Ten of the best hy­brids

Not ready to go fully elec­tric? These cars will plug the gap...

Daily Express - - TOTAL EV -

Ditch­ing fos­sil fuel and go­ing cold turkey can be a step too far for some mo­torists but that’s where hy­brids plug the gap. They com­bine the ben­e­fits of an elec­tric car with the added peace of mind of a com­bus­tion en­gine to back things up if run­ning out of charge is some­thing you worry about.

They’re ideal for mo­torists who spend most of their time do­ing short jour­neys – which can be done us­ing elec­tric – but oc­ca­sion­ally need to go fur­ther, which is where the com­bus­tion en­gine can take over.

That said, there are sev­eral types of hy­brid to choose from and the choices can get a lit­tle con­fus­ing, so take a look at our jar­gon buster be­fore you buy.

The govern­ment of­fers var­i­ous in­cen­tives, with most of the hy­brid mod­els listed be­low fall­ing into ‘cat­e­gory two’ – which al­lows 35 per cent off the price of the car, up to a max­i­mum of £2,500. All prices are in­clu­sive of the govern­ment grant but those with an as­ter­isk be­side the price do not qual­ify.

JAR­GON BUSTER

Par­al­lel Hy­brid: Wheels pow­ered by elec­tric mo­tor and com­bus­tion en­gine. Can’t be plugged in to recharge. Bat­tery topped up by re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing and the com­bus­tion en­gine.

Pros: Of­ten cheaper than plug-in to buy, much bet­ter econ­omy in city-driv­ing than non-elec­tri­fied mod­els.

Cons: Can only be recharged by re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing/ coast­ing. Worse fuel econ­omy and emis­sions than plug-ins.

Range Ex­ten­der: Wheels are driven by the elec­tric mo­tor. How­ever, an in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine runs a gen­er­a­tor that keeps the bat­tery topped up.

Pros: Low-emis­sion driv­ing with no range anx­i­ety, zero-emis­sion driv­ing on shorter jour­neys.

Cons: Fuel econ­omy can be very poor if you don’t charge the bat­tery reg­u­larly your­self.

Plug-in Hy­brid: Works on the same prin­ci­ple as a par­al­lel hy­brid but the bat­tery can be recharged via a plug. Keep­ing the bat­tery topped up re­duces the time the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine is needed.

Pros: Very low run­ning costs, most mod­els are el­i­gi­ble for govern­ment green car grant.

Cons: Usu­ally more ex­pen­sive to buy. Mild Hy­brid: Small elec­tric mo­tor that can­not di­rectly drive the wheels. In­stead, it takes over func­tions such as the air con­di­tion­ing and in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem so the en­gine can be switched off when stopped, slow­ing or coast­ing.

Pros: Gives tra­di­tional en­gines slightly bet­ter fuel econ­omy.

Cons: Nowhere near as ef­fec­tive as par­al­lel or plug-in hy­brids.

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