Around 2012 a new variant of hybrid was introduced – the PHEV. Using similar technology to the hybrid, the PHEV offers bigger battery capacity (but which is smaller than a pure electric vehicle). This allows the vehicle to be driven for a modest amount of time on its electric element – 15 to 40 miles depending on the make and model. The key difference is that a PHEV needs to be directly charged in order to benefit from its capabilities.
While the PHEV is best known for its association with the Mitsubishi Outlander, many of the latest cars (and innovations) being introduced throughout 2019 and 2020 will be a PHEV. All of the major car brands – Audi, BMW, Ford, Mercedes, Peugeot, Vauxhall – are introducing PHEV vehicles to their fleet. While many of the key options are petrol-based engines, some vehicles are emerging in diesel form to assist high-mileage drivers.
Like the hybrid car, drivers do not suffer from “range anxiety” with a PHEV. As there is a petrol or diesel combustion engine, this will operate when there is insufficient electric charge. As per a combustion engine/hybrid, the vehicle needs to be sufficiently fuelled.
However, unlike the hybrid, the PHEV can offer a more meaningful “electric-only” range to the customer. Vehicle and manufacturer dependent, you will commonly see ranges of between 15 to 40 miles on electric only. The electric element will also assist the combustion engine to be more efficient and offer further power thereby creating a quicker yet more frugal vehicle
A PHEV does require external charging to operate correctly. When your vehicle arrives, you will be supplied with charging cables to carry this out; you need to speak to the dealership/leasing broker about the type of charging cables which will be supplied with the vehicle.
In term of charging the car, the driver has the choice of using a standard mains socket or a dedicated home charging point. For those with off-street parking, a home charging point is always the quickest and safest way in which you can charge the battery. There are now 7kW charge point solution which can be installed at your home address and which are currently supported by a £500 grant from the Government. If you have a home charge point, you need to check your vehicle has a mobile Type 2 to Type 2 connection and for home charge point you need a Type to 3-pin plug cable.
How long does it take to charge a PHEV? This will depend on the car’s battery and the power output of your charging unit. For drivers using a standard household plug, this will take approximately 5-6 hours. For those with a dedicated home charging unit, this will take 2-4 hours depending on the output (there is a choice of between a 3.6KW (16Amp) or a 7.2KW (32Amp) option). Many of our customers are utilising a 7kW smart charge solution for their house.
A PHEV can offer the driving performance (and experience) of a combustion engine coupled with enhanced economy. Due to battery improvements, the vehicle can travel at higher speeds (and for longer) on the electric element in comparison to a hybrid option.
A PHEV will continue to operate where there is insufficient charge. It does not incur range anxiety like its electric counterparts.
For company car drivers, a PHEV will offer an improved position on CO2. This will assist when calculating BiK/company car tax. Many PHEVs produce CO2 emissions between 40 – 75g/km making them more efficient than a combustion or hybrid alternative. From April 2020, there are major tax changes for electrification and the PHEV driver will benefit.
For the pro eco-car driver, the PHEV is an even better gateway toward pure EVs. If you have a small commute and access to a home/workplace charging solution, this will present the ability to operate the vehicle on “electric-only”.
A PHEV will not be able to offer pure electric for more than 15-40 miles. For environmentally minded customers, this may not be suitable. You need to note that modern pure EVs can produce ranges of 100-300 miles.
From April 2020, a pure EV will attract 0% BiK and is therefore more tax efficient for a company car driver.
A PHEV will be more expensive than a combustion engine equivalent. For personal users, the reduced running costs may balance this based on fuel savings. However, for company car users on a rental banding/budget, the PHEV may not be affordable. There is an obvious conflict between a company car driver saving on their personal tax against the company fleet costs.
PHEVs have been critiqued for being inefficient petrol engines. This is particular pertinent where the driver fails to charge the vehicle properly (or at all). As the vehicle does need to be directly charged, this is more time consuming than a combustion engine or hybrid. Some manufacturers are combating this by offering diesel PHEV options. However, if you are not going to charge a vehicle, you need to consider a hybrid vehicle.
The eCarLease UK team are experts in electric car and van leasing. As part of the CarLease UK group of companies (carlease.uk.com) we have over 50 years experience in selling and leasing new vehicles to happy customers.
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