Best Plug-In Hybrid Electric Cars 2023: The Top 10 Complete Guide For The UK

Mercedes-Benz C Class Plug-In Hybrid Estate

Electric Cars: The Basics

For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we would recommend a read of the following articles:

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Like battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), have also witnessed a significant improvement in performance, electric range and availability. A few years ago, the choice of PHEVs were limited to a few automotive brands and models, like the, Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid launched in 2013. A decade later, the narrative could not be more different!

For those new to electric driving, a PHEV, couples an internal combustion engine (ICE), with an electric motor and an onboard EV battery. A plug-in hybrid electric car offers substantially more advantages, than a conventional petrol or diesel car. Some of these benefits include: lower cost of driving per mile, lower tailpipe emissions, smoother drive, higher vehicle efficiency and more!

The continued popularity of PHEVs, is clearly reflected in the increased market share of plug-in hybrid electric cars in the UK. According to the SMMT, in 2022, a total of 101,414 PHEVs were registered in the UK, achieving a 6.3 percent market share.

Let us put this in context. The total market share for diesel registrations in 2022 was 5.1% i.e. lower than the PHEV market share. This should not come as a surprise, as consumers opted for more environmentally-friendly forms of transportation. The increased popularity of electric driving is also evident in the registration of zero-emission pure electric cars, which was even higher than plug-in hybrid electric vehicle registrations.

Given the significant improvement in the electric range of pure electric cars, we at e-zoomed encourage choosing a BEV over a PHEV, as the advantages of pure electric cars are far greater than even plug-in hybrid electric cars. For those new to electric cars, a BEV is also referred to as a pure electric car. Of course, for those keen on a plug-in hybrid electric car, there are numerous options, but best to consider only those PHEVs that have low tailpipe emissions and a real-world practical electric range.

It is indeed impressive to witness the improvements made by automotive manufacturers in relation to the reduction of tailpipe emissions for PHEVs. Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo Cars are leading the pack, offering PHEVs with a practical e-range and low tailpipe emissions. As an example, the Mercedes-Benz C Class plug-in hybrid estate car has a claimed tailpipe emission as low as 13g (CO2/km)!

Road transportation contributes to 30% of air pollution. In fact, more than 40% of emissions of nitrogen oxides is a result of emissions from road transportation. Also, up to 40% of primary PM 2.5 emissions are also as a result of road transportation. Particulate matter (PM) is everything in the air that is not gas. Human made pollution, like smoke and dust from car exhausts, brakes and tyres, are examples of PM. Particulate matter significantly increases the health risks for an individual, as PM can be transported around the body, impacting the lungs, heart, brain and other organs. So, bottom-line, the lower the tailpipe emissions, the better for us all!

Apart from lower tailpipe emissions, aim for a PHEV that can offer an electric range of 40 miles and more! Do keep in mind that the real-world electric range will be lower than the manufactured quoted WLTP range. Electric range is impacted by a number of factors, to include: driving profile, payload, weather, road surface, temperature and more. In most cases, a 40 mile WLTP range should be able to deliver a real-world electric range over 30 miles, which is more than sufficient for most day-to-day needs. In our list below, a number of plug-in hybrid electric cars offer an electric range of 50 miles and more!

When a PHEV is driven on electric mode, the tailpipe emissions are zero, and the driving cost per mile is lower, compared to driving using the internal combustion engine (ICE). The best way to drive a PHEV is to leverage the zero-emission electric range to its maximum. Best for the environment and the wallet!

Though DC charging is not as imperative for charging a plug-in hybrid, compared to charging a pure electric car, it is good to note that the PHEVs with a larger onboard EV battery, do offer DC charging capability. This is most helpful for those that want to take advantage of the electric mode when driving on the motorway or for longer journeys. Having said that, it is always best to charge the EV at home. Charging an electric car at home is cheaper and more convenient than public EV charging.

In our list of best plug-in hybrid electric cars, SUVs have taken prominence. This is not surprising, as automotive manufacturers have been keen to exploit the current popularity of SUVs, in particular, environmentally-friendly SUVs. Also on our list are estate and saloon plug-in hybrid electric cars.

Though tailpipe emissions and electric range, are key factors in assessing a PHEV, clearly, many other determinants are also important, to include: EV battery size, price, vehicle efficiency, practicality, space, onboard AC charger, DC charging, onboard technology, driving aids, build quality, use of sustainable materials, performance and a lot more.

Lastly, PHEVs are also a good option for company car drivers, given the lower Benefit-in-Kind (BiK %) tax charger for PHEVs, compared to conventional petrol and diesel vehicles. The UK government does not offer any grants/ incentives for the acquisition of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

To learn in more detail about the best plug-in hybrid electric cars 2023, simply follow the links below!

Best Plug-In Hybrid Electric Cars 2023

BMW X5 Plug-In Hybrid, Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid, Lexus NX Plug-In Hybrid, Mercedes-Benz C Class Plug-In Hybrid, Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 de Plug-In Hybrid, Mercedes-Benz S Class Plug-In Hybrid, Range Rover Sport Plug-In Hybrid, Toyota RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid, Volvo V60 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid, Volvo S60 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid

Best Plug-In Hybrid Electric Cars: The Top 10

Brand/ ModelBattery Size (kWh)Electric Range (WLTP)Tailpipe Emissions (CO2/km)Body Type
BMW X5 Plug-In Hybrid22.29 kWh50 – 54 miles31 – 27g (CO2/km)SUV
Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid11.1 kWh40 miles23g (CO2/km)SUV
Lexus NX Plug-In Hybrid18.1 kWh40 miles21 – 25g (CO2/km)SUV
Mercedes-Benz C Class Plug-In Hybrid 25.4 kWh65 miles13g (CO2/km)Estate
Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 de Plug-In Hybrid31.2 kWh54 – 58 miles20g (CO2/km)SUV
Mercedes-Benz S Class Plug-In Hybrid 28.6 kWh62 – 63 miles19g (CO2/km)Saloon
Range Rover Sport Plug-In Hybrid38.2 kWh71 miles20 – 18g (CO2/km)SUV
Toyota RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid18.1 kWh46 miles22g (CO2/km)SUV
Volvo V60 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid 18.8 kWh54.7 miles18g (CO2/km)Estate
Volvo S60 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid 18.8 kWh55.9 miles17g (CO2/km)Saloon

While e-zoomed uses reasonable efforts to provide accurate and up-to-date information, some of the information provided is gathered from third parties and has not been independently verified by e-zoomed. While the information from the third party sources is believed to be reliable, no warranty, express or implied, is made by e-zoomed regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of any information. This disclaimer applies to both isolated and aggregate uses of this information.

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Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include, the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising large-scale industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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