What is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)?
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is powered by a combination of an electric motor and either a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine (ICE). They have the ability to drive in pure electric mode for a range of roughly 20 to 50 miles, producing zero tailpipe emissions.
Once the all-electric range is depleted the PHEV works in the same way as a full hybrid, utilising an intelligent hybrid system, with the ICE kicking in as and when required.
To charge the battery and regain the electric range, PHEVs need plugging-in to a domestic socket or a dedicated charging station.
Should I buy a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle?
How do plug-in hybrid cars and vans work?
A key differentiator between a PHEV and HEV is the size of the battery. Plug-in hybrids have a larger battery, allowing an extended all-electric range compared to a full hybrid.
Short, urban journeys can be completed in pure electric mode and once the vehicle's speed increases or the battery is depleted, 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?
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle FAQs
Charging a plug-in hybrid vehicle is simple and can be completed at home, work or at a public charging station.
The main difference between a plug-in hybrid and a hybrid vehicle is the size of the battery, PHEVs have a larger battery and require plugging-in to charge the battery. The larger battery enables a PHEV to drive further in all-electric mode than a HEV.
- Lower CO2 emissions
- Improved fuel economy
- More cost-effective to run (charging is cheaper than refuelling)
- Better for the environment
- Low or zero road tax (VED)
- Avoid paying charges for London's Congestion Charge or London's Ultra Low Emissions Zone
- The engine provides back-up to the battery so no 'range anxiety'
PHEVs tend to be an affordable company car due to them having lower rates of benefit in kind (BIK) tax than petrol and diesel alternatives
Different PHEV models have different all-electric ranges but you can expect a range of about 20 to 50 miles.
Yes, the Government provide a maximum grant of up to £2,500 when buying a brand-new plug-in car that costs less than £35,000.
Find your perfect plug-in hybrid vehicle
Come 2030 the Government has imposed a ban on selling cars which run purely on petrol or diesel. Providing an all-electric range that is considered a 'substantial distance' means plug-in hybrids can continue to be sold, which has resulted in many manufacturers adding more PHEVs to their existing range.
Now you've discovered the benefits of a plug-in hybrid vehicle and understand how they work, you've decided a PHEV is the right vehicle is for you.