Hybrid and Electric Explained

As we find more manufacturers moving towards hybrid and eco-friendly car models, the various terminologies can be difficult to understand.

Whether you are looking for a self-charging hybrid, plug-in hybrid, mild hybrid, or full EV, we’re here to help you to differentiate between each model type.

What is a hybrid?

A hybrid is a car with both a battery-driven electric motor and a combustion engine. Power is created in a built in generator and is used to reduce the workload of the engine.

With a hybrid, you receive the best of both worlds. Improved efficiency and added power generated by the electric motor mean that the hybrid’s performance is often superior to its conventional counterpart.

There are three different types of hybrids: plug-in, self-charging, and mild-hybrids. What are the differences between them?

What is a mild hybrid?

Designed to be the most similar to a traditional car in terms of performance and functionality, a mild hybrid model sits somewhere between your conventional fuel-consuming car and a full hybrid. Mild hybrids have a larger battery than an average car which allows for electric capacity to supplement power of an engine when accelerating.

The additional power boost from the mild hybrid’s battery reduces stress on the combustion engine, leading to increased efficiency, better fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions.

What is a self-charging hybrid?

Self-charging hybrids, also known as full-hybrids are cars which have both a combustion engine and a battery motor.

In a self-charging hybrid, the power is generated by the car, there is no plug-in option. One of the ways it generates power is by recovering power usually lost when braking. By reducing the effort needed whilst accelerating, the self-charging hybrid can dramatically reduce fuel consumption.

What is a plug-in hybrid?

A plug-in hybrid is also commonly known as a PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle). Similar to fully electric vehicles, a plug-in hybrids’ battery needs to be ‘plugged-in’ and charged.

A PHEV can typically complete short or local journeys on battery power alone. They also have a combustion engine which kicks in once the battery runs out of charge. Once the vehicle’s range is used up, it will work like a normal hybrid, until recharged again. When used effectively, the fuel economy is exceptional.

What is an Electric Vehicle?

An EV (Electric Vehicle), also referred to as a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), is a car which does not have a combustion engine like a traditional car. Running solely on electricity, an EV’s battery must be recharged by plugging into an electrical outlet or charging station.

With no fuel, exhaust or engine oil to change, an EV has little to no emissions produced directly by the car itself.

The total driving range of an electric vehicle is typically less than that of a hybrid but continuous technological improvements have meant that EV driving ranges are always improving. As electric vehicles become increasingly popular, we see growing infrastructure being put in place to support EV charging.