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Popularity of PHEVs while new ‘unlikely to be matched by used car buyers’, says Glass’s

By / 5 years ago / Latest News / No Comments

So says Glass’s, which adds that the popularity of petrol hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) while new is being driven almost entirely by company car taxation – and is unlikely to be matched by used car buyers.

Rupert Pontin, head of valuations, said: “For used buyers, the question will be whether to go for a PHEV or the diesel equivalent. A big issue, we believe, will be real-world fuel economy. The pure electric range of the PHEV is probably 20-30 miles and then the vehicle is driven by a petrol engine when MPG drops massively. These are quite big, heavy cars.

“If you generally cover short distances with the occasional longer journey or regularly take the vehicle into congestion or low emission zones, then a PHEV can make sense. However, if you regularly cover considerably more than the electric range, though, it doesn't. It is only really logical in new car taxation terms.”

He added that there was also an underlying issue that the majority of used retailers and car buyers did not have much awareness of plug-in hybrids or how they might benefit certain kinds of motorists.

“There are people buying in the market who are very aware of the new technology and are keen to adopt it, perhaps for ethical as much as for practical reasons. However, most buyers are going to view PHEVs with a little bit of suspicion.

“They may be wary of all kinds of things, from the complexity of its drivetrain and any potential costs from breakdowns through to its potential resale value. Many will kick the tyres of a PHEV and then play safe and buy the diesel.

“While this persists, it will be difficult to come up with really competitive PCP rates for this kind of vehicle that will place them on parity with their traditionally-powered counterparts. Certainly, predictions that PHEVs will become a popular third fuel choice after petrol and diesel seem premature at best.”

Pontin also said that the current lows in diesel and petrol prices make it even more difficult to make a case for plug-ins.

“We are already seeing some evidence that low fuel prices are slightly affecting sales of alternative fuel vehicles at both new and used level. While oil is cheap, it does undeniably dent the appeal of hybrids,” he concluded.

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