We weigh up the options
Could you save money running an alternative fuel car, or are you still better off with the most efficient conventional vehicle on the market?
Let the facts speak for themselves:
Hyundai i20 1.1 CRDi S Blue
The new Hyundai i20 1.1 CRDi S Blue comes with an on the road price of £12,445 and returns a whopping 89 miles per gallon.
It produces only 84 g/km of C02 and will therefore benefit from free road tax.
It isn’t fast, with a 0 to 60mph time of 16 seconds, but it clearly isn’t designed for speed.
With a name reminiscent of warm northern greeting, green motoring isn’t the only thing that the VW e-Up! has going for it.
It can travel 93 miles on a single six-hour charge and costs £19,525 after the Government’s £5,000 green vehicle grant.
BMW i3 – Electric Car with Range Extender Auto
Packing both BMW quality and green credentials, the £29,130 i3 is the most practical plug-in hybrid on the market at the moment.
It can travel 106 miles on a single charge and also comes with a small range extending petrol engine to keep it going for longer than that.
Toyota Yaris Hybrid 1.5 VVT-i
Returning 86 mpg, the diminutive Yaris Hybrid is undoubtedly an attractive proposition. It produced 75 g/km of C02 and is free to tax.
However, it doesn’t qualify for the Government’s green car grant and costs £16,195 on the road.
The verdict: The gap is narrowing between the initial cost of buying an electric, plug-in hybrid or hybrid car, and buying a car with a very efficient conventional engine. It also helps that the Government’s green vehicle grant has been guaranteed until 2017.
One thing to bear in mind is that electric cars are still suffering from heavy depreciation, partly fuelled by uncertainty about battery life.
Whether a conventional car is the cheapest and most convenient choice for you long term largely depends on how many miles you travel each day, how long you plan to hang on to the vehicle and much you value simple being able to call into a filling station and top up with fuel.
Other things to consider include the likelihood of petrol/diesel prices remaining low and strengthening residual values for used electric vehicles, which are likely to improve as they become more mainstream.
What do you think? Have you bought an electric or hybrid vehicle? Are you enjoying the change?