Owning a fuel efficient vehicle is becoming increasingly important to NZ drivers as the cost of fuel rises at the pump. After vehicle safety, fuel efficiency is paramount when shopping for a new car, and although many drivers might have a desire to buy a fully electric vehicle (EV), for many this technology is simply too expensive. We provide some great alternatives that are both more fuel efficient than your regular petrol or diesel engine and affordable to buy:
Full hybrids are vehicles that can travel a considerable distance using a combination of both electric and internal combustion power.
A hybrid vehicle will charge its own battery using a petrol engine or through energy recuperation during deceleration and braking, often termed ‘self-charging’. The wheels can be powered by solely the petrol engine, the electric motor on its own (at low speeds), or by a combination of both.
In reality, many of us find ourselves in stop-start scenarios when driving around the city. If you’re driving a hybrid, it’s during these times that the ICE engine of the hybrid shuts down and you’re able to utilise electric power alone. When cruising at normal speeds, the petrol engine is at its most efficient and even helps to top up the hybrid battery.
We had a look at the used vehicle market and found some examples of hybrids under 10 years old with less than 100,000 km on the clock:
Honda Civic Sedan
Toyota Aqua (Prius C)
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)
Plug-in hybrid cars are exactly what their name suggests – they're hybrid cars that can be plugged in to charge their high-voltage batteries.
Essentially, this technology uses two different powertrains, both of which can drive the wheels. There's an electric motor that enables drivers to travel a certain distance based on the capacity of the battery, and there's a regular petrol engine that kicks in once the electric battery has depleted.
The range of a PHEV is generally 30-50km on electric power alone, which is a great option to have if you don’t want to consume expensive petrol for short journeys, and even better if your daily commute falls within range.
PHEV technology is slightly more expensive, and there are fewer options available on the used car market. As of July, the popular Mitsubishi Outlander made up over half of all new plugin Hybrids sold in New Zealand. Plug-in drivers get the best of both worlds - EV efficiency for shorter journeys and ‘traditional’ range for longer trips.
$16,000 – $19,000
Hybrids are no longer considered ‘new technology’ like they once were and they’re now commonplace around NZ, with every second taxi or ride share service being a Toyota Prius or something similar.
It’s been almost 20 years since the Prius was launched, which helped Toyota cement themselves as the leader in hybrid and PHEV technology. Earlier this year, Toyota made a large proportion of their patents for this technology ‘royalty-free’ until 2030 - this should help encourage other car makers to build hybrids and PHEVs.