The Green Car revolution has taken hold over the last few years and the UK is fast-becoming one of the largest growth markets for these Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs).
The positive environmental impact and low running costs that these cars boast has helped increased their demand and in turn resulted in many high-profile manufacturers launching a series of AFVs.
Why is Green only taking its share of the market now? It could be argued that the development of better technology and the resulting boom in AFVs isnt anything especially new the Nissan LEAF and Toyota Prius have been readily available for some time and Tesla, one of the early pioneers of electric and more environmentally friendly cars, have now been in operation for almost fifteen years. One factor in this sharp incline in sales could be attributed to the negative press surrounding Diesels, which has gone into overdrive in the past 18 months due to the NOx emissions scandal.
Perhaps another reason worth considering is that previous drawbacks on green cars have been almost eliminated. Electric cars in particular were derided for their perceived low range and frequent charging requirements. The combination of petrol & electric has meant these concerns are largely alleviated. Most mass market EVs now have a range of 100-150 miles on electric fuel alone - Teslas flagship Model S will even run for 334 miles.
Whatever the reason, theres no doubt that 2017 marked an exceptional year for EV sales across the board and all the suggestions are that 2018 could be even better. Almost 120,000 AFVs were registered in the year to Dec 2017 with a staggering growth level of 35% year on year.
Because there isnt one conventional Green car, this can sometimes put off motorists when it comes to leasing an environmentally-friendly vehicle. There are three main vehicle types if you're looking to go green; the conventional hybrid, the plug-in hybrid and the full-electric vehicle and the difference is reasonably conclusive.
Hybrid vehicles offer very low emissions and combine a standard engine (either petrol or diesel) with at least one electric motor. They generate their own electricity whilst they drive, using two main techniques - regenerative braking, and an electrical generator.
One of the biggest benefits of a hybrid vehicle is that while its main fuel source is petrol or diesel, it requires a lot less of it than a standard combustion engine and therefore running costs are much lower.
Conventional and Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles
There are several key differences between a conventional hybrid (HEV) and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). In the simplest of terms, a plug-in hybrid needs to be plugged into a power outlet to charge its electric motor, unlike a conventional hybrid (HEV) where the electricity is generated as you drive.
A fully electric vehicle is the most environmentally friendly modern vehicle option. It has no standard combustion engine and runs purely off an electric motor, therefore producing zero emissions and proving incredibly cost-effective as a result. Some of the most popular electric vehicles include the NISSAN Leaf, BMW i3 and Tesla Model S.
With 2018 tipped to be another breakthrough year for AFVs, what key models should you consider for your next lease car?
The i3 has been a longstanding member of the electric car community. As one of the first premium electric cars to be unveiled, and BMWs first on the scene, the i3 has solid credentials. It has been through a series of improvements in the last few years to make it one of the most popular EVs on the market with TopGear Magazine rating 9 out of 10 and AutoCar giving a credible 4 out 5 stars.
VW PASSAT GTE
There have been many saloon vehicles adapted into electric or hybrid form over the last few years, but none quite as seamlessly as the Passat GTE. A firm favourite already, the Passat GTE has all the class and charisma of the standard model but with the added incentive of a petrol/electric hybrid engine. VWs flagship family saloon can now boast low running costs and CO2 emissions as low as 39g/km alongside its already impressive repertoire of features.
VOLVO XC90 T8
Everyone knows its a stats game and its for this reason the Volvo XC90 is one step ahead in the green car market. Already leading the line in safety and technology, Volvo have gone one step further with their stylish XC90 SUV. Introducing the T8 which has an electric-only range of 27 miles and produces a minimal 49g/km a quite unbelievable feat for a vehicle of its size and well worth a look.
AUDI A3 E-TRON
A sporty hatchback with a design revamp that has seen its popularity sky-rocket. Audis A3 is not your typical choice for an electric adaptation. However, this car has a huge 530-mile range and as little as 37g/km of CO2 emitted. All of this combines neatly with the already smart cabin and a 0-62mph time of just 7.6 seconds.
Looking for more?
There are of course, a wider selection of green cars that we've not mentioned here, with many more arriving each quarter as manufacturers scramble for a piece of the pie. Explore further green options for your next lease car: Check out our dedicated Green car page which not only offers a handy guide on the differences between various engines, but also shows you a selection of our best current offers.