The Diesel/Petrol/Electric Debate- Our Viewpoint

One of the challenges that new car buyers face is which type of engine technology to select.  In addressing this, it’s worth considering several factors.  Speaking purely from a company car point of view, electric or petrol/electric hybrid vehicles are attractive to the driver because of the reduced benefit in kind liability, but there are hidden issues for business owners.  Where will the vehicle be charged, and who will pay for the electricity?  Will hybrid vehicles be used correctly by the driver?  We have had many issues where customers have leased hybrid vehicles for their staff and have been horrified at the increased business fuel costs, as the vehicles have not been driven correctly.  They’ve been used as petrol vehicles with the charging element rarely utilised, and the low mpg that has resulted has meant a significant rise in running costs, with the only beneficiary being the driver.

Used correctly, and with a clear company plan of action regarding recharging, they make sense as a company car.  But we have seen a large rise in customers handing back their employees hybrid vehicles and opting back in to low emission petrol or diesel vehicles.

Diesel itself is not dead, and we have this year seen a rise in the number of diesel cars that we have supplied.  We carefully select the type of finance for the customer, to meet their needs – and we have no hesitation in continuing to supply diesel vehicles on the basis that the customer is covered in terms of being able to return the vehicle at the end of the agreement, rather than being liable for a large end payment which may not be achievable if the value of the second hand diesel vehicles continue a downward trend.

Petrol technology is improving, especially in terms of miles per gallon that the engines achieve.  Smaller petrol engines now perform much better than they used to, and it is not uncommon for mid-sized hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus to perform well on a 1.0 petrol engine, in both performance and economy.

As ever, we try to match the car and the type of finance to the situation that you find yourself in – there is always a common sense solution to be had, and we like to put together all the pieces of the jigsaw when it comes to your vehicle requirements.