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Types of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles explained

With more and more electric and hybrid vehicles to choose from, we know it can be a bit overwhelming to understand the difference. So, below we’ve simplified these into three types for you to explore.

Hybrid vehicles

There are two types of regular hybrid vehicles: Mild hybrids and Full hybrids.

Full hybrids have an electric motor and a combustion engine which work together to power the vehicle, either together or independently. The batteries that power the motor are constantly being charged by the combustion engine and regenerative breaking and can hold small amounts of charge. This can be used not only to support the combustion engine but to power the car solely on electric energy. When switched into electric-only mode they can run for a few miles on electric before the batteries need recharging.

Full hybrids are sometimes referred to as 'Self Charging' hybrids because of the way the batteries are powered. They're generally considered the best option for drivers regularly undertaking long journeys and are a great stepping stone towards other forms of electric vehicle ownership.

Sportage mild hybrid

Mild hybrids have a small electric motor that sits alongside a combustion engine. The electric motor can't be used independently of the combustion engine and instead assists the combustion engine to provide more power and greater driving efficiency. The electric motor is powered by a small battery which is charged up by the combustion engine and energy converted through braking.

Mild hybrids sits between a regular vehicle and a full hybrid vehicle. They are typically the cheapest way to enter into hybrid vehicle ownership and offer moderate power and efficiency gains.

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles

Plug-in hybrids, also known as PHEVs, sit between regular hybrids and a fully electric vehicle. They have a combustion engine and an electric motor which are both capable of powering the car independently. The electric motor is powered by much larger batteries than a regular hybrid which can be charged by plugging into external power source, hence the term plug-in hybrid. We've outlined 3 main features of plug-in hybrid vehicles below:

  • Independent power - they can power the vehicle independently on either the electric engine or the combustion engine which makes them suitable for both short and long journeys
    Externally charged battery
  • Externally charged battery - Has a battery that can be charged by an external source as well as the combustion engine and regenerative braking
  • Sole-electric operation - The charging capabilities and larger batteries give plug-in hybrids a greater electric range than other types of hybrid vehicle. They can operate solely on the electric engine for about 10-40 miles before the combustion engines provide assistance
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Fully electric vehicles

Fully electric vehicles, or EVs, are powered by 100% electric energy from their rechargeable battery. They have much larger batteries than hybrid vehicles since it's their only source of power.

  • Battery powered - They are powered solely by their on board electric battery and motor. As a result they produce ZERO emissions
  • Easy charging - They can be charged either by specifically designed charging points installed at home or by the growing network of publicly available charging points.
  • High range low costs - They can travel anywhere from 100 up to 350 miles on a single charge and cost significantly less to charge than to fuel a regular vehicle.
MG ZSEV Press Kit 009

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