Hybrid Car Leasing - The Facts & FAQs...

Looking for an “eco” car lease? Considering electric car leasing? Well, you are not on your own.

The “electric revolution” has firmly kicked in for 2019 and this is set to be a break through year for automotive customer buying habits. Already perceptions towards anything electric/PHEV and hybrid have changed dramatically.

So why is this? Is it company car tax changes? Congestion charge/low emission charge updates? The increasing presence online/press for manufacturers advertising their alternative product? The answer is that it is probably a mix of all these things and with focus being on economic/political issues in light of our European debacle, the growth of this type of vehicle is a welcome change.

As all of this is such a wide-ranging (and detailed) subject, we will target the different components of eco vehicles, rather than try to cover everything in a biblical format. To start simply – what is a hybrid vehicle? What are the differences between the eco/electric vehicles? For anyone starting out their electric journey, perhaps visiting the Government’s latest venture – GoUltraLow (https://www.goultralow.com/) may be worthwhile. For customers looking at a hybrid vehicle, they are considering a vehicle which uses both a conventional combustion engine (petrol or diesel) and an electric motor. The electric element can work in conjunction with the combustion element to provide additional power or, if required, operate on the electric element independently for a very short period of time (covering low speeds). This is not a technological revolution; indeed a hybrid engine has been in place for a number of years – many Toyota drivers have been enjoying this set-up via the Prius. While much of the focus has been on petrol hybrid options, there is investment into diesel too.

So charging a hybrid is a huge inconvenience? Be careful. This is where you need to correctly identify and separate the different technologies in an “eco” car; they are not all the same. A stand-alone hybrid does not use external charging points. By this, we mean that you are not required to “plug-in” the vehicle to an electric source. You will note cars at motorway service stations, supermarket car parks and at work which have a lead running from the car into a charging point. This is because these are either a pure electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). There are now a number of companies offering charging stations for home and business-use, including:

Rolec - https://bit.ly/2v1sOxu
Pod Point - https://bit.ly/2DbcU7P
EV Chargers - https://bit.ly/2G9LuDx

However, with a hybrid vehicle, there is no such requirement. The battery element of the vehicle will charge as the vehicle moves forward and it brakes (this is a process known as regenerative braking). Therefore, a hybrid will operate efficiently when it is regularly accelerating and braking. As the vehicle is not limited by a battery, many drivers will go for this type of vehicle because there is no “range-anxiety”. With a pure electric vehicle, the car will only operate when the battery has sufficient charge; if the battery does not have charge the car does not work. Because of the limited capacity of a battery (150-250 miles), this type of car may not be suitable for every driver – particularly those covering high-mileages. A hybrid is not limited by the electric component and the driver need not plug-in this vehicle to ensure they are getting the most out of the vehicle.

Why are hybrids popular? As noted above, the hybrid is the least time consuming of all the eco-vehicles. There are no home charging unit costs, overnight charging concerns or excessive leads/equipment. For a company car driver, there is a benefit to using this type of vehicle, so long as the car policy/budget allows. For anyone using a company car, a driver must pay company car tax/Benefit in Kind (BiK) – there is no such thing as a free car! The way that the tax is calculated involves taking the car’s P11d value (its list price plus Vat and any accessories added), the cars CO2 (measured as g/km) and your income tax bracket. As an emissions-based regime, the more polluting a car is, the higher the level of tax will be. For example, for the tax year 2018-19 a car emitting CO2 of 51-75 g/km would incur BiK at 16% whereas a car at 120g/km would incur 25%. Very quickly you can see that hybrid technology can offer substantial savings compared to a diesel or petrol alternative. Jump forward to 2020/21 and cars emitting zero CO2 (and which can travel 130 miles or more) will incur 2% BiK. This where habits might change toward pure electric options.

Why shouldn’t I go for a hybrid vehicle? While a hybrid vehicle can offer the driving performance of a combustion engine, this is more suitable for those with urban-style conditions (stop/start and low speeds). For high-mileage drivers, covering 20,000 miles plus, this may not offer the MPG which you, or the business, needs. Additionally, for any driver which is particularly environmentally-minded, they need to understand that the electric element is limited – you will only travel up to a mile on pure electric charge. Additionally with company car tax changes and emission charges changes, the hybrid might not present the most economical solution for you based on a whole-life costs analysis.

What hybrid cars should I consider?

There is a healthy list of options including:

Ford Mondeo (hybrid)
Hyundai Ioniq (hybrid)
Kia Niro (hybrid)
Lexus CT
Lexus UX
Lexus IS
Lexus NS
Lexus RC
Toyota C-HR
Toyota Prius
Toyota Rav4
Toyota Yaris

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