Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Car Leasing - The Facts & FAQs

As we have been reviewing recently, choosing the right kind of fuel for your next car is becoming as equally important as the actual car/manufacturer itself. In this scenario our customer, who covers 15,000-20,000 miles per annum, was enquiring about the right fuel choice and the corresponding costs (we try to work out the whole life costs). Contrary to the news of 2017/18, running a diesel car is not a sin; the lessons learned are that we need to give due consideration and thought to the type of cars we select and that we must ensure they are suitable for our needs and requirements. For anyone covering high-mileages, particularly in excess of 20,000 miles, a diesel vehicle is still the right choice. For those drivers looking at longer motorway/higher speed travelling, the diesel vehicle will produce the most cost-effective outcome. So what about some alternative fuels – would a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (the PHEV) not assist?

The PHEV has become a much more topical car since it started to emerge in 2012, in particular for those using a company car. Using similar technology to the hybrid, the PHEV offers bigger battery capacity (but which is smaller than a pure electric vehicle). This allows the vehicle to be driven for a modest amount of time on its electric element – 15 to 30 miles depending on the make and model. Much of the PHEVs on the road are the Mitsubishi Outlander, a petrol SUV option which has been incredibly well received by UK customers. The latest (and most exciting) developments are the introduction of a diesel PHEV; the Mercedes E300de is one such model. The diesel component is aimed to provide much better MPG for those high-mileage drivers while the battery component can assist for the urban-style driving.

What needs to be made clear is that a PHEV needs to be directly charged via an external source. As mentioned 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

We cannot stress enough that a PHEV needs to be charged effectively in order to get the most out of the electric capability. Too often you will hear about customer covering long journeys and complaining that the vehicle does not provide the quoted MPG. In some situations this is because they are either not charging the vehicle properly, or at all. So how do I charge a PHEV? The driver has the choice of using a standard mains socket or a dedicated home charging point. For those with off-street parking, a home charging point is always the quickest and safest way in which you can charge the battery. Some vehicle manufacturers may offer a grant of up to £500 towards the cost of installation for eligible customers (using an accredited supplier). How long does it take to charge a PHEV? This will depend on the capacity of the car/battery and the power output of your charging unit. For drivers using a standard household plug, this will take approximately 5-6 hours. For those with a dedicated home charging unit, this will take 3-4 hours depending on the output (there is a choice of between a 3.6KW (16Amp) or a 7.2KW (32Amp) option). There are a growing volume of fast charging points and rapid charging units which could do this in less than 30 minutes.

The PHEV produces some amazing CO2 and combined MPG statistics, this is why the company car user (specifically high-mileage ones) are so interested in using one. However, as per above, consider the obligations on you for charging this properly. As a company car driver, the main advantage is that the improved position on CO2, often 40-75g/km, means lower BiK exposure. Additionally, as the vehicle has a combustion engine (petrol or diesel), there is no “range anxiety”. Once the vehicle runs out of charge, the engine will continue to operate.

So is a PHEV the perfect solution to your motoring concerns? Not exactly. A PHEV will not be able to offer pure electric for more than 15-30 miles. For environmentally-minded customers, this may not be suitable. For those affected by congestion and low emission charge zones, the CO2 may not be enough to achieve 100% discounts. You also have to consider that a PHEV will be more expensive than a combustion engine equivalent. For personal users, the reduced running costs may balance this. However, for company car users on a rental banding/budget, the PHEV may not be affordable. For high-mileage drivers, the PHEV may not be ideal if this is an inefficient petrol engine and the driver is not adept to charging the car properly.

SO which PHEV leasing options should I consider? There are a healthy list of vehicles for you, or the company, to review, including:

· BMW 225xe

· BMW 330e

· BMW 530e

· Hyundai Ioniq (PHEV)

· Kia Niro (PHEV)

· Kia Optima (PHEV)

· Mercedes E300de

· Mercedes S560e

· Mini Countryman PHEV

· Mitsubishi Outlander (PHEV)

· Range Rover Sport P400e

· Range Rover P400e

· Volkswagen Golf GTE

· Volkswagen Passat GTE

· Volvo V90 Hybrid

· Volvo XC60 Hybrid

· Volvo XC90 Hybrid

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