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What is a mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV)?

A mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) is powered by a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine (ICE), but it relies on additional assistance from an electric motor.

Although MHEV's do have an electric motor and a small battery, the vehicle can't be driven in pure electric mode. The electric motor and battery simply support the engine, improving fuel economy and reducing CO2 emissions.

The majority of mild hybrids utilise a 48-volt electrical system, powering components that would usually rely on the ICE.

No charging is required with mild hybrid cars and vans, they also tend to have a lower initial purchase price compared to full hybrids (HEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

Should I buy a mild hybrid electric vehicle?

How do mild hybrid cars and vans work?

Kia Sportage MHEV

Utilising a combination of an ICE and an electric motor, like HEVs and PHEVs, mild hybrid electric vehicles are able to deliver benefits such as reduced CO2 tailpipe emissions and improved fuel economy.

However, unlike HEVs and PHEVs, MHEVs are unable to use electric motor independently to power the wheels; hence the term 'mild' hybrid.

Regenerative braking allows mild hybrid vehicles to harvest energy, which is usually lost during deceleration, to charge the 12 or 48-volt battery. This energy is then used to support the petrol or diesel ICE thanks to an integrated starter generator. Enhanced fuel efficiency and a smoother driving experience are the result of this process.

What are the different types of electric vehicles?

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Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle FAQs

Do I need to charge mild hybrid vehicles?

No, you don't need to charge mild hybrid cars or vans as they run off petrol or diesel fuel with support from the electric motor, they can't run solely on electric power.

What's the difference between mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid and hybrid?

The main difference between a mild hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a hybrid vehicle is the size of the battery.

PHEVs have the largest battery, enabling them to be driven further in all-electric mode than a HEV, and require plugging-in to charge the battery.

Although the battery in a HEV is smaller than a PHEV, it is bigger than the one found in MHEVs; therefore allowing the HEV to travel in pure electric mode for short distances.

Mild hybrids can't be driven in fully electric mode as the battery is only small, but the electric motor is able to assist the ICE with acceleration to save fuel and provide additional power.

What are the benefits of a mild hybrid vehicle?
  • Lower CO2 emissions
  • Improved fuel economy
  • Better for the environment
  • Increased power and acceleration
Can you get a mild hybrid with a manual transmission?

Currently, the only type of hybrid cars with manual transmissions are mild hybrids.

How far can mild hybrids travel in all-electric mode?

Mild hybrid electric vehicles can't be driven in pure electric mode, the electric motor just acts as a support to the ICE.

Find your perfect vehicle

Mild hybrids do offer benefits over traditionally-powered vehicles such as reduced fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions, however, they aren't as efficient or economical as full hybrids, plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles.

Whether you're looking for a new or used van, or a new or used car; we have plenty of choice from manufacturers such as Ford, Hyundai, Kia and Nissan.