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How do Plug-in Hybrids Work?

What Does ‘Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles’ Mean?

Plug-in hybrid cars, known as PHEVs, are powered by an electric motor and an internal combustion engine (ICE). Their battery can be recharged whilst using a plug-in charging point and whilst driving. When the battery runs empty, the combustion engine will kick in. It is also possible to choose whether to start your journey using the electric motor or the ICE. If you don’t have time to charge your battery and you’re in a rush, then this is a great feature to still allow you to get on the road. 


How Does a Plug-in Hybrid Work?

Plug-in hybrid cars have an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. The battery is charged by plugging your car into your nearest charging point, and the ICE is fuelled by filling up the tank at a petrol station. Most PHEVs are petrol, as diesel plug-in hybrids are expensive and complicated to produce. 

Your journey may be longer than your battery range supplies but don’t panic! as the car will seamlessly transfer to the ICE when the battery runs out.

The number of components in a plug-in hybrid is more than double that of an all-electric vehicle. Plug-in hybrid cars components include a battery, charge port, DC/DC converter, electric generator, electric traction motor, exhaust system, fuel filler, fuel tank, internal combustion engine, onboard charger, power electronics controller, thermal system, traction battery pack and lastly the transmission. To read more in detail about each component, follow the link here

Plug-in Hybrids have many components because they have an electric motor and an internal combustion system to power and maintain, this is when compared to a standard petrol car which has just the ICE and an all-electric car which has just an electric motor.  

So, do plug-in hybrids self-charge? Yes. Plug-in hybrids have the same regenerative braking technology as all-electric cars. This process occurs every time you lift your foot off the accelerator and press the brake pedal. This action triggers the electric motor to swap directions, putting electrical energy back into the battery.

The main feature of PHEVs is that they can connect to charging points. They are compatible with any charger, ranging from a 3-pin socket that you find on your walls at home, commonly used for emergency charging only, to slow chargers with a rate of 3.5kw and fast chargers with a power rating of 7kw or 22kw. Rapid chargers found on motorway services are compatible with various plug-in hybrid cars; however, you should double-check before using these charging points. 


The driving range of a plug-in hybrid can vary depending on the battery, fuel tank size and the make and model of the car. On average, a plug-in hybrid battery range is around 20 to 30 miles. Once the battery is empty, the internal engine will take over and provide an average range of 412 miles. If the battery is empty before your journey, you can also choose to use the ICE solely to power the car. The battery may not be in use, but it will still gain some energy due to the combustion assisted design and the rechargeable technology.     

Top 5 Plug-in Hybrids available at Perrys are the Vauxhall Grandland PHEV EliteSEAT Leon e-Hybrid FRKia Xceed PHEV 4Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Premium and the Ford KUGA PHEV ST Line Edition. Click the links to find more details for each Plug-in Hybrid.



Tags: *Plug_In_Hybrid *Electric_Vehicles *Hybrid_Cars *Self_Charge *PHEVs *Regenerative_Braking

Written by Lois | 4 min read
16 Feb 2022