I have driven a number of cars powered by electricity over many years and looking at the developments which have occurred, I offer my opinion about what choice to make when buying a new car in 2022.
There are two entry level hybrids mild hybrid and hybrid.
Both can be powered by petrol but mild hybrids have a small battery which helps the engine to improve the economy and cut the emissions.
A full hybrid has a combination of battery and a conventional combustion engine which can work independently and therefore delivers improved fuel economy and can drive the car on electric power alone.
This has a battery which can be charged from a conventional three-pin plug but will take far longer than using a wall box which can be installed at home, and the Government will contribute £350 towards this.
The advantage of a plug-in is the electric range is typically between 20 and 50 miles which means you can avoid paying congestion charges in clean air zones.
It means those who use their cars primarily for commuting or low mileage journeys will use very little petrol.
There are also tax benefits for company car drivers.
Only pure electric cars qualify for the Government's plug-in grant of up to £1,500, providing their list price is under £32,000.
The Government will also contribute to the wall box as above.
The range achievable on many new electric cars has increased dramatically, up to over 300 miles, and further improvements are likely as we approach 2030.
The charging facilities around the country are not yet good enough and the Government has committed to more developments to keep pace with the expected increase in year-on-year sales.
There is a further benefit to company car drivers as in 2022 the benefit in kind will only be two per cent.
Which is right for you?
The majority of buyers will make the simple choice of a hybrid model which will probably be slightly more expensive than a conventional engine powered car but will give improved economy and allow them to continue with their current practise of filling up at their local petrol station and not have to worry about cables or the problem of charging their car if they have no off-road facility.
Those who use their cars primarily for short distances will benefit from using electric power and making savings on their petrol costs even although the cars will cost more. They should go for a plug-in hybrid.
Those who have concerns about charging in their areas and do not have confidence in the charging infrastructure and are making longer journeys may well find this a good half way solution.
They can fit a wall box at home and if they use up their electric power can continue to drive using petrol with no concerns or inconvenience.
There are still not enough charging stations and too many chargers are out of order or used by non-electric car owners who like the larger bays and are not penalised for using them.
Finally, for those who, like me, are determined to use pure electric vehicles there are many benefits and the quiet and smoothness makes driving a pleasure.
The important thing is to discuss your usage and your plan so that a likely range achievement can be computed taking into consideration, speed, climate, type of roads - more hills use more power - accessories enjoyed, and style of driving, to work out where and when you will need to recharge.
This will minimise your inconvenience until the charging infrastructure is improved and increase your pleasure.
Stay safe and keep smiling. I look forward to next week.
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