Home special-report Q&A: Should I buy an electric car? Or go for a hybrid or plug-in hybrid?

Q&A: Should I buy an electric car? Or go for a hybrid or plug-in hybrid?

Q&A: Should I buy an electric car? Or go for a hybrid or plug-in hybrid?

What should you buy for your next car?

Follow the zeitgeist and go fully-electric? Hedge your bets by getting a hybrid or plug-in hybrid?

Or play it safe (for yourself, not so much the planet) by sticking with plain old petrol or diesel.

Here’s our handy flowchart of the questions you should be asking yourself…

Question 1: Do you have your own driveway, or other off-street parking?

Yes — Good, a home charger is generally regarded as a basic prerequisite for EV ownership.

No — Then an EV probably isn’t suitable for you, nor a PHEV. Maybe a hybrid instead?

Question 2: Do you do less than 30,000km driving per year?

Yes — go to next question

No — You’re going to struggle with an EV, as the national charging network is still poor. A PHEV or regular hybrid might suit you better.

Question 3: Do you do less than 15,000km driving per year?

Yes — Good, this is EV heartland stuff. Go to next question.

No, I do more than that. — Tricky. You’re on the cusp of EV use being easy, but regular long journeys are still going to be a problem.

Question 4: Do you do regular long-haul journeys?

Yes — This makes EV life hard, as the charging network isn’t yup to scratch yet. Consider a PHEV or hybrid instead.

No — Good, long journeys and EVs are still problematic.

Question 5: Is most of your mileage in and around town?

Yes — This helps make EV life easier, but if you have driveway it’s worth considering a PHEV if only to broaden your choice of cars. You’ll need to be diligent about plugging in and charging up though, or your fuel economy will be poor.

No — You’ll need to plan your electric journeys carefully then, and this essentially rules out PHEV ownership.

Question 6: Are you smartphone-savvy?

Yes — Good, as you’ll need to know your way around an app or three to access charging points, and stay in control of things like overnight charging and pre-heating or pre-cooling your car while it’s on charge.

No — Not a good sign. You really need to be tech-friendly to get the best from an EV.

Question 7: Is your car buying budget higher than €30,000?

Yes — Excellent, you’ll need to be spending more than €30,000 to get the best new EVs.

No — tricky. There are only a tony number of good EVs for less than €30,000, so you’re going to struggle. You could go used, but you’ll need to buy carefully to get a car with a well-cared-for battery.

Question 8: Is your car buying budget higher than €40,000?

Yes — This is really good news. The best current EVs, from the Hyundai Ioniq 5 to the Tesla Model 3, all cost more than €40,000.

No — Again, tricky. There are some good new EVs costing between €30-40,000, but these are the ones with small batteries and limited ranges for the most part, with the exception of the MG 4 EV, Ora Funky Cat, and the Renault Zoe. A greater variety of more affordable models is coming, but they’re not all here yet. A used EV is an option, if you can get one.

Question 9: Do you need a family-sized car?

Yes — Then your budget will need to be above €40,000 realistically, to get something with decent space for people and luggage.

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No — This will somewhat limit your options — the majority of current EVs are mid-size family SUVs and saloons. There are, as yet, no EV sports cars or coupes on sale.

Question 10: Do you need seven-seats?

Yes — this limits your options. Really, only the Mercedes EQB, the Citroën e-Berlingo, the Maxus MIFA-9, and a handful of large, expensive van-based models can mix electric power with seven seats. More are coming, but you’ll have to wait.

No — Good news. The choice of electric seven-seaters is currently very limited.