So where does Vauxhall get its price parity claim from? Delving into the press kit that accompanied the Grandland’s launch reveals the answer: from its predicted monthly ownership cost figures.
To obtain these, Vauxhall has added its monthly PCP (personal contract purchase) charges to projected fuel and tax costs. So while the petrol car will cost much less to finance, at £379 per month, Vauxhall reckons it’ll cost £126 a month in fuel and £15 a month in tax.
Meanwhile, the PHEV will cost £448 a month in finance, but only £50 a month in fuel, and a further £22 a month in electricity. As such, Vauxhall reckons, both cars will average out at about £520 a month to run – hence its claim of price parity.
As you’ve no doubt grasped, there are some assumptions being made here, some of which are reasonable, others less so. The first is that you’ll do 10,000 miles a year; cover fewer than that, and the maths will tip in the petrol’s favour, as the gap between the two fuel spends will decrease.
The second is that you’ll spend 65 per cent of your time in the PHEV running on electricity. That’s feasible if your driving style involves lots of shorter trips with mileage to charge in-between. But if you do fewer, longer journeys, you’ll spend much less of your time on electric power, which will drive up the fuel consumption.
Vauxhall has been a bit naughty here in leaving out the initial deposit payment, too, which will be higher on the PHEV, and in only factoring in the first year’s VED – after that, both cars will cost almost the same, which will tip the balance back in the petrol car’s favour.
So unless you look at the figures with a hand over one eye and squint the other really hard, it’s hard to see this as the cost-of-ownership parity Vauxhall claims.
Still worth considering though
Nevertheless, that doesn’t take away the fact the Hybrid-e is still a very affordable PHEV, and that makes it particularly interesting if you do a daily commute and have somewhere to charge it overnight.
And of course, for company car drivers, the PHEV still makes considerable sense – with its benefit-in-kind rate of only 11 per cent (to the petrol’s 32%) and a low P11D value, it’ll save you a packet in tax versus its rivals.