What is a Hybrid Electric Car?

Many drivers in the UK are making the shift to more environmentally friendly vehicles, like hybrid cars and full-electric vehicles. If you’re considering buying a green car, you might want to learn more about hybrid cars to know if this type of vehicle is the right fit for your budget and driving needs. To start, the first big question to ask is, “What is a hybrid electric car?” This article will answer that, as well as other essential questions car buyers often ask. Let’s dive right in and learn the important facts about hybrid cars! 

What is a Hybrid Electric Car?

A hybrid car is a vehicle that uses two energy sources — electrical and combustion energy. This means a hybrid vehicle has a battery pack and an electric motor, as well as a conventional petrol or diesel combustion engine. These different energy sources can be used separately, or at the same time, depending on the type of hybrid car you’re driving. 

Full Hybrid Vehicles

A full hybrid car, also known as a parallel hybrid, is the most common type of hybrid vehicle. It can use either the combustion engine or electric motor independently or simultaneously. When you use the electric motor along with the combustion engine, your car gets extra power which helps a great deal in making it more fuel-efficient, especially on longer drives. If you’re only driving a short distance at low speeds in the city, you can choose to run your hybrid car solely on electric power and save on fuel. Some of the best examples of full hybrid vehicles are from Toyota, including RAV4, Yaris, Corolla, and Prius. 

Mild Hybrid Cars

In the same way as full hybrids, mild hybrids also have an electric motor and combustion engine. The main difference is that mild hybrid cars rely on both power sources to run. Mild hybrids have smaller electric motors that assist the combustion engine, enhancing the car’s fuel economy. If you’re looking for a more affordable option when it comes to hybrid vehicles, getting a mild hybrid is a great option because it’s generally cheaper than other hybrid types. 

The way that mild hybrid cars work is that whenever you step on the brake, the system captures that energy and feeds it back to the batteries. This stored energy can be used whenever you’re coasting. It also makes driving smoother, especially when you’re stuck in heavy stop-start traffic in the city. Among the most popular mild hybrid cars are made by Audi and Mercedes. The Swift supermini is also a good option, and Suzuki also has a reliable mild hybrid city car, Ignis. 

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles

For some hybrid cars, battery charging happens when you’re driving the vehicle. With a plug-in hybrid car, you get to charge the battery by plugging it into a power outlet. The batteries of plug-in hybrid cars are typically bigger, so you get to have a better range if you want to drive it using electric power only. If you drive less than 30 miles daily using electric power and plug in your car at your destination, you’ll be able to return home without needing to use the combustion engine. 

For longer distances, it might be more practical to drive the car using the combustion engine, so you don’t have to make frequent stops to recharge your hybrid car. At present, there are lots of plug-in hybrid models to choose from. Toyota Prius PHV, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and Hyundai Ioniq PHEV are just some of them. Volvo, Mercedes, and BMW also offer plug-in hybrid cars for buyers looking for eco-friendly cars. 

How do Electric Petrol Hybrid Cars Work?

Hybrid cars have a combustion engine like a conventional car that runs on petrol or diesel, and also one or more electric motors. The electric motors get power from the battery, where energy is stored through regenerative braking. Most hybrid cars rely on regenerative braking to charge their batteries. However, a plug-in hybrid vehicle can be connected to a power outlet to charge its battery, similar to how full-electric cars need to be plugged in.

What’s the Difference Between Hybrid and Electric Cars?

The main difference between a full-electric car and a hybrid vehicle is its power sources. A full-electric vehicle relies solely on electric power from its battery pack so it can run. A hybrid vehicle, on the other hand, uses both an electric motor and a combustion engine, either separately or simultaneously, depending on the type of hybrid car you have. What’s great about these two is that they’re both less polluting to the environment compared to conventional petrol or diesel cars. 

Hybrid Electric Cars Advantages and Disadvantages

There are a lot of advantages that you can enjoy when you choose to drive a hybrid car. The first one is that it’s an eco-friendly car that emits less carbon into the air than conventional petrol or diesel vehicles. Also, it’s typically much cheaper to buy than a full-electric car. However, do keep in mind that since you still need to top it up with fuel, hybrid cars might be a bit more costly to run than a full EV. 

One of the disadvantages of going green with a hybrid car is they’re pricier than fuel-powered vehicles. So, it’s important to determine your driving needs first before deciding if a hybrid car is right for you. Consider factors like the distance you drive and how frequently you need to be on long trips. Hybrid cars are cheaper than full-electric vehicles but more expensive than their petrol or diesel counterparts. Hybrid vehicles are better for the environment because they’re less polluting, but this depends on whether you take full advantage of the car’s hybrid features so that it’s more fuel-efficient.