With rising pressure to reduce carbon emissions and save on fuel, hybrids and EVs are more popular than ever. While most people have heard of hybrids, not everyone realises that there are three different types of hybrid cars: mild hybrids, full hybrids, and plug-in hybrids.
Among the most recent hybrid technology. Rather than power a vehicle solely by electricity, the mild hybrid uses electricity to augment the power of the fuel engine, particularly when starting and accelerating, and to take care of the power-hungry add-ons such as air con. Although the electricity stored in the battery of a mild hybrid is able to boost the vehicle’s efficiency, the two types of power can’t run independently of each other so it is not possible to drive solely using the electric motor. Although mild hybrids might not be as green as full hybrids, they are a lower cost introduction to the world of electric vehicles.
The most common type of hybrid at the moment. They are similar to mild hybrids in that they source power from an electric motor as well as a combustion engine. Full hybrids hold a relatively small amount of electric power, which is used to provide additional power to the combustion engine, which will improve fuel economy. Unlike mild hybrids, full hybrids are configured to switch to electric-only mode – hence, they are known as parallel hybrids, as the electricity and fuel elements can run alongside each other. This usually happens when the engine is not working hard, such as at low speeds or in stop-start traffic. Although the battery is relatively small, therefore holds a limited amount of charge, it quickly recharges back to full capacity when the engine is in use.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs can, as the name suggests, be plugged in to charge. This brings the PHEV one step closer to a fully electric vehicle, allowing the vehicle to be charged and run via the motor, but with the backup of a combustion engine in case it is needed. The PHEV offers better electricity-powered range than a full hybrid as the battery is larger; in fact, if used correctly, a PHEV driver will rarely need to depend on their petrol engine. However, many drivers of PHEVs don’t fully understand the technology, and instead of plugging in their PHEV when they can, they are often used in the same way as full hybrids. The additional weight of the large batteries of a PHEV mean that, when used on petrol only with limited electric power, PHEVs have worse fuel economy than a conventional car.
As with all cutting edge technology, the capacity of an electric or hybrid vehicle is only as effective as its driver. If you are considering investing in an electric or hybrid car, make sure that you research it thoroughly, talk to your local dealership, and are fully aware of how to drive it for maximum return on your investment. Got an EV? Tell us about your experience, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more information.