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Electric and hybrid cars use a battery pack and electric motors some or all of the time. Pure- or battery-electric cars only use this method and rely completely on electricity from the mains.
Hybrid cars also have a conventional engine and a fuel tank, but they can run on electric power for shorter periods. Plug-in hybrids can be charged up from the mains and can run on electricity for a limited distance – usually something like 25-30 miles – before the engine takes over.
Conventional hybrids don't need to be plugged in – they charge themselves on the go – but they can only travel on electric power at very low speeds and their fuel economy and emissions figures are not as impressive as those of plug-in models.Cost benefits of leasing a car
The number of electric and hybrid cars available to lease is growing, and many more are set to hit the market in the next few years. Here are some of our favourites available today.
Electric family hatchback: Volkswagen e-Golf
The e-Golf combines all the attributes that make Volkswagen's family hatchback a great all-rounder with an electric drivetrain. It's good to drive, has a refined cabin and plenty of space inside. It has an official range of 186 miles, though VW admits that will likely drop to 125 in real-world conditions, it's well kitted out (it has the same level of equipment as a Golf SE Technology – which is a lot) and holds its value better than petrol and diesel equivalents.
PHEV SUV: Mitsubishi Outlander
The car that kick-started plug-in hybrids, the Outlander PHEV is also the best-selling model of its type. It combines a 2.4-litre petrol engine with a battery pack and electric motors, which means it can cover 28 miles on electricity alone and switch to petrol power for longer distances. Regular charging is paramount for the best economy, while its low CO2 figure and SUV practicality have made it a hit with company car drivers.Electric vs Hybrid Cars In-Depth
Volkswagen Up 60kW E-Up 32kWh 5dr Auto
Range of charge: 99 miles
Toyota Prius+ 1.8 VVTi Icon TSS 5dr CVT Auto
Miles Per Gallon: 61.4 miles
BMW I8  2dr Auto
Range of charge: 23 miles
Mercedes-Benz S-Class S560e L Grand Edition 4dr 9G-Tronic
Range of charge: 30 miles
Reducing your carbon footprint: leasing electric and hybrid vehicles
A lower carbon footprint is one of main reasons people decide to lease an electric or hybrid vehicle. They are almost always cleaner than an equivalent petrol or diesel car and a great option for the environmentally conscious.
Electric cars create absolutely no tailpipe emissions, so they're the cleanest and greenest type of car you can buy or lease. Go for one with a list price of less than £40,000 and the lack of CO2 emissions means you'll also pay no road tax. Hybrids and plug-in hybrids do generate CO2, but proportionately less than petrol and diesel cars.
Lower fuel bills
Yes, electricity costs money, but it's an awful lot cheaper than liquid fuel at the pump. You can fully charge an electric car at home or work for less than £5 and, although public charging points usually cost a bit more. There's no need to fully charge EVs every single time, either; in fact, manufacturers actually recommend an 80% charge, because it takes far less time than a 100% top-up and it's beneficial for the battery.
Plug-in hybrids: more range
If you often need to travel for longer distances, then a plug-in hybrid is a good option for those who want to cut their carbon footprint. You charge up the batteries as you would a pure-electric car, but they also have an engine and a fuel tank, so you can switch to petrol or diesel power for long trips. It's important to charge them regularly to get the best environmental – and economical – results, but as long as you do, you can stay green for the most part and keep the flexibility of internal combustion.
Quieter driving experience
Electric cars are all but silent, save for a bit of tyre noise and the slight high-pitched whine they emit under acceleration, so, along with their air quality perks, they have the knock-on benefit of reducing noise pollution. Rarely, if ever, has anyone complained about a car's interior being too quiet, either.
Arguably one of the greatest perks of electric cars is that you don't have to go out of your way to refuel. We've already mentioned the low cost of powering up at home, but there's a huge convenience in charging up on your driveway. If you plan to lease an electric car, then it's definitely worth investing in a smart home charging point – and the government will contribute up to £500 or 75% of the cost of installation, so it's well worth a look.
There are more than 17,000 public charging points in the UK, and this figure is increasing rapidly. It's now a legal requirement for all motorway service stations and large petrol stations to provide charging points. Unlike a home wall box, these are usually fast or rapid chargers—meaning you can charge your electric car while you stop for lunch or a break.
You'll also find public charging points in some car parks.Open Map