricity to run, if you run out of electric power in a hybrid vehicle, the internal combustion engine kicks in, meaning you’ll never be stranded whilst looking for a charge point.
Whilst tax incentives for hybrid vehicles, particularly PHEVs, aren’t as good as they used to be, hybrid vehicles still offer significant tax benefits, especially for company car drivers. Company car drivers still pay less Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) tax than drivers of petrol or diesel cars and vehicles emitting less than 75g/km also qualify for London congestion charge exemption.
When driving in electric mode, hybrid vehicles offer a quieter, often smoother drive than their conventional petrol or diesel counterparts. At lower speeds, particularly when driving around towns or in busy cities, engine noise is almost entirely eliminated, making for an all-round more peaceful environment, for both driver and passengers.
Although the gap is narrowing, hybrids cars can be more expensive to buy or lease than a regular diesel or petrol vehicle thanks to their technology. Purchase prices for hybrid cars can be around 20% higher than for their non-hybrid petrol and diesel equivalents, although some of this cost can be offset with lower running costs, reduced road tax rates and tax exemptions.
The location of the battery pack in a hybrid car can often result in less-than-ideal weight distribution in the vehicle, which in turn, can affect handling. As such, a hybrid car can sometimes feel less agile on the road than a non-hybrid version with drivers often feeling the additional weight through the steering wheel. This is why many hybrids are suited for city driving more than speed and acceleration.
With both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor to maintain, hybrid vehicles generally cost more to repair than that of a petrol or diesel fuelled vehicle. In addition to higher maintenance costs, not all garages are also equipped to service or repair a hybrid car due to the technology found in the vehicle so drivers may have to visit their local dealership to have the vehicle serviced.
For a hybrid vehicle to truly be cost efficient, the vehicle needs to run in electric mode whenever possible to reduce fuel consumption. While most hybrids can achieve this when driving at low speeds around town, the electric range on many hybrids is still limited, with most PHEVs achieving an electric range of 30-35 miles before needing to be recharged and many Full Hybrids running on electric power for only just a few miles at relatively low speeds.
While almost every manufacturer now offers a hybrid version in their model line-up, lead times for hybrid vehicles can be significantly longer than their petrol or diesel counterparts. Delivery times for PHEV models can range from 10 weeks to six months, with lead times set to increase further as demand for hybrid increases. That said, you still may be able to bag a bargain on an in stock lease car.