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What is a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV)?

A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is powered by an electric motor and either a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine (ICE). Fuel consumption is often lower, and they produce less CO2 emissions than a conventionally-powered vehicle.

Unlike plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), HEVs are self-charging so do not need to be plugged-in for charging.

Full hybrids have the ability to be driven in a fully-electric mode, but as the battery is considerably smaller than it is in a PHEV or battery electric vehicle (BEV), it can only maintain this for short distances at a slow speed.

Most of the time, HEVs seamlessly switch between the electric motor and the engine as the power source, or utilise both at the same time.

Should I buy a hybrid electric vehicle?

How do hybrid cars 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 cannot 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.

HEVs, unlike BEVs and PHEVs don't need plugging in to be charged.

What are the different types of electric vehicles?

Hybrid FAQs

What is the difference between hybrid and plug-in hybrid?
PHEVs have a larger battery, which enables them to drive further in all-electric mode than a HEV. PHEVs also need plugging-in, whilst HEVs do not. 
How do I charge a hybrid electric vehicle?
HEVs are self-charging so do not require plugging-in to charge, the engine (ICE) is able to recharge the battery whilst driving via regenerative braking.
What are the benefits of a self-charging hybrid?
  • Lower CO2 emissions
  • Improved fuel economy
  • No need to plug in to charge
  • Better for the environment
  • The engine provides back-up to the battery, so no 'range anxiety'
Can you get a self-charging hybrid with a manual transmission?
Currently, the only type of hybrid car with a manual transmission is a mild hybrid (MHEV).
Do self-charging hybrids make good company cars?
HEVs tend to be a good company car due to them having lower rates of benefit in kind (BIK) tax than petrol and diesel alternatives.

Find your perfect hybrid electric vehicle with Stratstone

Whether you are looking for a new or used car; we have plenty of vehicles available from popular manufacturers with hybrid and electric technology.

With popular manufacturers such as BMW, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Porsche and smart all offering some form of electric vehicle, find your perfect car today.