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As the world steers toward a greener future, the options for eco-conscious cars are expanding rapidly. Hybrid cars, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles are becoming more and more accessible, and the UK government is doing its part by offering incentives for drivers who make the switch. 

And with green temporary car insurance that offers the ability to offset your carbon emissions, it’s easier than ever to buy a car and do your bit for the planet too. 

But with so many car choices, how do you know what’s best for you and the planet? In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of eco-conscious cars. We’ll weigh the pros and cons of each type of vehicle to help you choose the best one for you. 

Person in orange with blue car and trees and sun in the background.

Are Electric Vehicles (EVs) right for me?

Electric vehicles, or EVs, are cars that rely solely on a battery pack to power them. Unlike hybrid cars that combine an electric motor with a petrol engine, electric cars run solely on electricity.

The benefits of EVs for the planet 

So what’s so great about electric cars, you may ask? Well, for starters, they’re a great eco-conscious choice for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint. EVs have about half the climate impact over their lifetime compared to an average petrol-guzzling car today. That’s right, half! And let’s not forget that EVs can (and increasingly do) run on renewable energy.

Electric motors tend to be more efficient than their petrol counterparts. Where only around 12-30% of the energy in fuel makes it to the wheels in even the most efficient petrol engines, electric motors are approximately 77% efficient. That’s more than twice the efficiency from the same amount of energy.

Now, we know what you might be thinking: “But what about the power SOURCE for my electric car?”. And sure, if your electricity comes from a local plant that’s powered by fossil fuels, it’s not a perfect solution. But it should still be greener than a petrol engine. Plus, if you happen to have solar panels, then you’re sorted. Your driving itself will be practically emission-free. 

Typically, when it comes to cars, EVs are as sustainable as it gets. This is the case even when you take into account the carbon-intensive manufacturing process. They might not be zero emission cars, but on average, they produce far less emissions than your 25 year old gas guzzler. 

What are the disadvantages of EVs for the planet? 

Of course, there are some drawbacks to electric vehicles. One of the biggest concerns for many buyers is range anxiety. Unlike petrol cars, EVs are limited by the range of their batteries, so long journeys can be a little stressful. Typically, a single charge lasts somewhere between 60 to 120 miles, although some newer models can last up to 300 miles. 

If you’re on a road trip, that can get old fast. Charging an EV isn’t as quick as fuelling up at the petrol station. Even if you find yourself at a fast charging station, it’ll take 30 minutes to charge to 80% capacity, which necessitates fairly long road trip stops. 

The lack of charging stations is also a significant disadvantage of electric cars. While hybrid cars can rely on traditional petrol stations to refuel, electric car owners have to rely on a limited number of charging stations, making long-distance travel more challenging and time-consuming. Electric cars may be better suited for urban drivers with shorter commutes who have access to charging stations.

Man with blue hatchback car with trees and the sun in the background

Hybrid Cars

Simply put, a hybrid car is a vehicle that combines two different power sources – a petrol engine and an electric motor. The idea behind a hybrid car is to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions by combining the benefits of both petrol and electric power.

So how do hybrid cars differ from electric cars? The main difference is that hybrid cars still rely on petrol for power, whereas electric cars run solely on electricity. Hybrid cars also have a smaller battery than electric cars, which means they can’t travel as far on electric power alone.

However, hybrid cars have a few advantages over electric cars. For one, they don’t require as much infrastructure to support – you can still fill up your tank at a petrol station, whereas electric cars require charging stations. Hybrid cars are also often less expensive than electric cars, making them a more accessible option for many people.

Because hybrid cars don’t run on electricity fully, there has been some debate as to whether they are as eco friendly as has been suggested. 

What are plug-in hybrids? 

A plug-in hybrid is basically the lovechild of full hybrid cars and EVs. Like hybrid cars, plug-in hybrids can be powered by traditional fuel or electricity. But, the clue’s in the name; these types of cars are designed to be plugged in to be charged. 

So how do plug-in hybrids differ from electric cars and other hybrids? Well, electric cars rely solely on electricity to power their engines, while traditional hybrids switch between fuel and electricity to run. Plug-in hybrids, however, can rely on both electricity and fuel, but can also be charged by plugging them in. 

Are hybrid cars eco friendly? 

Hybrid cars are often viewed as the perfect compromise between fully electric vehicles and traditional petrol or diesel cars. Thanks to their electric motors, they produce less pollution and have lower fuel consumption than conventional cars.

However, recent studies by Greenpeace UK suggest that some hybrids, particularly plug-ins, may not be as eco-friendly as they seem. The organisation has even described them as “the car industry’s wolf in sheep’s clothing”. So, what’s the truth about hybrid cars and their impact on the environment?

Traditional petrol and diesel cars produce a lot of tailpipe emissions, which is why they’re so harmful to the environment and human health. Tailpipe emissions are the pollutants that come out of a car’s exhaust pipe. 

In theory, hybrid cars produce fewer tailpipe emissions, thanks to their electric motors. However, recent tests by official bodies show that plug-in hybrid vehicles can emit much higher levels of CO2 than initially reported. This is because they’re often heavier than petrol or diesel cars, which makes their emissions higher. And this is particularly true in urban environments, where hybrids tend to use the petrol engine more than they use the electric battery. 

But before you give up on hybrid cars, remember that, on average, they still produce less pollution than traditional cars. Their electric motor also means that they have lower fuel consumption, which is better for the environment and your wallet. And if you’re still transitioning to greener options, a hybrid vehicle can be a great choice. 

Blue hatchback car with trees and the sun in the background

EVs vs Hybrids: The verdict

If you’re considering a hybrid or an EV, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons. Hybrids can be a great way to ease into greener driving while still having the flexibility of traditional fuel, whereas EVs may be a better option for those looking for the most environmentally friendly vehicle. 

However, they do require access to charging stations, which can be an issue if you plan on taking a long road trip or live in an area with limited charging infrastructure. 

That’s where hybrids come in. They offer the best of both worlds: battery power for short distances and a traditional fuel engine for longer distances. This makes them a great option for those trying out greener cars for the first time and who might be worried about range. 

Plus, with temporary car insurance like Zixty, it’s easy to be eco friendly regardless of your vehicle choice. 

Being extra eco conscious with Zixty: The green temporary car insurance provider 

If you’re in need of temporary car insurance, why not opt for a green provider like Zixty? When you take out cover with Zixty and enable the free Zixty Miles add-on, you can do your bit for the planet, even if you’re driving an EV. 

When Zixty Miles is enabled, the app rates your driving based on data collected from your phone, such as speed, acceleration, braking, and cornering, and gives you an EcoScore from 1-10. The better you drive, the higher your score will be. And if you score on the lower end, you’ll get plenty of tips to help you make your driving more eco friendly. 

Zixty Miles offers a unique bunch of benefits, including planting a tree for every policy taken out and carbon offsetting up to 100 miles of each day’s journey when you’re insured with us. This means that not only are you reducing your carbon footprint but also helping to improve the environment by planting more trees.

So whether you opt for an EV, a hybrid, or a plug-in hybrid, don’t forget to take your new car home with Zixty temporary car insurance. It’s a great way to make even more of a positive impact on the planet.