Electric Cars

The different types explained.

Electric, mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid – just three terms relating to energy-efficient and low-emission vehicles. But what do they mean, and what are the benefits of each?

    Mild hybrid A mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) is driven by a combustion engine, electric motor and battery. In the case of an MHEV, the electric motor (which is powered by the battery), assists the combustion engine during acceleration and cruising – it can’t power the car in its own right. An MHEV’s battery is self-charging.
    Hybrid A full hybrid electric vehicle (FHEV) has a similar setup to an MHEV. The main difference is that its combustion engine and electric motor operate independently of one another. This means that an FHEV can run on electric power for short distances. An FHEV’s battery is also self-charging.
    Plug-in hybrid A plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) also features a combustion engine, electric motor and battery. However, unlike an MHEV, it can run purely on electric power. And a PHEV offers a longer all-electric range than an FHEV – anywhere between 25 and 40 miles. A PHEV’s battery needs to be charged on a regular basis (although the vehicle can run on fuel alone).
    Electric An electric vehicle (EV) features at least one electric motor plus a battery (which requires regular charging). The battery powers the electric motor, which drives the car. EVs are the most affordable vehicles to run and they produce zero CO2 emissions.

    Benefits of Owning an Electric Vehicle

    There are several benefits that come with owning an electric or hybrid vehicle. For instance, an EV produces next to no noise, which makes it very relaxing to drive. What’s more, an EV is exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), while PHEVs aren’t taxed as highly as petrol/electric cars. Let’s look at some more advantages to driving electric…

    Government incentives - Some low-emission vehicles are eligible for a government grant (https://www.gov.uk/plug-in-vehicle-grants). Also, the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) grant is available to help mitigate the cost of home-charging: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-grants-for-low-emission-vehicles. Furthermore, EVs are exempt from clean air zone charges in many UK cities
    Low running costs - Since electricity is cheaper than petrol/diesel, an EV is more affordable to run than an equivalent vehicle powered purely by a combustion engine. PHEVs, while not as efficient as EVs, are much more cost-effective than their petrol/diesel counterparts. FHEVs and MHEVs aren’t as fuel-efficient as PHEVs but are cheaper to run than purely fuel-driven alternatives.
    Environmental benefits - Since an EV produces zero CO2 emissions, it’s the most eco-friendly motoring option. PHEVs produce significantly fewer emissions than their purely petrol/diesel equivalents. FHEVs/MHEVs, while not as eco-friendly as PHEVs, are nonetheless more so than combustion engine-driven alternatives.
    Choosing the Vehicle to Suit You. Your Vehicles. Your Way. Anywhere. We stock a wide range of electric and hybrid vehicles produced by top automotive brands. This means there’s bound to be a super-efficient and low-emission car that will perfectly suit your needs, preferences and budget.

    The Renault Captur E-Tech and the Hyundai IONIQ are just two examples of the many great plug-in hybrid vehicles available now at Smiths Motor Group.

    Vauxhall produces a couple of terrific hybrid vehicles such as the Astra and the Grandland – and Dacia offers the very practical 7-seat Jogger Hybrid.

    Electric Vehicles for Businesses​

    Electric and hybrid vehicles are proving an ever more enticing option for businesses. As engine technology has improved, EVs, PHEVs, etc. are now delivering the type of performance levels that are on a par with petrol/diesel cars. Of course, a big business incentive is the efficiency offered by an electric or hybrid vehicle – while the use of low/zero emission cars bestows extra kudos on companies. There are tax benefits, too, such as Benefit in Kind (BiK), government grants and travel incentives, namely exemption from low emission zone charges.

    Key Benefits Include

    • Economical Operation & cheaper to run
    • Affordable Maintenance
    • Reduced Tax Liabilities
    • No Congestion Charge
    • Lower tax on fuel/electricity
    • Reduced Benefit in Kind (BIK) costs

    Electric Vehicles Explained​

    An electric vehicle differs markedly from a combustion engine-driven car. An EV is driven by an electric motor – which is powered by a battery, and requires regular charging (whether at home, at work or on the road). An EV produces no tailpipe emissions. It’s also cheaper to charge with electricity than a fuel-driven equivalent is to top up with fuel.


    At Smiths Motor Group, we stock an array of efficient and low/zero-emission vehicles, such as the Dacia Jogger Hybrid, Hyundai KONA, Nissan LEAF, Renault Megane E-Tech Electric and the Vauxhall Astra.

    If you have any questions about our electric and/or hybrid vehicles, please take the time to if they’re answered in our FAQs below.

    What are the benefits of electric cars?


    Electric cars have several benefits over conventional cars that run on petrol or diesel. Some of the benefits are: 

    ​ They are cheaper to run and maintain, as electricity is cheaper than fuel and electric cars have fewer moving parts that need servicing or replacing. 

    ​ They are better for the environment, as they produce zero tailpipe emissions and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. 

    ​ They are quieter and smoother to drive, as they have no engine noise or vibration. 

    ​ They are eligible for various incentives and discounts, such as lower road tax, free parking, access to low-emission zones and grants for buying or installing charging points. 

    How do electric cars work?


    Electric cars use an electric motor powered by a battery to drive the wheels. The battery can be recharged by plugging into a charging point, either at home or in public places.

    How far can I drive in an electric car?


    The range of electric cars depends on various factors, such as the size and capacity of the battery, the speed and driving style, the weather and road conditions, and the use of heating or air conditioning. You can check the official range of any electric car on the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) website.

    Where can I charge an electric car?


    You can charge your electric car at home if you have a dedicated charging point installed. You can also charge your electric car at public places, such as supermarkets, shopping centres, car parks, hotels or motorway services. There are over 40,000 public charging points in the UK, with more being added every day. You can use apps or websites such as Zap-Map or Pod Point to find and locate public charging points near you.

    How long does it take to charge an electric car?


    The charging time of electric cars depends on the type and power of the charging point, as well as the size and state of the battery. There are three main types of charging points in the UK:

    ✔ Slow chargers (up to 3 kW): These are typically found at homes or workplaces, and can take around 6 to 12 hours to fully charge an electric car.

    ✔ Fast chargers (7 to 22 kW): These are commonly found in public places, such as supermarkets, shopping centres or car parks, and can take around 3 to 4 hours to fully charge an electric car.

    ✔ Rapid chargers (43 to 150 kW): These are usually located along motorways or major roads, and can take around 30 to 60 minutes to charge an electric car up to 80%.

    How much does it cost to charge an electric car?


    The cost of charging an electric car depends on the price of electricity and the type of charging point. The cost of using public charging points also varies depending on the provider and location. Some public charging points are free to use, while others may charge a flat fee or a per-minute rate.