What is a mild hybrid electric vehicle?
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 MHEVs have an electric motor and a small battery, the vehicle cannot be driven in pure electric mode. The electric motor and battery simply support the engine, improving fuel economy, and reducing CO2 emissions, whilst also boosting performance.
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 they also tend to have a lower initial purchase price compared to full hybrids (HEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).
How does a mild hybrid electric vehicle work?
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.
However, unlike other hybrids, MHEVs are unable to use the electric motor independently to power the wheels; hence the term 'mild' hybrid.
Mild hybrids do not need to be plugged in to recharge. Instead, 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.
Benefits of buying a mild hybrid car
Using an electric motor to work with the ICE, mild hybrids benefit from low emissions and environmental impact.
Improved Fuel Economy
Mild hybrids use less fuel, resulting in lower running costs.
Enhanced Driving Performance
An ICE and electric motor work in tandem to offer more power and improved performance.
No Need to Plug In
Drivers can benefit from the convenience of no plugging in to replenish its battery.
Need more advice?
If you are interested in a mild hybrid car but would like further guidance, we have written a range of articles to assist.
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Popular mild hybrid models
There are a plethora of superb mild hybrid electric vehicles to choose from, but some of the most popular include:
Frequently Asked Questions
No. The beauty of a mild hybrid (MHEV) is you do not need to actively charge them, as mild hybrids recharge themselves as they drive.
Mild hybrid vehicles cannot drive purely on electric only, as the electric motor works in tandem with the ICE and cannot operate independently.
Yes, mild hybrid electric vehicles are the only type of hybrids with a manual transmission.
The main difference between all three is the battery size. PHEVs have the largest battery, allowing 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 cannot be driven in fully electric mode as the battery is only small, but the electric motor is able to assist the ICE for better performance and economy.
Currently, only plug-in hybrid vehicles are eligible for a grant from the government.
While mild hybrids are not as eco-friendly as their electric counterparts, they are much cleaner than traditional petrol and diesel models due to their electric motor and battery working together.
Yes, there is a wide selection of mild hybrid cars available to order through the Motability Scheme.
MHEVs tend to be a good company car due to them having lower rates of benefit in kind (BIK) tax than petrol and diesel alternatives.