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  • Mar 4, 2022

  • 7 min read


Why do drivers regret buying hybrids?

Recent research from the RAC shows that 90% of electric and hybrid drivers won’t make the switch back to petrol or diesel for their next car purchase.

Many drivers of electric cars will upgrade to the latest tech for their next set of wheels, so what car will hybrid drivers be upgrading to?

Petrol and diesel cars will be banned from sale from 2030, and hybrids will suffer the same fate in 2035. With the electric car market booming under growing appetite from eco-conscious drivers making the switch, we expect that more drivers will be choosing electric in the coming years.

Here are the top 5 reasons that some drivers regret buying a plugin hybrid car (PHEV) over an electric one.

1) Hybrids aren't as eco-friendly as they first appear

Early research on why drivers switch to hybrid, shows that “social influence and projecting a ‘green’ image were most important” factors in their purchase decision. With more research coming out on the real impact of hybrid cars on the environment, we expect that eco-conscious drivers who first made the switch to a hybrid will move on to an electric vehicle for their next car.

Research from Mitsubishi shows that “70% of Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV owners would now consider a fully electric vehicle for their next purchase…”. For many eco-conscious drivers, the plugin hybrid car is seen as a ‘stepping stone’ towards moving to an electric car in the future.

While drivers may feel that they're making ‘the eco choice’ with a hybrid car, they can actually be far more damaging to the environment than an electric car.

Research shows some concerning statistics on plugin hybrid vehicles and recent research shows that their impact is worse than official lab tests showed. The data from a range of studies across Europe by Transport & Environment, supported by Greenpeace, shows that “on average PHEVs emit more than two and a half times more CO2 when driven by car owners compared to the results of laboratory tests”.

2) Hybrids are inefficient

​​Because hybrids use both batteries and engines they're incredibly heavy.

Having both a battery and an engine in your car can increase the weight of your vehicle by a massive 300kg. That’s like having 3 extra rugby players in your car! Carrying so much extra weight means the hybrid car needs to use more energy to propel itself forward, which defeats the purpose of having an electric battery.

You can’t drive as far on electric with a hybrid. They offer between 20 - 40 miles on battery alone so you need to plug it in and charge up regularly to make the most out of the battery. Most hybrid batteries are only compatible with slow chargers, so they take longer to charge than an electric vehicle that can use rapid and fast chargers.

Pure electric cars are more aerodynamic, giving you more miles of travel while using less energy.

3) Hybrids have less internal space

A hybrid car is a halfway house between an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle and Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) so there can be compromises in their design.

Hybrid cars are normally designed in existing car shells, meaning engineers have to find space to store the battery. It usually ends up being stored in the boot or the rear footwell which takes up space inside the car that would normally be used for storage.

4) Hybrids are less safe

The amount of space inside the car can determine aspects of safety for drivers and passengers. The more space in a vehicle, the more the crash energy can be spread through the car if involved in a collision.

In a hybrid, the engine and all of its electrical components take up a lot of space in the front of the car. The large engine is more likely to come into the passenger compartment of the car in a forward impact, making them less safe than an electric car. Electric cars put their batteries in the floor making the whole structure of ​​the car stronger and less likely to roll in a collision.

In a forward impact, an electric car has much more space to turn into a ‘crumple zone’ which can make it safer than a hybrid car.

5) Hybrids cost more over the long run

When you choose a hybrid car you don’t get all the benefits of driving electric. You still have to pay for fuel, plus you have to pay for charging. The cost of driving a hybrid will almost always be higher across the car’s lifespan when compared to an electric car.

Using our Intelligent Octopus energy tariff you can expect to pay just 2.4p per mile in an electric car. With a hybrid, you'll also need to factor in the cost of fuel which costs on average 18p per mile.

A typical hybrid has thousands of moving parts, plus an electric battery, so there are more opportunities for things to go wrong. An electric car only has around 20 moving parts, so there's less opportunity for something to go wrong. Most electric cars also come with an 8-year warranty on the battery.

Electric car drivers get access to great tax savings, especially when they switch to an electric company car. Drivers who use an electric car through their company are currently only paying Benefit in Kind (BIK) tax of 2%. It's worth noting that this is set until April 2025, and from then, it'll increase by 1% each year until 2028. In contrast, a plugin hybrid typically attracts a BIK of around 13%, and for petrol or diesel cars it can be anywhere between 20-40%.

Is a hybrid or electric car right for me?

If you’re looking to reduce your running costs and carbon emissions whilst driving the latest tech on the road, an electric car is by far the best choice.

Hybrids are sometimes seen as a stepping stone for drivers between transitioning from petrol or diesel to fully electric. But that was only true when there were just a handful of electric cars to choose from, and far less public charging on offer. Some drivers chose them because they don't feel ready to make the switch to charging their car over filling up at a petrol station. We’ve written a guide that explains all about charging here, so you can be fully prepared to make the transition to electric. We also have experts on hand to help you consider how it may work for you.

We don’t sell hybrids. They’re not good for the environment. Helping people make that step to the greener, longer-term more affordable option is right for the customer and the planet.

All government incentives clearly recognise the higher benefit of the electric car, and with so many available on the market today we believe there’s a model that will work for nearly everyone. We love seeing our customers discover what it's like to drive electric and enjoy all the benefits that come with it.

Continuing to offer plugin hybrid cars is slowing our transition to clean, green transport - and we need to encourage our manufacturers to put all their energy into making even better and even more affordable electric cars at scale.