Emissions

Fuel Type & Powertrain Technology

There has never been a better time to buy a new car, with more model choice, more exciting technology and a range of attractive finance options and deals.

Manufacturers have invested in all types of vehicles to suit different lifestyles and driving needs. From the latest low emission Euro 6 petrol and diesel cars, to hybrids, plug-in hybrids, pure electric and even hydrogen vehicles – there is something for everyone, and every journey.

The latest low emission diesels remain the right choice for many drivers, who value them for their high performance and low fuel consumption, and will do so for years to come.

There are now around 90 different alternatively fuelled vehicles on the market, including more than 40 plug-in models, ranging from sports cars to city run-arounds, family cars, SUVs and vans.

Here are the different types of powertrains available and the driving conditions they are best suited for:

  • Consider if your driving mostly involves: long distance journeys, rural driving, motorway driving, long commutes, towing

    Modern diesels have, and will continue to have, a crucial role in providing mobility and helping improve air quality.

    Euro 6 diesel cars are the cleanest in history: Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions have been cut significantly in recent years, thanks to sophisticated exhaust after-treatments and advanced engine design.

    Diesel technology has already played a huge part in reducing CO2 emissions. Diesel cars emit, on average, 15-20% less CO2 than equivalent petrols – and over the past decade this has led to the prevention of more than 3 million tonnes of CO2 from going into the atmosphere.

    Diesel cars can cost less upfront to buy than electric or hybrid vehicles, and are typically more fuel efficient than petrol cars. New diesels meet the emissions standards for use in the London Ultra Low Emission Zone and the future Clean Air Zones, and do not incur any restrictions or fines.

  • Consider if your driving mostly involves: short to medium distance journeys, rural driving

    Continuous advances in vehicle technology have ensured the petrol cars we use today are unrecognisable compared with those we relied on even just 10 years ago. Massive investment has resulted in an evolution of the combustion engine, and vastly reduced tailpipe emissions.

    Petrol cars cost less up front to buy than electric vehicles on a like-for-like basis. New petrols are compliant for use in the London Ultra Low Emission Zone and the future Clean Air Zones.

  • Consider if your driving mostly involves: town/city driving, short to medium journeys, school runs/shopping

    Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are powered solely by batteries. They use an electric motor to turn the wheels and produce zero emissions.

    BEVs are becoming increasingly viable for a growing number of people and currently represent 1% of new car registrations, with the top selling Nissan LEAF being built in the UK.

    BEVs typically offer 80-250 miles driving range and are cheap to run when charged at home. They are free from road tax (VED) and exempt from the London Ultra Low Emission Zone and Congestion Charge tariffs as well as future Clean Air Zones.

  • Consider if your driving mostly involves: town/city driving, commuting, short to medium journeys, school runs/shopping

    Plug-in hybrids are capable of zero emission driving, typically between 20-30 miles, and can run on petrol or diesel for longer trips. As the name suggests, they need to be plugged-in to an electricity supply in order to maximise their zero emission capability. They have a reduced road tax (VED).

  • Consider if your driving mostly involves: town/city driving, short to medium journeys, school runs/shopping

    Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) are capable of zero emission driving, but typically over less range than a PHEV. They use electric power generated during braking to improve fuel economy and run on petrol or diesel for longer trips. They have a lower road tax (VED).

  • Consider if your driving mostly involves: town/city driving, commuting, short, medium, long journeys, school runs/shopping

    Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs), sometimes known as hybrid assist vehicles, have a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine equipped with an electric motor that can allow the engine to be turned off as the car is coasting or braking.

    The motor can also be used to provide assistance to the engine, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. MHEVs cannot be driven on electricity alone.

  • Consider if your driving mostly involves: town/city driving, short to medium journeys, school runs

    Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) are zero-emission electric vehicles, which use hydrogen fuel cells to generate power. Hydrogen – stored in an on-board fuel tank – is combined with oxygen in the fuel cell and the only outputs are electricity, heat and water.

    A number of manufacturers are investing heavily in this technology, and in 2015 the first full-production hydrogen fuel cell vehicle went on sale in the UK. Further uptake will require support in developing the refuelling infrastructure.

Update Newsletter