Top Tips for buying an Electric Car16 March, 2022
Are all hybrid cars created equal?
Within the hybrid range of cars, there are different types so before you start it pays to know the differences between your hybrid
(HV), a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and a mild-hybrid (MHEV)! The jargon alone can be enough to put you off, but don’t be scared –
it’s all quite simple really!
Choose the one most suitable for your lifestyle. Do you regularly drive long distances or are you more city/town based? Budget will
also come into it as will your choice if you want to lower your emissions – not all hybrids are created equally in that regard!
With traditional hybrids (HVs) sometimes also referred to as self-charging hybrids, there is no need to plug them in. The electric
power is there to support the fuel engine and not replace it. You will find that with city driving the car will mostly run on electric
power, making them more economical than your typical petrol or diesel car.
So what about plug-in hybrids (PHEVs)?
These are a hybrid with a much bigger battery and a socket. The idea is that you plug them
in and can be driven for a certain mileage on electric power alone like your day-to-day local driving such shopping, school runs etc.,
with zero local emissions, but you still have a petrol or diesel engine if you want to go on a longer journey. Like a pure electric
vehicle you’ll also need to have some other form of off-street parking so that you can get a charging box fitted.
A mild-hybrid (MHEV) is very similar to a hybrid car, but with a smaller battery. They drive just like a “normal” car in that it can’t
drive on battery power alone. The battery is there to help the petrol or diesel engine perform more economically like when coasting
or accelerating. While a mild hybrid doesn’t offer the same level of benefits or lower emissions as a full hybrid or plug-in hybrid, the
mild hybrid’s smaller battery means the initial purchase cost is lower.
So to summarise! A mild-hybrid uses the electric motor to assist the engine. A hybrid has a larger electric motor and battery than a
mild hybrid. A full hybrid can power the car using the electric motor for short distances and recharges its battery using the engine
or through braking. A plug-in hybrid can be recharged by plugging it into a charging station. A plug-in hybrid offers a greater pure
electric range because of the larger battery and electric motor. A plug-in hybrid should meet the daily commuting needs of many
people and families.
Which are best – Electric or Hybrid cars?
Okay, so you’re now familiar with the different types of hybrid options out there. Now to ask which is best for you – an Electric Car
or Hybrid Car? Well that all depends on how much and how far you drive, where you live, your environmental aspirations to be a
green as possible, and of course your budget.
Are you more familiar with the motorways of Ireland than you’d like to be? Then you’re probably worried about experiencing ‘range
anxiety’ if you choose an electric car! This is changing though as newer electric car models have improved range and rapid public
charging points are improving. Today the average electric vehicle will do about 350km per charge and some will do much more.
Longer journeys will take a little more planning however, so if you enjoy making a plan you should be ok – as long as the public
chargers are working and you can charge at your destination. For the more impromptu, off-road, last minute types a pure electric
vehicle may not be best suited!
Another consideration before you choose an electric car is where you live – you really need to have a driveway or some other form of
off-street parking, so that you can get a charging box fitted to your house and charge overnight. Grants are available to offset the
cost of installation – see more below.
If you’re buying an electric car it is exactly what it says on the tin – it runs purely on electric power and you’ll definitely be hitting
your low driving emissions target. So if you’re city or town based, stay relatively local, and are green-minded then an electric car
could be for you.
Will I save money with an electric car?
While fully electric cars (for now) are more expensive to buy, they are massively cheaper to run than diesel or petrol cars. They are
cheaper to service, have less wear and tear both due to fewer moving parts, and are cheaper to fuel. While you will pay for the
electricity, and be prepared to see an increase in your electricity bill, this is offset by a large reduction or complete elimination of a
petrol or diesel bill.
Likewise, your motor tax will also be much cheaper, or none at all if you live in Northern Ireland! In the Republic of Ireland Road
tax is calculated on the emissions level of your vehicle, so an electric battery vehicle falls into the lowest bracket. Currently, motor
tax for an electric car is just €120 a year. In Northern Ireland pure electric vehicles qualify for free road tax.
Other savings include reduced tolls for low emission vehicles, while some insurance companies also offer discounts on electric cars
so be sure to do your homework on this.
Can I get a loan for an electric car?
Yes. We love to see our local community do their bit for the environment and are more than willing to give loans for electric cars
(subject to terms and conditions). Interested in one of the more expensive electric cars? No problem!
We will always work with borrowers to structure loan repayments in a way that suits their financial circumstances best. Terms are
straightforward and transparent, with no hidden charges or admin fees.