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petrol vs diesel vs hybrid vs electric

The right engine type for you: Petrol vs Diesel vs Hybrid vs Electric

What is the right engine type for you?

There are plenty of different options currently when it comes to what you want to power your next vehicle. From a diesel or petrol engine to a hybrid or full electric car, your decision might be based on several factors. We outline some of the most common reasons why drivers choose each type of vehicle to help you make up your mind about what is right for you.

Why choose a diesel car?

Modern diesel cars are cleaner in terms of emissions than older models were, but there is no getting around that they are being gradually phased out of production in the lead up to 2030. Some of the main reasons why drivers are still choosing diesel vehicles right now are:

  • Those with high annual mileage. Diesels often give great fuel economy on longer drives with lots of motorway miles.
  • Those who often tow trailers or caravans. Diesel engines usually offer large amounts of torque.

Why choose a petrol car?

New petrol cars will also be banned from sale in the UK from 2030, but in the meantime, they can be an ideal option for those with low to moderate annual mileage, as they generally offer good fuel economy about town and of course are also suited to motorway driving too.

Turbo petrol engines are closing the gap somewhat towards the performance and towing power of some diesels and often compare favourably when it comes to purchase price. The price at the pump currently also means that petrol cars tend to be more cost effective to run, although don’t necessarily offer the same fuel economy on regular long distance drives.

Why choose a hybrid car?

It’s a little misleading to lump all cars using hybrid technology under one banner, as there are several different types of hybrid that offer various benefits.

Mild hybrids are cars that have an electric motor that assists the petrol or diesel engine when accelerating, but the car is not powered by electricity and cannot run without it’s standard engine being used. The small battery that powers the electric motor is recharged by the engine as it runs and therefore you don’t have to plug in this type of car. Mild hybrids offer fuel savings as they help the combustion engine run more economically, but the car essentially drives in the same way as a standard petrol or diesel and they can come with manual or automatic gearboxes.

Full hybrids are cars with an electric motor that can power the car entirely for very short distances. The hybrid system engages to assist the standard petrol or diesel engine when slowing down, stationary or when first pulling away, and the combustion engine kicks in when accelerating and driving normally. Full hybrids don’t need plugging in to charge and offer more significant fuel savings than mild hybrids, but they still need the standard car engine to run and have automatic transmission.

Plug-in hybrids offer more fully electric-powered driving, usually somewhere between 15 and 50 miles of range, before the petrol or diesel engine needs to take over. This means that short journeys can be done without needing the engine at all, enabling zero emissions driving. They come with automatic transmission and offer the benefits of having a standard engine for longer journeys, whilst still offering electric-powered driving for many drivers’ day to day needs.

Why choose a full electric car?

Electric vehicles rely fully on their electric drivetrain and battery to run, so they always offer 100% zero emission driving. Depending on the make and model of EV you choose, they have a driving range of anywhere between about 80 miles to upwards of 300 miles on a single charge. Most EV drivers will charge their vehicles at home with a charger installed at their property, but for those without off-street parking or who travel further on a round trip than their car’s range allows, there is a public charging infrastructure which now has more than 35,000 chargers over 13,000 locations across the UK. The charging time depends on the level of power available with the charger and the size of the car’s battery, but many super-fast chargers can charge an electric vehicle from 0-80% in around 30-50 minutes.

Electric cars are often suited to those who drive mainly around towns or cities, though are also fully capable of driving on motorways and longer trips too. As more EVs are on our roads, the charging infrastructure is also expected to grow to keep pace with demand.

Speak to your local Hatfields retailer if you want more information about any of our models or engine types. Why not take a look at our top picks for the best eco-friendly drives for towns and cities in 2021?