With government legislation in place to prevent the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by the year 2030, it very much seems that the future is eco for drivers in the UK. But what exactly does this mean, and how do eco-friendly vehicles work?
Up until now, the most common kind of eco-friendly vehicle was the hybrid-electric type, made famous by Toyota’s Prius. These cars still have an internal combustion engine, and run primarily on fuel – but they also have an onboard electric motor and battery, which is charged via the engine or via something called ‘regenerative braking’, or the generation of electrical energy from the car’s deceleration. Today, though, almost every major vehicle manufacturer is producing and releasing commercial vehicles that run entirely on electricity. These fully electric cars charge from plug-in ports either through mains electricity or at dedicated stations in public places; they represent a paradigm shift in the automotive industry, as a sustainable zero-emissions alternative to gas-guzzlers.
Unfortunately, these new electric vehicles are not cheap; a global microchip shortage has compounded the rising cost and relative scarcity of new vehicles with national economic hardship. Luckily, the second-hand market is a vibrant one even for electric and hybrid vehicles, and there are a wide variety of second-hand options available through reputable car merchants.
Suggestions for Eco-Friendly Vehicles
The breadth of choice on the second-hand market can make it difficult to make an informed decision on which eco-friendly car to spring for. The following suggestions come well-recommended and would be excellent choices for your foray into sustainable driving.
BMW i3 120Ah Auto
The latest in this line of sleek but affordable electric hatchbacks boasts a battery with newly-increased capacity, and a projected real-world driving range of around 163 miles. The car is nimble and torquey, providing you with all the muscle you need for city driving. It is also rapid-charge capable, slashing your charge time significantly.
Seat Mii Electric 61kW Auto
The roomy battery on this nifty little hatchback is the largest of the list, though the engine power is also the lowest at 82bhp. However, it is the friendliest for urban and suburban driving, and its power consumption can be easily controlled via three eco modes.
Citroen DS5 Diesel Hatchback DSport
This hybrid vehicle may be a little less environmentally conscious than the fully-electric cars suggested above, but its fuel economy is off-the-charts – and you can still benefit from the raw power its diesel engine provides, making you the king of long-distance motorway travel.
Fiat 500 Electric Hatchback Passion
This timelessly stylish hatchback model is once again brought into the future with an all-electric iteration that delivers. It offers a range of up to 285 miles (via its “urban cycle” technology) and can charge up to 80% within 35 minutes.