Plug-in Hybrid

What different types of hybrid vehicles are there and how do they work?

The popularity of low emission vehicles is ever increasing. With more and more brands focusing on the electrification of their models, there has never been a better time to consider switching to a hybrid vehicle 

Hybrid vehicles represent a more environmentally friendly alternative to driving vehicles with standard combustion engines. Running partially on an electric motor and using energy stored in batteries for their power, hybrids are simple enough, right?      

But what are the different types of Hybrid vehicle and how do they really work? Let's find out.

Plug-in Hybrid Charging

The different types of hybrid vehicles

Full Hybrid

Best for: Short journeys 

A full hybrid vehicle can run on electricity either in isolation of the combustion engine or at the same time, in order to boost performance. When used in conjunction with the combustion engine, the electric input in full-hybrid vehicles will cut in and out automatically when required: reducing fuel consumption where possible and providing more power when needed. therefore, they generate less air pollution and emissions than other combustion vehicles with a far smaller environmental impact.

Fuel the vehicle as you would normally and choose to use the electric system in isolation or let it kick in automatically when you need more power. This type of hybrid does not need charging as it relies on regenerative braking to recharge its small electric battery on the go.

Examples of models with Full Hybrid vehicles options include:

Plug-in Hybrid

Best for: The short daily commute and quick trips 

Plug-in Hybrids, also known as PHEV’s, combine the combustion engine with an electric motor and a larger battery pack than a full hybrid. This battery pack requires charging from an external electric supply like a domestic 3-pin plug or electric charging point. They function similarly to full hybrid cars but can travel much further on electric power alone.

The engine will fire using electric power if there is some, but thereafter you can switch between fuel types as you wish. If the battery isn’t significantly charged or you're traveling long distances, the car will then revert back to using its combustion engine. Therefore, if your aim is to keep fuel consumption and emissions down, you'll want to utilise the available electric miles (and this means shorter journeys or regular charge stops).

When fully charged, a plug-in hybrid can travel up to up to 50 miles (model depending) purely using the electric motor. Therefore, depending on your lifestyle, you could run a PHEV permanently on electric power and not need the combustion back up (meaning significantly fewer trips to the fuel station). As well as mains charging, just as with a full hybrid, regenerative braking converts some of the energy lost during braking into usable energy which is then stored back into the battery.

Examples of models with Plug-in Hybrid vehicle options include:

Volvo XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid badge

Mild Hybrid

Best for: Steady speed driving and those who want better fuel economy

Mild hybrids use their electric motor to assist their combustion engine however because the battery is smaller, you are unable to drive the car exclusively on the electric power source. Instead, the electric input permanently aids driving (hence the term “mild”) and is charged naturally without being plugged in. The mild hybrid offers performance enhancements, improves efficiency by 15 percent, and is generally cheaper than  full hybrids.

Mild-hybrid vehicles are the preferred choice if you don’t want the worry of charging your car but are still keen to reduce your carbon footprint and combustion fuel dependency.  

Examples of models with Mild Hybrid vehicle options include:

What is the difference between Mild, Plug-in, and Full Hybrid vehicles?

  • Plugging in: Full Hybrids and Mild Hybrids do not need to be charged. Plug-in Hybrids do.
  • Exclusively electric: Mild hybrids cannot be powered by electric power only, Plug-in Hybrids and Full Hybrids can.
  • Gearbox: All variants are available in automatic, but Mild Hybrid vehicles are also available in manual
  • Electric range: their bigger battery means Plug-in Hybrids have the biggest electric range

And we couldn't talk about hybrid vehicles without mentioning fully electric vehicles...

Electric vehicle (EV)

Best for: Maximum environmental benefits with permanent electric driving performance

EVs are fully electric which means no fuel tank, no exhaust pipe, and no engine oil. They run off electric power constantly and need to be charged at an external outlet (which will take longer to charge than a hybrid as you are charging a bigger battery).

The driving range can, understandably, be less than that of a hybrid or combustion vehicle as there is no fuel back up, however, electric technology is improving all the time with some models now capable of up to 300 miles in a single charge. The biggest benefit of an electric car? The fact that their ongoing environmental impact and running costs are minimal.

Electric vehicles are wonderful, but they can be more expensive than a hybrid model. However, with our electric car lease deals, you can get a great deal on a lease model. Why not try one out for a year and see how it works for your lifestyle?

Examples of electric vehicles include: 

Jaguar I-Pace Electric Vehicle Range

So, in a nutshell... 

For those not ready to make the leap into fully electric driving, a hybrid is a great way to dip your toes in and benefit from the reduced emissions that these vehicles can offer.

As we mentioned, a mild hybrid would be a great starting point for many as they drive in the same fashion as a normal petrol car and don’t need to be plugged in. At the other end of the scale, plug-in hybrids are great for those who don’t need to drive great distances and can do the majority of their journeys on battery range. Finally, a full hybrid is the ideal in-between, with an electric motor to assist the engine and help fuel economy and a great option for those who travel a lot of miles.

Want to know how much it would cost to lease a hybrid? Check out our latest lease deals on all hybrid vehicles