What’s A Hybrid And How To Drive One?

Sat 13th Feb 2021

If Boris Johnson’s brave plan to move UK drivers away from petrol and diesel engines is to be a success, then many are expected to take a first dip in the water by buying a hybrid. But many are still unsure how they work.

New research published by Honda this week has shown that though the intent is there, there is still a huge knowledge gap for those willing to invest in hybrid technology, even though the eco-friendly motors have been on the roads for two decades.

The survey found that though 52 per cent of respondents said their next car will be a hybrid, there was still 68 per cent of petrol and diesel drivers who felt they didn’t know enough about hybrids.

Hybrid drivers consider themselves to be early adopters of technology, with 33 per cent admitting they like to try new technology before friends, compared to 18 per cent of fossil fuel drivers. The biggest problem for government and manufacturers alike is that diesel and petrol drivers still feel they would be venturing into the unknown with a hybrid purchase, with 57 per cent agreeing that buying a hybrid would be a leap in the dark.

“While 68% of petrol and diesel drivers say that they do not feel they know enough to purchase a hybrid vehicle, this is unlikely to be because there is a lack of information," said Warwick Business School's Professor Ivo Vlaev.

"Rather, it is because information can be overwhelming. We are all bombarded with much more information than we can possibly consciously pay attention to.

"When we have a natural desire to know everything before making a big decision – such as with a car purchase – this is difficult to achieve and so we ‘tune out’ and instead go with an easy, familiar decision. The familiar decision in this case is another petrol or diesel car because we have purchased one of those before.

“This research helps us understand why some people who are convinced of the benefits of a hybrid make the switch, whereas others do not. Some of us are generally more open to try new things than are others; or have a strong sense of identity as someone who is knowledgeable about cars and enjoys driving.

"Those characteristics of being open to try new things and cars being part of our sense of identity are associated with making the switch to a hybrid. Indeed, most current hybrid owners (61%) say that they find joy in driving."