Electric vs. Hybrid Cars Comparison

Published on 7 October 2020
Hybrid vs. Electric Cars

The automotive industry has changed a lot in recent years, promoting the implementation of more sustainable technology. Ireland is also increasingly committing to more environmentally friendly modes of transportation through investments in the new types of infrastructure that these vehicles require and providing subsidies for their purchase. If you are also eager to move towards more sustainable mobility, you may be torn between buying a hybrid or an electric car.

5 big differences between hybrid and electric vehicles

1. Propulsion system

The most substantial difference between an electric car and a hybrid model lies in its power supply. Electric vehicles run solely on one electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery, while hybrid cars have two propulsion systems. In addition to the electric motor, which is continuously charged by regenerating braking and with the help of the combustion engine that acts as a generator, or by means of a rechargeable battery in the case of plug-in hybrids, it also has a traditional internal combustion system that is generally powered by petrol.

2. Range

Another major difference between hybrid and electric cars has to do with their range. Most of the electric cars emerging on the market have an average range of 450 kilometres, although some high-end models can even reach 600 kilometres. However, you should keep in mind that this mileage can go down with the use of air conditioning, electronic systems, your driving style and/or the ambient temperature. Plug-in hybrid cars offer a shorter range in the electric mode, generally an average of 50 kilometres, although they can travel for much longer thanks to their combustion engine.

3. Performance

The performance of an electric car differs considerably from that of a hybrid model. Electric vehicles produce instant torque practically from the get-go, making acceleration feel more satisfactory, even if they have less power than hybrid cars. However, electric models don’t reach very high top speeds because their efficiency is prioritised, although they can easily reach the legal speed limits.

When it comes to the driving experience, electric cars are surprisingly quiet, driving smoothly and comfortably. In these models, the sound of the mechanics is practically inaudible, and the smooth operation of its motor eliminates the typical vibrations of cars with an internal combustion engine. For some people, however, this translates into a limited driving experience. Those who love to drive cars in the traditional way value the mechanics and the experience that comes with it, as well as the ability to change gears, feel the power of the engine and establish a closer connection to the machine, something they find to be lacking in electric cars.

4. Price and costs

The vehicle’s cost is an important detail that has an influence on the purchase decision. However, due to state aid and subsidies, there are no major price differences between electric cars and plug-in hybrids. A HYUNDAI Ioniq PHEV, for example, will cost you approximately €34,000, while the Hyundia Ioniq BEV will cost you around €34,250.

When comparing both models, the savings come from the cost per kilometre, since it’s cheaper to recharge the battery of an electric car than to fill the petrol tank. If you drive an average of 16,000 km per year, with a HYUNDAI Ioniq BEV, recharging the battery will cost you €166, while recharging the battery of the hybrid model Hyundia Ioniq PHEV will amount to €376.

The simpler mechanics of electric cars also cost less in terms of maintenance and they reduce the costs of breakdowns. On the contrary, in hybrid cars, the chances of the car breaking down are doubled, since it has two power systems. Another source of savings comes from the registration tax, which is equivalent to €120 per year for electric cars, while hybrid cars pay more depending on their level of emissions.

5. Grants and incentives

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) offers individual buyers grants of up to €5,000 for battery-run electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids, provided they have been purchased and registered in Ireland. These vehicles can also opt for VRT relief of up to €5,000 for electric cars and €2,500 for plug-in hybrids, thus totalling a maximum combined subsidy (grant + VRT relief) of €10,000 for an electric car and €7,500 for a plug-in hybrid, according to the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.

You can access these grants through your dealer, but first, you should take a look at the list of eligible vehicles the SEAI has put together. In fact, you should know that these subsidies are only accessible to plug-in hybrids that emit less than 65 g/km of CO2. Conventional hybrid cars, which are not plug-in or whose CO2 emissions exceed this limit, are not eligible for this aid.
In addition to subsidies, electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles can benefit from reduced toll rates. Owners of electric cars pay 50% of the toll rate and owners of plug-in hybrid cars pay 25%, with a maximum annual discount of €500 for private cars. 

No matter what model you choose, you can save money with our tailor-made car insurance policies.