Hybrid & Electric Car Leasing Hub

If you're wanting to find out more about leasing an electric car, or have questions around charging, our comprehensive guides have everything you need to know.

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What's an electric car?

Electric vehicles (EVs) swap traditional internal combustion engines (ICEs) for electric motors. High-capacity battery packs store electrical energy, which is used to power the motor and turn the wheels.

Electricity is the primary fuel source, and cars are plugged into charging points to top up the battery. These can be standard household outlets or dedicated charging stations.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) produce zero tailpipe emissions, making them a cleaner and more sustainable mode of transport. Find out more about EVs in our all-bases-covered electric car guide.

What's a hybrid car?

Hybrids combine two power sources to improve performance and efficiency. 

Full hybrid

Also called hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), full hybrids feature an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Both are connected to the transmission and can operate independently or together.

While HEVs do offer some all-electric range it’s usually no more than a few miles. Regenerative braking is used to recharge the electric battery.

Mild hybrid

Mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEVs) use electric motors to assist a petrol/diesel engine and don’t offer any all-electric range.

Plug-in hybrid

Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) can be charged using electricity and offer longer all-electric range, compared to HEVs and MHEVs.

Find out more about PHEVs and other hybrid types in our hybrid car guide.

Differences between hybrid and electric cars

Now you know more about what electric and hybrid cars are, let's dive into the key differences between the two technologies.

FeatureElectric cars (EVs)Hybrid cars (HEVs, MHEVs and PHEVs)
Power sourceElectricityPetrol/diesel & electricity
Tailpipe emissionsZeroVaries, though usually less than ICE vehicles
Total rangeLimited, requires charging infrastructure for long tripsLonger, especially in PHEVs
All-electric rangeImpressive, can be as high as 450 miles for new models like the Mercedes EQSTop performers like the PHEV Polestar 1 can reach 90+ miles
Charging TimeLonger as battery is the only power sourceShorter as batteries are smaller
EfficiencyHighBetter than ICE cars but less efficient than EVs
Purchase costGenerally higherTypically lower than EVs
MaintenanceLower thanks to fewer moving partsModerate due to the addition of an ICE
Government incentivesOften availableAvailable, but not as generous
Eco credentialsCleaner and sustainable with zero tailpipe emissionsReduced emissions, not zero

With these comparisons in mind, let's take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of EVs and hybrids.

Pros of an electric car

  • Zero emissions: Electric cars don’t emit any pollutants into the atmosphere. This makes them a greener and more environmentally friendly transport option
  • Low running costs: Electricity is significantly cheaper than petrol and diesel, making EVs a cost-effective mode of transport
  • Minimal maintenance: Electric cars have fewer moving parts, which keeps maintenance costs low
  • Government incentives: The British government offers various incentives designed to encourage the adoption of EVs 
  • Instant torque: Electric motors deliver instant torque for fast and responsive acceleration

Cons of an electric car

  • Limited range: EVs typically have a limited driving range
  • Longer charging times: Charging EVs generally takes longer than refuelling at a petrol station
  • Higher upfront cost: EV models are often higher than comparable petrol or diesel cars

Pros of a hybrid car

  • Reduced emissions: Compared to ICE vehicles, hybrids release less greenhouse gases and pollutants into the atmosphere
  • No range anxiety: Hybrids combine ICE and electric technology to eliminate range anxiety
  • Better fuel efficiency: Hybrids achieve better fuel economy than traditional ICE vehicles

Cons of a hybrid car

  • Not emission-free: Hybrids still rely on petrol or diesel fuel, which means they’re not 100% emission-free
  • Limited electric-only range: Even plug-in hybrids have limited all-electric range
  • Maintenance: Hybrids have more complex drivetrains which can result in higher maintenance costs
  • Less generous government incentives: While incentives are available, they’re not as generous as those for pure EVs

Is a hybrid or electric car cheaper?

On average, the lease cost for a hybrid car is often lower than for pure EVs. This is due to the lower upfront purchase price of hybrids.

Does a hybrid or electric car have cheaper running costs?

Running costs for hybrid and electric cars can vary though in general, EVs are cheaper.

Here’s why:


Electricity is cheaper than petrol or diesel, which means EVs are more affordable to run. Charging at home using off-peak tariffs is especially cost-effective.


EVs often qualify for generous tax benefits, a perk that further reduces the total cost of ownership.

Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZs)

Electric cars are often exempt from ULEZ charges, which are becoming increasingly common in busy cities like London.


Less moving parts result in lower maintenance costs for EVs.

Are hybrid or electric cars better for the environment?

When it comes to environmental credentials, EVs generally have the edge over hybrids.

Here’s why:

Zero tailpipe emissions: While hybrids perform better than ICE vehicles, they can’t compete with the emission-free benefits of EVs.

Lower carbon footprint: Even when factoring in emissions generated during the manufacturing process and by electricity production, EVs typically have a lower overall carbon footprint than hybrids. The sustainability benefits are even more pronounced when green electricity is used to charge EV batteries.

Charging vs topping up

One factor that often comes up in the electric vs hybrid debate is the refuelling process. Below, we take a closer look at both processes and how they compare:

Charging EVs

EVs are powered by electricity which means you can “refuel” your car while you sleep or work. This eliminates the need for regular visits to petrol stations and also unlocks significant cost savings.

You’ll need a dedicated home or work charger to enjoy this benefit. Take advantage of off-peak electricity rates for even more savings. Public charging infrastructure is also an option but is generally less convenient and more expensive.

Topping up hybrids

Similar to conventional cars, hybrids with a petrol or diesel engine need to be refuelled at petrol stations. The exception is PHEVs which can be plugged in and offer genuine all-electric range. For many motorists, the familiarity and ease of ICEs makes hybrids a popular choice.

Should I choose a hybrid or electric car?

Ultimately, the decision between a hybrid and an electric car depends on your individual needs, preferences and driving habits. Environmental priorities can also come into play when weighing up the pros and cons of hybrid vs electric cars.

Why choose an EV?

Electric vehicles offer zero tailpipe emissions and low running costs, as well as great government incentives. They’re a pleasure to drive and promise instant torque, smooth acceleration and cutting-edge technology. However, factors like range anxiety, higher upfront costs and limited access to charging infrastructure can put some motorists off.

Why choose a hybrid?

Hybrid cars offer many of the same benefits as EVs though they’re not quite as eco-friendly. That said, emissions are considerably lower compared to petrol and diesel cars, making hybrids an excellent choice for climate-conscious motorists.

Advice from Leasing Options; “The choice between a hybrid and an electric car ultimately comes down to your daily driving needs. If you primarily drive short distances and have access to convenient charging infrastructure at home or your workplace, an electric car could be an excellent choice for environmental and cost-saving reasons,” says a Leasing Options spokesperson.

“However, if you frequently embark on long journeys or don't have easy access to charging points, a hybrid may be a more practical option. It's important to weigh the pros and cons carefully, taking into consideration factors like your budget, lifestyle and environmental concerns.”

Whether you opt for a whisper-quiet EV with zero tailpipe emissions or prefer the ‘best of both worlds’ experience offered by hybrids, we’re here to help you get behind the wheel of an eco-friendly vehicle. Get in touch with a Leasing Options team member today to find out more about how auto finance can work for you.

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