There is so much choice these days when it comes to engine types in cars or vans, so it is important for you to establish if the vehicle fuel type you are ordering is suitable for your driving style and personal requirements.
So, what fuel type should you select for your next vehicle? You will need to consider;
â€¢ What driving type you do? High motorway mileage, or low mileage city stop start journeys?
â€¢ Are you choosing the car for environmental reasons?
â€¢ How much will it cost to run the vehicle in terms of fuel or power?
â€¢ What to look out for - you need to consider the pro's and con's of each fuel type.
Full Electric (BEV)
Ideal for â€“ Drivers who cover less than 150 miles per day and want to reduce their carbon footprint, this is made easier with sustainable energy sources. There are also financial benefits, for example, you can travel FOC in various inner city areas, road tax is currently a zero cost and company car Benefit in Kind is much lower than any other fuel type.
Environmental impact â€“ There are no emissions from the car, so it is an excellent choice to help clean up the air in our towns and cities, but they still require an energy source. There are plenty of electricity suppliers who offer 100% green energy sources and if you charge overnight, you can use the excess energy created, often at a reduced cost.
Fuel Cost â€“ Currently very low, in some cases it can be up to a third of the cost of an ICE vehicle. Domestic power does not attract the full VAT and there is no additional excise added, so a charge allowing 200 miles could cost as little as Â£10.00, compare this to an ICE vehicle doing 30mpg @ Â£6 per gallon, this would cost Â£40 in fuel.
What to look out for â€“ There are two main things to consider, Range and Access to charging.
Letâ€™s start with Range, this is the most discussed topic when considering an electric car. For example, a Tesla Model 3 has a claimed WLTP range of 254 miles, but in real life tests, the car is only covering circa 190 miles (appx 75%) a quick search on google will pull up plenty of real life tests. Range is a bit like MPG, the claimed MPG of a vehicle is often less than the actual achieved MPG, lots of things effect this, something that at some point we will all have had an experience with. So what effects the range?
Cold weather can play a large part, the batteries donâ€™t perform as well at lower temperatures. Leaving the car standing for long periods, it will drop power gradually and driving style and accessory usage. If you drive it hard with the heater on full, it will use more power, resulting in a reduced range.
Finally, the manufactures recommend you only charge to 80% on a regular basis, this preserves the battery life. So, letâ€™s look at the Tesla again, if you charge to 80% (80% of 254 = 203 miles), then you only achieve 75% of claimed, this is a regular range of 152 Miles.
The other thing to consider is charging. Are you going to install a home charger, or use the public network? Home charging is great and cost effective with rates a low as 6p/kWh and you get to start each day with at least 80% charge, so ideal for most low mileage local users. If you are looking at home charging, we recommend that you have a survey done to ensure you can install a charger, most installers will call out first to quote on the installation anyway.
If you plan to use the public network, you can use the app, Zap-Map to get a better idea on what is available in your local area, rates vary from 20p/kWh up to 65p/kWh. If you are looking at home charging, we recommend that you have a survey done to ensure you can install a charger, most installers will call out first to quote on the installation anyway.
Plug In Hybrid (PHEV)
Ideal for - Drivers who want to reduce their carbon footprint and have good access to a charge facility, either at home, work or using the public charging points. You can install a home charger to speed up the process, or use the 3 Pin charge lead that is often provided with the car, this will be sufficient to charge a PHEV battery overnight.
Environmental impact â€“ Similar to a Regen Hybrid, but has the added benefit of allowing the driver 20-50 miles of electric powered driving, so for low mileage users, it can offer zero ICE emissions.
Fuel Cost â€“ If charged regularly and used for low mileage, it can offer drivers a similar cost per mile as a full electric vehicle for the first 20-50 miles. It will then offer further savings by using regenerative technology.
What to look out for â€“ To achieve the cost maximum efficiency and have the lowest environmental impact, you need to make sure that you have the ability to charge the vehicle. Failing to charge the vehicle will increase the overall MPG consumption.
Ideal for â€“ Drivers who want to reduce their carbon footprint, but donâ€™t have access to a charge facility, for example those who live in city centres.
Environmental impact â€“ Less than a regular ICE vehicle (Internal Combustion Engine). Regenerative Hybrid vehicles harness the braking power and use it to recharge the onboard batteries, this allows the car to drive on part fuel, part electric.
Fuel Cost â€“ If driven carefully, the Hybrid technology will reduce the overall MPG without any additional cost.
What to look out for â€“ Very similar to a regular ICE vehicle, the only extra is the battery pack and the long term performance may fade with time and use, like any rechargeable battery (think of your phone).
The petrol engine has been a popular choice for many years and is found in everything from city cars to super cars.
Ideal for - Low mileage city driving and performance cars.
Environmental impact - Petrol vehicles emit more CO2 than a diesel, but they generally have a lower NOx level and produce less harmful particles.
Fuel Cost - Petrol is typically cheaper to buy than diesel, but vehicles will usually have a lower MPG.
What to look out for - Nothing really, petrol engines are easy to live with, you just need to consider the fuel cost for high mileage users.
Modern Euro 6 diesel engines still have a place in the market, they are ideal for high mileage users, or those who use their car for long runs on a regular basis. The latest Euro 6 diesel engines have added technology such as AdBlue and DPF filters to reduce the amount of NOx and CO2 they produce. For more info on a DPF filter, view our blog article here.
Ideal for â€“ High mileage users who regularly cover long journeys, or those who need to tow heavy items (caravans/trailers).
Environmental impact â€“ Diesel vehicles produce less CO2, use less fuel than a petrol equivalent but do produce more particulates.
Fuel Cost â€“ Diesel is typically more expensive to buy than Petrol, but vehicles will usually have a higher MPG.
What to look out for â€“ Diesel engines fitted with a DPF filter do not like lots of short stop start journeys, the DPF needs to regenerate to be effective. Short stop start journeys can block the filter and put the vehicle into limp mode, or worse damage the engine. In addition, some require AdBlue, this is an additional cost of running the vehicle.
We hope this article has helped you make an informed decision on the most suitable fuel type for your next vehicle, it is important that you make the right decision and research all aspects before ordering any vehicle.