How do new plug-in hybrid cars differ from conventional hybrids? – The other day | CarTailz

There are several options when it comes to fuel efficient vehicles. Here is the difference between conventional hybrids and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Innovative cars that are partially electric have been around for more than 100 years, but hybrid cars only became a mass-market phenomenon in 2000, when Toyota released the Prius. Now, drivers can get a range of vehicles from sedans to trucks and SUVs with a hybrid electric motor, and consumer demand for new and used hybrids is expected to increase through 2031.

Despite its longevity and popularity, drivers still have questions about how hybrid cars work — Consumer Reports noted that the most common question they get about hybrid vehicles is whether they need to be plugged into an outlet. Now a new category of hybrid vehicle, the plug-in hybrid, is creating even more confusion for consumers looking for a fuel-efficient car in the market.

So how do you know what kind of modern car is right for you? Knowing the difference between a traditional hybrid that doesn’t plug in and a new plug-in hybrid electric vehicle can help you make the right decision when purchasing one of these cars.

How do hybrid cars work?

How do hybrid cars work when not plugged in? Popular gas hybrid models, like those from Toyota, Kia, Honda and Hyundai, never need to be plugged in as the battery charges while you drive.

Hybrid cars are powered by a hybrid battery electric motor and a gas-powered internal combustion engine, hence the name. The car can use either the electric motor or the gas engine exclusively, or both can work together to drive more efficiently than pure petrol cars.

Hybrids charge their batteries via the internal combustion engine and regenerative braking, which charges the battery by absorbing energy from the car when it slows or coasts. Drivers can usually see when they are using the regenerative braking system, as hybrid cars often let the user know on the dashboard when they are driving efficiently.

Generally, when driving a hybrid, the battery powers the electric motor when the car is traveling at lower speeds below 80 km/h. Combine this efficiency with charging the battery when the car slows down and it’s easy to see what makes hybrids ideal for stop-and-go city driving. However, hybrids tap into the gas in the tank for tougher tasks, like climbing hills or maintaining highway speeds.

These efficiencies add up to the fact that hybrids achieve excellent fuel economy and produce much lower emissions than pure petrol vehicles. And while the gas savings alone are helpful as prices have skyrocketed with inflation, hybrids themselves have become more affordable over the years, with hybrid models starting under $24,000 with some starting just under $20,000.

How do plug-in hybrid electric vehicles work?

Although you never need to plug in a traditional hybrid, a handful of new hybrids have emerged in the past year that drivers may want to plug into the garage or at a charging station for the best fuel efficiency. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs, combine the battery power of electric vehicles with the freedom of movement of traditional hybrids.

With a PHEV, you can cruise around town, run errands, or commute to work using just the battery, making it similar to a short-range electric vehicle. But for longer trips, these cars can switch to petrol, giving them the convenience and longer range of petrol-powered cars.

This is how a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle works: PHEVs have an electric motor and a battery, as well as a gas tank and an internal combustion engine, and use both gas and electricity for power. Their batteries are usually larger than traditional hybrid batteries, and you can plug in the car to charge the battery. Some PHEVs can rely almost entirely on electricity until the battery runs low. Then the gasoline starts burning in the engine to power the car and charge the battery.

There are two types of fuel economy ratings attached to a PHEV: one if it runs purely on electricity, and one if the car runs on gasoline.

These cars often have longer ranges than electric vehicles, but better fuel efficiency than standard hybrids. PHEVs are perfect for people who drive short distances, where most of the journey is battery-powered, but sometimes want to make longer journeys without relying on stops at charging stations.

Traditional hybrid vs. plug-in hybrid electric vehicles

The main difference between a hybrid and a PHEV is that a PHEV has the additional option of charging the battery by plugging into an outlet, allowing the cars to run on electric power alone for short distances. PHEVs can travel between 20 and 40 miles on electric power alone and only produce emissions when using gas.

While PHEVs are still relatively new in America, new models from Ford, Hyundai and Kia cost $35,000 or less, making them the cheapest for now.

While hybrids are prevalent in the market, you can now also find electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in several vehicle classes. There are currently more than 30 plug-in hybrids on the market, with more models being announced for production all the time.

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