Do you need to charge a hybrid car?

Dan Smith

It is impossible to ignore the massive changes currently taking place in the automotive world. Most automakers have committed to converting to electric vehicle makers, and some have committed to shifting production capacity to 100% EVs. This means there are many new terms and concepts to understand, but one of the most frequently asked questions concerns a vehicle type we have known and loved for a long time: hybrids. When people hear about plug-in hybrids and EVs that require charging, they wonder if traditional hybrids fall into the same boat category. We've put together a quick overview to help you understand how hybrids compare to their plugin counterparts. Let's roll.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)

A hybrid car has a battery and at least one electric motor, but does not need to be charged. Unlike EVs and PHEVs, hybrid batteries charge using a combination of regenerative braking and surplus energy from the gas engine. Batteries and electric motors help improve fuel efficiency by assisting take-off and low-speed cruising. The electrical system can also power auxiliaries such as the stereo and climate system when the vehicle is parked.

For this reason, hybrids are sometimes viewed as a more convenient option. Not having to recharge is a huge benefit in saving time waiting for a charger each month, depending on the owner's driving habits. One significant drawback is that the vehicle still needs fuel. Also, the hybrid can't sustain its range on electricity alone like his plug-in hybrid, so it can't run without fuel for long periods of time. Electric propulsion systems are used infrequently, so the fuel economy advantage also diminishes on highways.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)

Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) have larger batteries and more robust electric drivetrain components than hybrids. This is because PHEVs offer all-electric range so that some drivers can bypass the petrol pump entirely. For example, the 2022 Hyundai His Tucson PHEV will offer 33 miles of range on electric before it needs a petrol engine. Once the electric range is exhausted, PHEVs behave like other hybrid vehicles, offering electric assistance at low speeds.

A PHEV is an excellent vehicle that can serve as a stepping stone for those who are unsure about switching to an EV-only vehicle. It offers the experience of driving an electric vehicle and helps drivers to avoid gasoline altogether for many people with short daily commutes. That said, charging is required, and those who don't charge won't really realize the benefits of fuel economy. Plug-in hybrids are also expensive. In some cases, they are significantly more expensive than comparable petrol and hybrid models.

Battery electric vehicle (BEV or EV)

Electric vehicles, which are EVs for most people, run completely without gasoline. The owner can drive a set mileage and will need to recharge the vehicle battery pack to replenish that mileage. Electric cars run and stop like gasoline cars, but electric motors provide a different driving experience that many find superior to gasoline cars. EVs are almost silent, so you don't have to worry about engine noise when accelerating or driving around town. It also provides more torque at low speeds and when taking off, resulting in more aggressive acceleration.

Charging has come a long way, and while EVs offer ever-better range, the overall charging experience is still lacking for people in many parts of the country. Some states have sprawling highways with no charging infrastructure, making it very difficult to get off and find charging while traveling. The chargers that exist in some places are inoperable or very slow. Also, some rental owners may not be able to charge easily at home.


Are hybrids eligible for the federal tax credit?

No, only plug-in vehicles are eligible. That is, only full-battery electric vehicles and plug-in his hybrids.

How long does the hybrid battery last?

According to JD Power, automakers must warrant hybrid vehicle batteries for at least eight years or 100,000 miles of use. That said, it's entirely possible to extend battery life through careful driving and regular maintenance, and many hybrid vehicles, especially the segment-defining Toyota Prius, have a reputation for longevity.

Is it worth replacing the hybrid battery?

In many cases the answer is yes, especially if the car is not that old. Hybrid batteries can cost thousands of dollars, and while this seems like a big economic hit (and it really is), new cars cost much more. And don't forget that even conventional petrol and diesel vehicles can require expensive work, especially on the engine and transmission.

Can I use the hybrid on my road trips?

of course! In many cases, hybrids allow him to roam freely as he can drive hundreds of miles on a single tank of gas. Note, however, that hybrids are more fuel efficient at low speeds, so you won't get the full benefit of electrification on the highway.

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