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

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 back-up 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 electric top-ups to match the fuel efficiency of a diesel engine, they usually have small fuel tanks and they 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 that 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.