Understanding the government’s devious plans to get us all to drive battery-powered cars is about as easy as defeating the Germans on the sun loungers.
But the hardest hit are those who have to buy a new car now or in the next few years.
On EV or not on EV?
The sale of pure petrol and diesel new cars will be banned from 2030, so it would make sense to switch now.
Again, as automakers focus their efforts on electric vehicles, it’s tempting to invest in a car equipped with the latest and greatest technology.
Then there are more and more ulez and clean air zones across the country. An electric car would free you from that.
But – and this is a big but – compared to petrol and diesel vehicles, electric vehicles are expensive.
You can’t take many from London to Cornwall at once.
And range-charging via the UK’s woefully sparse and often ‘out of service’ network of charging points means a journey takes twice as long as in a petrol car.
So if you’re looking for a new car, or likely to be soon, I’d advise you to take a look at something like this – the Peugeot 408 GT Hybrid.
For plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV), a blocking period of five years will apply from 2030 until 2035.
A PHEV like the 408 has an all-electric mode, meaning you can cruise through your local clean-air zone without the risk of getting a pat on the back from city officials.
However, if you need to travel to Cornwall you won’t have to rely on roadside chargers as you can let the petrol engine do the heavy lifting.
There are many PHEVs on the market, but the 408 stands out with its unique design. It’s something between an SUV and a sedan – slightly elevated but sleek and streamlined.
The result is a roomy car that looks great and doesn’t roll or wallow in fast corners. Add to that Peugeot’s trademark snappy steering and relatively responsive suspension tune, and it’s a lot of fun, especially if you opt for the faster 225PS version of the two PHEVs on offer.
The interior feels premium and modern, with a cool touch bar with shortcuts for the infotainment system, and plenty of materials and trimmings that are pleasing to the touch.
All good things come at a price – and for the entry-level 408 Hybrid it’s £40,000. Buying the petrol version saves you about nine grand, but remember you’re missing out on the perks of that electric motor — 40 miles of range, one year of free road tax, guaranteed clean-air zone exemption.
If you decide to go hybrid, I’ll give you one last piece of advice: install a wallbox charger at home.
Otherwise you will have to rely on public chargers to charge the battery. . . and that’s about as much fun as reading the government’s net zero strategy.
KEY FACTS: PEUGEOT 408 GT HYBRID
engine: 1.6 liter petrol engine with electric motor
Performance: 225 hp
0-62 miles per hour: 7.8 sec
top speed: 145 miles per hour
Out of: Now