What is a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV)?
A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is powered by a combination of an electric motor and either a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine (ICE). Fuel consumption figures are lower and they produce less CO2 emissions than a conventionally-powered vehicle.
Full-hybrids still have the ability to be driven in all-electric mode, however as the battery is considerably smaller than in a PHEV or a battery electric vehicle (BEV) it can only maintain this for short distances at a slow speed.
For the majority of the time, HEVs seamlessly switch between the electric motor and the ICE as the power source or utilise both at the same time.
Should I buy a hybrid electric vehicle?
How do hybrid cars and vans work?
A key differentiator between a HEV and a PHEV is the size of the battery. Hybrids have a smaller battery than plug-in hybrids so can't be driven in pure electric mode for as long.
Slow speed journeys, such as driving in city traffic, can be completed in pure electric mode and once the vehicle's speed increases the ICE will automatically kick in to assist, whilst also recharging the battery through regenerative braking.
During deceleration, the electric motor acts as a generator and captures energy that would normally be lost when braking to charge the battery.
What are the different types of electric vehicles?
HEVs are self-charging so don't require plugging-in to charge, the ICE is able to recharge the battery whilst driving through regenerative braking.
The main difference between a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid vehicle is the size of the battery. PHEVs have a larger battery, which enables them to drive further in all-electric mode than a HEV, and requires plugging-in to recharge.
- Lower CO2 emissions
- Improved fuel economy
- Better for the environment
- The engine provides back-up to the battery so no 'range anxiety'
- No need to plug-in to charge
HEVs tend to be an affordable company car due to them having lower rates of benefit in kind (BIK) tax than petrol and diesel alternatives.
Find your perfect hybrid vehicle
Now you've discovered the benefits of a hybrid electric vehicle and understand how they work, perhaps you've decided a HEV is the right vehicle is for you.