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Petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric – which company car is right for you?


Where does a hybrid company car work best? New hybrids are efficient enough to replace a motorway-pounding diesel, but they’re at their most frugal in cities where stop-start traffic offers plenty of opportunities to slip into electric mode. 

Plug-in Hybrid

Benefit-in-Kind incentives helped make fleets early adopters of plug-in hybrids, which are essentially a ‘full’ hybrid with a larger battery that you can charge from the mains. These typically offer an electric range of 25-30 miles on battery power alone, but with the backup of simply filling up with petrol or diesel when you need to go further. 

Company car tax was re-jigged in April 2020 and the new ultra-low bands for sub-50g/km cars can easily offset their high list prices, but they’re a compromised option for drivers doing long journeys every day. Plug-in hybrids rely on regular top-ups to match the fuel efficiency of a diesel engine, they usually have small fuel tanks and take several hours to recharge. Plus, unlike an electric car, you’ve still got an engine to service.

Where does a plug-in hybrid company car work best? With drivers who can commute on battery power, but also want the ease of short refuelling stops when they’re going further. 

Electric

Within a decade, electric vehicles have evolved from awkward-looking city runarounds to desirable, often high-performance tourers. There’s a growing choice of newcomers which can travel 200-250 miles between half-hour charging stops, and renewed company car tax incentives arrived in 2020 just as WLTP-derived CO2 emissions have pushed most other vehicles up a band or two. So it’s hardly surprising that SMMT figures show two thirds of EVs registered in the first eight months of 2021 have gone to fleets and businesses.

Early concerns are dissolving, but they’re still a potential hurdle. The UK has a well-developed public charging network, but broken or occupied charge points are a common bugbear for long-distance drivers. Options are also still a little limited – especially if you need seven seats or the ability to tow a trailer. However, an electric company car could reduce your Benefit-in-Kind bill by 90-95%, save your employer money on fuel and servicing costs, and shrink their carbon footprint too. 



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