Should I Get a Hybrid or an EV?

A comprehensive guide helping you choose between a hybrid or electric vehicle.

Last updated: Apr 24, 2024 12 min read


If you’re choosing between a hybrid and an electric vehicle (EV), an EV is the superior environmental option that is also future-proof.

Switching to a hybrid vehicle may be easier for people who are unsure about going fully electric. It’s still a better choice than a petrol or diesel car if you want to reduce your emissions.

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Key differences between a hybrid and an EV

If you’re looking to fully or partially power your driving with electricity, you currently have three options that allow you to use battery only or a mix of petrol or diesel fuel and battery power.

There’s battery electric which is 100% powered by a motor using electricity. Electric vehicles must be plugged into a power supply to charge the battery that moves the car.

The mild hybrid or plug-in hybrid system uses electricity and petrol or diesel fuel to move a vehicle. To make this combination work, a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) carries a combustion engine and an electric motor with a battery that is smaller than in an EV.

Similarly to an EV, a PHEV battery must be plugged in to charge. However, the range is lower than in fully electric cars, typically up to 50 miles. This makes plug-in hybrids better suited for short journeys.

Finally, the system using the least amount of battery power: full hybrid. A fully hybrid electric vehicle uses a combustion engine and an electric motor to generate movement.

The key difference to a PHEV is the even smaller battery that can’t be plugged in to charge. Instead, the battery is charged by energy generated from the combustion engine and braking, you’ll sometimes hear this referred to as regenerative braking.

Fully electric

Fully electric vehicles, sometimes also referred to as battery electric vehicles (BEVs), use electricity stored in a battery to generate movement. EVs must be charged, this can be done at home with a chargepoint, like the our Solo range or a 3-pin plug socket, or a public charger you may find at your workplace or in the supermarket car park.

The average distance they can drive on a single charge has more than doubled over the years, from around 100 miles in 2011 to 250 miles in 2024. Some top-spec models can even take you more than 400 miles in one go.

Fully electric vehicles are more popular than ever, with 315,00 EVs registered in 2023. That’s 18% more than in the year before.

Pros of a battery electric vehicle

The pros of BEVs in short:

  1. Incentives

  2. No road tax

  3. Lower running costs

  4. Better air quality

  5. Unique driving experience

Incentives for BEVs

If you own or use a BEV through leasing or because you have access otherwise, you may be able to get up to £350 off the cost of buying and installing a home charger.

This scheme is a great incentive for EV drivers, improving access to home charging which is conveniently located where you park and faster than using a 3-pin plug socket.

The electric vehicle chargepoint grant is available to people who live in a flat or rent a house and have private off-street parking. You need to meet additional criteria to be eligible, which you can find on the Government website.

In our guide to Government grants for electric vehicles, you can browse the full list of commercial and private grants available across the UK.

No road tax for BEVs

All battery electric vehicles currently pay £0 road tax.

From 1 April 2025, the rules around road tax will change. The £0 per year band A will be removed and vehicles in this band will be moved to band B at £20 per year. EVs registered in or after April 2017 will start paying the new Standard Rate of £180 per year.

While BEV drivers won’t be able to enjoy this tax benefit from April 2025, the lower cost associated with charging an electric car still brings the overall cost of owning and driving an EV down.

Read more about road tax rules and other key information in our comprehensive EV buying guide.

Lower cost to run a BEV

The cost of running an BEV is lower than the cost of running a petrol or diesel car.

You can take advantage of competitive electricity tariffs when you charge at home, such as tariffs offering cheaper pricing during off-peak times.

Plus, EVs cost less to service and maintain thanks to the electric motor and battery, which have fewer mechanical components that can fail or need to be replaced regularly.

We talk more about what costs you can expect when owning and running a battery electric car in our EV buying guide.

Better air quality thanks to BEV driving

Only battery electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions. This means they don’t emit harmful pollutants when the electric motor and battery are in use, contributing to better air quality.

Internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, and even plug-in hybrids and full hybrids, emit pollutants that worsen air quality. The particles and chemicals that make up pollution are linked to causing and worsening a number of health issues, including asthma, pneumonia and lung cancer.

Unique driving experience

BEVs offer somewhat of a unique driving experience. Because the delivery of power is instant from the battery to the electric motor, EVs accelerate rapidly.

Travelling in an EV is a much smoother and quieter experience compared to an ICE car. The lack of a combustion engine, gears and other moving parts means there is less vibration and noise.

In addition, many modern EVs come with great features like top-notch infotainment systems, in-built cameras and systems assisting the driver to prevent accidents.

Cons of a battery electric vehicle

The cons of BEVs:

  • Official vs actual range

  • Cost of buying

  • Charging

  • Constant innovation

Official range vs actual range of BEVs

You may find that the official range of a BEV doesn’t match up with the real-life range you get. Manufacturers use the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) to estimate the range of an electric vehicle.

While the WLTP range is more accurate than previous methods as it uses more real-world driving conditions, the actual range can be less depending on your driving style, temperatures and other factors.

Cost of buying a BEV

On average, battery electric vehicles cost more to buy than petrol or diesel equivalents.

If you drive a lot and prefer to own your car, buying an EV is still worth it financially. Lower charging, servicing and maintenance costs will bring the overall cost of owning an electric car down over time.

However, if you prefer to change your car up every few years, leasing may be the more affordable option to driving an EV. There are some super competitive leasing offers on the market, which bring the cost down to what you’d pay for a similar ICE car.

Find out more about leasing vs buying an EV in our helpful guide.

Charging a BEV

If you don’t have a driveway to park your car on, charging at home may be a bit tricky. But that doesn’t mean EVs aren’t for you! We’ve listed our best tips on how to charge your electric car when you don’t have a driveway, so you can still enjoy the benefits of a BEV

Constant innovation

The rate of innovation in the electric car industry is incredibly fast. While that’s great for widespread adaptation, as it makes EVs more attractive to more drivers, it also means that an EV that’s at the forefront of development today could be considered dated in just a few years.

If you want to enjoy the latest developments and keep up with the constant innovation, consider low commitment ownership options like leasing.

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Hybrid (mild and full)

Hybrid electric vehicles have a combustion engine and an electric motor, and are able to use both at the same time.

A full hybrid is a vehicle that uses petrol or diesel as the primary source of power. It has a small battery that repurposes the energy generated from braking and the combustion engine to charge. There’s no option to plug it in to top up the battery, so it always relies on fuel.

A mild hybrid, often also called plug-in hybrid vehicles or PHEVs work on the same principle of combining battery and fuel power to generate movement. The key difference is that a plug-in hybrid allows you to recharge its battery using a chargepoint or standard 3-pin plug socket.

Mild and full hybrids offer a relatively low electric range when compared to full battery electric vehicles.

Pros of a hybrid

The pros of a hybrid:

  • Familiarity

  • Improved efficiency

  • Reduced road tax

  • Towing abilities

  • Longer range

Familiarity of hybrids

If you’ve previously had an ICE car, driving a full or mild hybrid car will feel very familiar. You’ll still go to a petrol station to fill up the tank and don't rely on a charged battery to be able to drive.

Improved efficiency using a hybrid system

Hybrids offer improved efficiency as they employ a clever combination of electric and fuel power to propel a vehicle.

The use of regenerative braking plays a big part in reducing fuel consumption. It stores energy that would otherwise be lost during braking. This makes hybrid vehicles more efficient than petrol or diesel cars in city environments with frequent stop-stop traffic.

Reduced road tax for hybrids

A hybrid car may benefit from a reduced rate of road tax, although the rate is not at £0 as it is for an EV.

Hybrids registered after 1 April 20217 will pay between £0 to £120 of road tax in the first year and £170 per year from the second year onwards. That’s £10 less than an equivalent petrol or diesel car would pay.

There are extra charges for hybrids with a list price higher than £40,000. You can find more information in our road tax guide.


If you regularly tow a caravan or trailer, a full or mild hybrid may be the best option for you. It still offers some electric driving benefits while being able to tow relatively heavy loads.

Many EVs are not allowed to tow, and if they are, it’ll affect range as more energy is used to move additional weight, reducing the distance you can go. While a hybrid car is likely to have less towing capacity than an ICE car, it’ll certainly be more than an electric car can tow.

Longer range using fuel

On long journeys, a hybrid will likely take you further than an EV, although EV ranges are constantly increasing through improvements to battery technology. The improved fuel economy and primary use of a combustion engine makes hybrid vehicles more reliable when travelling long distances. Plus, you’ll have to stop less frequently to refill.

Cons of a hybrid

The cons of a hybrid:

  • Electric range

  • Cost of buying

  • Upcoming ban

  • Driving experience

  • Upcoming ban

Electric range of hybrids

Your electric range is extremely limited with a hybrid. You’ll only be able to travel 1 to 2 miles using the electric motor in a full hybrid and up to 50 miles in a mild hybrid.

A PHEV should be able to travel most short distances using battery power only, easily covering the average UK car trip of 8 miles.

Cost of buying a hybrid

Generally, hybrids cost more to buy than similar petrol or diesel cars. They’re also more expensive to drive on the motorway than diesel cars, because they’re less efficient in this driving scenario.

For example, the latest Vauxhall Astra with a petrol engine starts at a list price of £26,960. The PHEV version of this car is available from £37,935. That’s around £11,000 more than the traditional combustion engine version, and even more than the fully electric Astra.

Upcoming ban of hybrid cars

From 2035, the sale of new full and mild hybrid cars will be banned. This means you won’t be able to purchase a brand new hybrid, but can still buy and sell them second hand.

The ban could make hybrids less appealing to drivers and affect resale values.

Adapting to new charging habits

If you’re currently driving an ICE car, you’ll have to get used to charging your mild hybrid in addition to filling up the tank. It may seem like a small change, but it’s important, because a PHEV is most efficient when the battery is in use.

Not charging your battery and relying on the combustion engine only results in poorer fuel economy, because you’re carrying around a heavy battery without reaping its benefits.

Driving experience in a hybrid

The additional weight of the battery can affect the driving experience. Travelling in a hybrid isn’t uncomfortable, but it may feel less comfortable on rough terrain than in an ICE or electric car, because having the additional battery weight (on top of the engine) requires a firmer suspension. You may also notice that it’s more difficult to take corners than in other cars.

So should you get a hybrid or an EV?

Ultimately, we believe fully electric cars are the best option if your choice is between a hybrid or a battery electric vehicle. With zero emissions, they’re by far the superior environmental choice of EV, cost less to run and offer a pleasant driving experience.

If you’re thinking of getting an EV, check out our EV buying guide for advice on purchasing options, incentives and servicing.