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 1.  Fuel Efficiency             



Now, this point is so often highlighted when discussing the Hybrid vs Solid Fossil Fuel debate, that I feel civilisation has become desensitised to how extraordinary the stats actually are. Not dissimilar to saying Tom Hanks is a good actor; we all uniformly agree with the statement but have you actually watched his films? They’re incredible!

It now feels like common knowledge that a hybrid engine (part petrol engine, part electric motor – a ‘hybrid’ of the two, if you will) is going to have more etiquette at the fuelling station dinner table than its carbon-niverous cousins, but by how much?

Let’s focus on our current plug-in baby, the Mercedes-Benz C350e Saloon Sport Auto.

It has a 293bhp petrol engine, combined with an electric motor, which gives it a monumental headline Combined MPG value of 134.5!!!

Compare that with a similar diesel variant vehicle that we have on offer at the moment, the Mercedes-Benz C220d AMG Line 9G-Tronic, which respectably musters a Combined MPG of 61.4 – in years gone by, we would be raving at this figure, a high rating compared to other diesel cars.

Nevertheless, that difference translates to more than double the amount of miles you can travel, from the same fuel capacity, in almost the same car.

With average diesel prices being approximately £9 to £12 per 100 miles, compared to £2 to £3 for electric use covering the same distance, that’s a staggering saving worthy of anyone’s attention – regardless of budget.

In a Hybrid, such as this shining example of a modern plug-in, you can also switch between the power supplies. You can drive using only the highly economical and low emission electric motor for your city driving (avoiding the upcoming hammering from the “Crit’Air” type ruling likely to arrive in major UK cities), switch over to the high range and high performance petrol engine for longer drives on the motorway, or combine the two for the best of both worlds.



 2.  Lower Emissions         



Whilst we’re discussing the ‘green’ with the Queen’s head on it, let’s mix it with the other kind of ‘green’. Yes, the environment. Whether you’re an eco-warrior or a diesel swilling petrol-head, the environmental effects of vehicle emissions impact us in different ways.



Regardless, with the ever-evolving UK legislation around what gets pumped out of your exhaust and how much is allowed, it’s a matter that hurts the purse strings, if not the heartstrings.

ULEV (Ultra Low Emission Vehicles) is a category of vehicle that all Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) and fully Electric Vehicles (EV) fall into. They are fast becoming the darlings of the motor trade for a variety of reasons; primarily due to the lower tax, sometimes even zero, and an exemption from congestion charge fees (subject to eligibility).

The congestion charge, for the non-London dwellers among us, relates to a daily charge being applied to vehicles that wish to travel within certain zones of central London during peak hours. However, if your car emits 75g/km or less of CO2, then you can apply for an exemption of this charge.

Whilst we don’t all live in, nor need to drive through, central London; there are major cities in the UK planning to cull most or all traffic from their city centres, preying first on the diesel engine. Therefore, the reality of low emission zones will likely apply to us all.

Let’s go back to the statistics for our Mercedes-Benz C Classes again:


              C220d AMG Line 9G-Tronic                        C350e Saloon Sport Auto


CO2                        117 g/km                                                                   48 g/km


No prizes for guessing which one of these cars won’t cost their owner a daily congestion charge!


There are also benefits to leasing a fleet of ULEVs for business owners too. With the lower carbon footprint – or tyre mark – of the C350e, in particular, it’s eligible for reduced rates of company car tax. It also carries lower rates of Benefit In Kind (BIK), which will surely please your employees. ULEVs can also help towards your corporate responsibilities and environmental policies, bringing in Government incentives for being ‘greener’. Every little helps after all.


 3.  Government Grants             



While we’re on the subject of Government incentives for businesses, there are also bonuses for the individual Personal Contract Hire consumer too.


For ULEVs (Ultra Low Emission Vehicles), the UK Government has offered a rebate on the purchase price of the vehicle. A way of saying thanks for being more ‘eco’.


When looking to contract hire and leasing to supply your vehicle, this rebate has already been factored in to reduce the purchase value of the car and, therefore, your monthly payments.


This can also go hand-in-hand with a £500 discount, from the UK Government, on the installation of a home charging point for Plug-In Hybrids and Electric vehicles.


 4.  Lower Tax                 



Are you seeing a pattern yet? Ok, so I know I mentioned it under point 2, but we all loath having to pay tax on our cars. It’s an extra expense that we don’t immediately see a benefit from; like buying a distant relative a birthday card, you know you have to do it but it doesn’t overtly enhance your life.


Generally, Hybrids are cheaper to run, from fuel to the ever-present-headache that is tax. Fully Electric Vehicles even qualify for zero tax… zero… that’s £0 every year! Hybrids and Plug-Ins benefit from reduced rates of vehicle tax too. Whilst the average fossil fuel car now costs £140 per year.


 5.  Performance                



Following on with shining a spotlight on unsung heroes of the Hybrid debate; allow me to introduce a deal clincher for many, Performance!


I won’t waffle on with a string of superlatives about this, as the figures really do speak for themselves:


Mercedes-Benz C350e

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

BHP                0-62 mph                 Top Speed               

293                      5.9s                      155mph



Tesla Roadster

Fully Electric Vehicle

BHP                0-62 mph                 Top Speed               

Tbc                     1.9s                     >250mph



Volkswagen Golf GTE

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

BHP                0-62 mph                 Top Speed               

201                     7.6s                       138mph


Looking at these figures makes me very optimistic that the days of the gnat-like G-Wiz and the pretentiously annoying Prius, are well and truly numbered. We can actually drive good looking, well-engineered and cool high-performance cars, which are eco-friendly and cheap to run too.


This may shock a few, but in the next few years, we will all be buzzing for battery power.

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