I think it’s safe to say the tide is turning. Though new car registrations fell by 8.5% in May, alternatively fuelled vehicles had a hefty 46.7% rise to take a new record market share of 4.4%.
This comes following registrations more than doubling in March ahead of the government’s changes to Vehicle Excise Duty, a move which not-so-subtly pushed drivers toward ultra-low emission vehicles and alternatively fuelled vehicles in particular, leading to a 31% surge in registrations that month.
With this in mind, we’ve picked out a few of our fave PHEVs currently on the market:
BMW i3 REX
Standard charge time: 7.5 hours (usable with rapid charge points)
The BMW i3 was already a reasonably popular option for an alternatively fuelled vehicle, but when BMW released the updated range extender (or REX if you’re cool and hip with the lingo) model it put a lot of people’s mind at rest thanks to its bigger battery pack.
With charging infrastructure slowly on the rise, you may be tempted to just go for the pure EV version of the i3. Be that as it may, the REX plug-in hybrid differs from the majority of others on the market by offering an electric-only range meaning you could potentially avoid using the petrol engine full stop if you played your cards right – we’ve even heard some drivers getting 150mpg fuel consumption as they only use the range extender on long trips and rely on the battery and charging it regularly at all other times.
Audi Q7 e-tron
Standard charge time: 2.5 hours
At 2.5 tonne, thanks in part to a 202kg battery, you may expect the Audi Q7 e-tron to feel sluggish on the road but the 369bhp and 516lb of torque say otherwise. Not only that but it retains an electric vehicles smoothness on the road too.
With an all-electric range of 35 miles, the Audi Q7 e-tron does everything you could ask of a premium PHEV SUV and its economy figures of 156.9mpg and 48g/km of CO2 will make you do a double take when you see how big it is.
Volkswagen Golf GTE
Standard charge time: 2.5 hours
The VW Golf is a perennial favourite with leasers in its traditional-fuel guise, and though this hybrid version has only been available to lease since March enquiries are slowly beginning to creep up.
Why? Simply it offers a usable zero-emissions range, has strong performance figures of 204 hp and 100.9 urban mpg emitting just 38g/km of CO2, and is every bit as practical and reliable as we’ve come to expect from anything with the Golf name.
Standard charge time: 2 hours
The trailblazer of the hybrid community, the Toyota Prius almost deserves to be on any list of alternatively fuelled vehicles just for legacy reasons.
With their plug-in hybrid having been around since 2012, we’ve almost seen the development and innovations with the tech come in real time by the manufacturer. The latest generation of plug-in Prius continues the good work with a 30-mile EV range and very respectable fuel economy outside of that. This is on top of various drive modes that can keep you electrified for as long as possible via regenerative braking.
Standard charge time: 3.5 hours (usable with rapid charge points)
While it might be showing its age a little bit now, the Outlander remains the go-to choice for an affordable PHEV SUV.
While the limited range of the battery and the small size of the petrol tank means you’ll be plugging in and topping up fairly regularly, the Outlander PHEV may not be the ideal choice for those looking to get the most from their mpg meter. However, if you’re looking for a big off-roader to make short trips in and that’s a little bit kinder on the environment then it’s your only viable option.