Everything You Need To Know About Hybrid And Electric Cars

At Wexford Car Centre, we’ve seen huge demand for our new range of Kia hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs). Government grants towards the purchase price of hybrids and EVs, reduced running costs and handy automatic transmissions as standard are just some of the reasons why cars like the Kia e-Soul, Kia e-Niro and Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid are so popular right now!

But which is the right one for you? In this article we explore hybrid and electric cars to help you understand the technology and how it can benefit you in your daily life.

What’s the difference between hybrid and electric cars?

Hybrid cars rely on two power sources: fuel and electricity. Electric cars of course run on electricity alone.

There are three types of hybrid car currently on sale in Ireland:

Standard Hybrid: Powered by a petrol/diesel engine, small capacity battery and an electric motor to reduce carbon emissions and use less fuel than a standard petrol or diesel car. At very low speeds, the car can run on electric power. But most of the time the car is intelligently using power from a mixture of engine and electric motion with a bias towards efficiency.

Mild Hybrid: A more basic hybrid set-up that cannot drive on electric power alone so not as efficient as the standard hybrid. The electric motor is only used for assistance to increase engine power when needed and reduce emissions.

Plug-in Hybrid: Also known as a PHEV. The plug-in hybrid has an engine and a larger capacity battery than the standard hybrid. It can also be plugged in and charged like an electric car. The owner will have the option of driving the car on electricity alone for up to 50 km depending on model and driving conditions. There is no fear of range anxiety because when the electric power runs out, the car can draw power from the engine and get all the benefits of a hybrid car. The plug-in hybrid is most efficient when it is plugged in and charged after every journey, just like an electric car.

Differences in range

‘Range’ is the word we use to describe how many kilometres you can drive your new plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle when the battery in the car is charged to 100%. Every plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle on the market right now has an estimated range that has been measured by WLTP industry standards.

Pure electric vehicles have high capacity batteries. The best models on the Irish market in 2020 can be driven over 400 km between charges. For example, our new 2020 Kia e-Soul and Kia e-Niro are available with powerful 64 kWh batteries that are good for up to 455 km!

Plug-in hybrids are a great introduction to electric motoring because you get to experience the routine of charging your car and driving on electric power only. However, they have smaller capacity batteries and smaller ranges so are more suitable for short commutes where you can charge at both ends of the journey. Our Kia Niro PHEV has been extremely popular since it was launched in 2018 and can be driven on electric power for about 50 km. And if you go beyond 50 km, the 1.6-litre petrol engine kicks in and the car will work in hybrid mode to get you to your destination!

Regeneration

Using the brakes in your hybrid or electric vehicle will help to recharge the battery. This is because these vehicles have regenerative braking systems that recycle energy that is typically lost during braking. Our Kia e-Soul and e-Niro for example, have paddles behind the steering wheel that you can use to adjust the strength of the regenerative braking.

Running Costs

Electric cars are cheap to run because electricity is cheaper than petrol or diesel. Using cheaper overnight electricity rates, your new EV can be charged from as little as €3 per night. A plug-in hybrid has the potential to be run as cheaply as an electric car, if your journeys are within 50 km and you can charge the car at the end of every journey.

Electric vehicles have zero tailpipe carbon emissions so qualify for motor tax of just €120 in Ireland. Hybrids have a combustion engine so will have some tailpipe carbon emissions. But these are much lower than non-hybrids. For example, the Kia Niro PHEV has CO2 emissions of just 29g per km so will qualify for motor tax of €170 per year.

Government Incentives

In Ireland, electric vehicles are eligible for €10,000 in government incentives (€5000 grant from the SEAI and €5,000 VRT relief against the purchase price). New plug-in hybrids are eligible for a €5000 grant from the SEAI and €2,500 VRT relief. There is also a €600 grant available towards the purchase and installation of a home charger unit. Kia EVs and hybrids are already exceptionally good value.

Charging

Your EV or plug-in hybrid can be charged at home or using public charging points. It is advisable that you install a wallbox charger at home for convenient, efficient charging. The ESB charging network is the most widespread public charging network in Ireland at the moment. There are approximately 1,000 22kW chargers (standard), and more than 80 50kW chargers (fast), with plans to roll out more soon. Fast chargers are suitable for cars with CCS, CHADEMO or Type 2 AC adaptors and currently charge at maximum 50kW. Depending on your car’s adaptor, you can also avail of IONITY high speed charging.

All Kia electric cars like the e-Niro and e-Soul come equipped with Type 2 and CCS adaptors, while the Niro PHEV has a Type 2 suitable for the ESB public charging network. Your car is supplied with the necessary cables. You can apply for a swipe card for charge point access with the ESB. Then it’s as simple as swipe the card, plug in and go!

How long does it take to charge the car?

The time involved in charging an EV or a hybrid varies depending on the car and the charging facility available. It is determined by how many kilowatts (kW) the charging station can provide and how many your car can accept. The higher the battery capacity (kWh), the longer your electric vehicle will take to be charged up.

  3-7 KW 11-22 kw 50-150 kw
EV 8-24 hours 3-6 hours 80% in
15-60 mins
PHEV 2-5 hours

Depending on the battery capacity, it generally takes 6 to 9 hours to completely charge a full Kia EV battery (ideal for overnight home charging). Kia PHEVs can take less than 3 hours to fully charge.

Anything else I should know?

Our Kia high voltage lithium ion battery-units in electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) are built to have a long life. These batteries are covered by the KIA warranty for a period of 7 years from initial registration or 150,000 km, whichever comes first.

Remember…

  • Electric vehicles offer a longer distance range than plug-in hybrids
  • Plug-in hybrids have two power sources – fuel and electric – so there is no range anxiety
  • Plug-in hybrids need to be charged regularly for the best efficiency
  • If you take short journeys, a long-range electric vehicle may not need to be charged as regularly
  • Electric cars have zero tailpipe emissions; plug-in hybrids have small tailpipe emissions
  • Government grants reduce the sticker price of electric cars and hybrids
  • Consider your lifestyle and the length of journeys you frequently take
  • Consider the charging facilities available to you. Do you have a suitable space to install a home charger?

Take a test drive and experience our Kia EVs and plug-in hybrids for yourself. We would be happy to arrange it for you.