THE 4 DIFFERENT TYPES OF HYBRID CARS
Date published: 11/05/23 All content in this article is intended to be general in nature and does not constitute and is not intended to be financial or professional advice.
You probably already know a thing or two about hybrids. And we do as well, so let’s combine that number to make it at least four things we both know about hybrids.
Something we know about is spotting the difference between mild hybrid and a full hybrid. We also know about how the driving range of PHEVs compares to a REXs hybrids. Plus we’ve even looked in the pros and cons of Hybrid ownership.
If any of these topics have peaked your interest, you’re kind of a nerd but this guide is worth checking out.
TL;DR – THE 4 DIFFERENT TYPES OF HYBRID CARS
A hybrid vehicle is any type of vehicle that’s partially electrified. There are four main types of hybrids: mild hybrids; full hybrids (also called parallel hybrids); plug in hybrids; and range extender hybrids. Here’s the low-down on each:
Full Hybrids (HEV / FHEV) – If your car runs on a combustion engine and an electric motor, and it can run independently on each power source, you’re driving a full hybrid. Unlike MHEVs, full hybrids can drive short distances on electric power, but their battery size limits the amount of charge they can hold, and the distance they can travel.
Mild Hybrids (MHEV) – Mild hybrids (also called battery-assisted hybrids, aka BAHVs), feature the basic mechanics of a hybrid, with just a light electrical supply (usually a 48-volt electrical system). The electric power supply to MHEVs is so light, they are considered to be ‘electric assisted’, rather than ‘electric powered’.
Plug-In Hybrids (PHEVs) – PHEVs have really taken off in Australia, bridging the gap between electric vehicles (or EVs) and full hybrids. PHEVs give you the power of a traditional fuel vehicle, with the additional range and predictability of an externally charged battery.
Range Extender Hybrids (REX) – As the name suggests, range extender hybrids are essentially EVs that have been converted into hybrids for greater range. REX hybrids tap into a secondary power generator – often a small fuel-powered engine – to charge the electric battery as you drive.
1. MILD HYBRIDS
Mild hybrids - or MHEVs - combine both the power of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine (ICE). The fuel motor in a MHEV can’t be switched off completely, and only assists the ICE when the car is accelerating to save fuel. You might buy a MHEV when you want to save on money and fuel but a fully electric or hybrid is a bit too expensive for your liking. People might prefer a hybrid or fully electric vehicle over a MHEV because they’ll save more on fuel in the long run.
Examples of Mild Hybrids
2. FULL HYBRIDS (FHEV)
These guys run on both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor that’s powered by a battery. In a FHEV, you can drive short distances on the electric power only, and then you’ll switch to the ICE when it conks out. The guys are a good op if you’re keen to dip your toe into the world of EVs, but want to have an ICE as a backup on longer drives.
Examples of Full Hybrids
After 25 years Toyota’s pioneering Prius range has been discontinued in Australia. But don’t fret yet – you can still get your fix with these full hybrid models:
3. PLUG-IN HYBRIDS (PHEVs)
Like FHEVs and MHEVs, a PHEV combines an ICE with an electric motor. But, they’ll generally have larger battery packs, and drivers have the choice of topping up with both electricity and fuel. PHEVs can run on either the ICE by itself, or the electric battery. With the freedom to choose between fuel or electricity, you can essentially run on just electricity most of the time. And then the ICE will be there when you need it for longer distances, or you don’t have access to a charging station.
Examples of PHEVs
4. ELECTRIC VEHICLES WITH RANGE EXTENDER HYBRIDS (REX)
A range extender is a secondary onboard power generator that charges the electric battery as you drive. It’s usually a small petrol powered engine. You might like a range extender EV if you suffer from range anxiety. This is where you get a bit concerned about how far your EV can take you on just electricity before running out of charge.
Examples of REX Hybrids
What Technology Do Hybrids Use?
Hybrids are powered by two different types of engines. They combine the power of a fuel powered combustion engine and an electric drivetrain.
How Do They Work?
There’s a few different hybrids out there. Some don’t need to be plugged into charge, but others do need to be topped up with that tasty electric juice. These are the different types of hybrids:
|FHEV and MHEV||PHEV||REX|
|Full hybrids can drive powered by on electricity alone or by, fuel alone-powered using their internal combustion alone., Oor a combination of the two. Mild hybrids need an electric engine and combustion engine, working in tandem. Both FHEV and MHEV batteries use regenerative braking to are self-charge.||Plug in hybrids (PEV) combine dual power sources (fuel and electricity), but their batteries are charged externally by connecting into the power grid.||Unlike all other types of hybrids that switch between power sources, range extender hybrids are propelled exclusively by an electric motor. The ‘hybrid’ label comes in the form of a secondary power source (usually a small combustion engine) that generates energy for the battery, but never directly drives the car wheels.|
ARE HYBRID CARS SELF-CHARGING?
Some are, but not all… First up, we need to understand what this nifty little thing called regenerative braking is. Some hybrids on the market will use regenerative braking to recharge - this is the process of using wasted energy while slowing down and using it to recharge the battery. Pretty cool, hey? These are how the different types of hybrids recharge:
- HEV and MHEV batteries use regenerative braking for self-charging.
- PHEVs charge up using a special cable that’s connected to the power grid.
- REX hybrids use a small combustion engine to generate extra power for the battery.
How To Prolong The Life Of The Battery Of A Hybrid Car?
You might enjoy a bit of downtime (don’t we all!?), but hybrid batteries thrive on activity, and they need to be used. So what are you waiting for – get up off that couch! Hit the road, Jack.
What Are The Batteries Made From?
Depending on your make and model, hybrid batteries are typically made from either rechargeable lithium-ion cells, or nickel-metal cells.
How Much Can It Cost To Replace A Hybrid Battery
The cost of replacing a hybrid batteries can range from $1200 up to $10,000, depending on the type of hybrid that you drive.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PROS AND CONS OF HYBRID CARS?
There’s a LOT to love about hybrids. (You know that, or you wouldn’t be here right now!) But it still pays to understand the good, the bad, and the ugly, before you take the plunge.
|The warranty on hybrid vehicle is generally up to 8 years or 160,00kms.||Hybrid cars can get exxy to repair if something goes wrong outside of the warranty period.|
|The partial electrification of hybrids doesn’t take away from their petrol performance, it only adds to it, giving the same fuel range as regular petrol or diesel-powered vehicles.||The batteries in full hybrids are smaller than in EVs, which means they can’t hold as much electric charge and can’t drive as far in all electric mode.|
|Being able to fully charge a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) battery gives the driving range a boost.||With so much choice across the different types of hybrid cars, finding a hybrid that’s the right fit for you can be tricky.|
|The additional power that comes from the electric motor in hybrids, has the potential to allow for a the design of a smaller engine, and better efficiency when running on fuel.||In theory hybrids travel just as fast as fast as traditional cars, but they are intended to be driven moderately to harness regenerative braking.|
|Incentives are available to Aussies wanting to purchase hybrid vehicles.||They say you get what you pay for. This is true, and sadly hybrid cars don’t come cheap.|
WHICH TYPE OF HYBRID IS BEST?
When you busy your first hybrid car, it can be tricky to decide which type of hybrid is best.
If most of your journeys are short (under 40km round trips) and you have easy access to a wall charger at home,** a plug-in hybrid might suit you**.
If your heart is set on an EV but range anxiety will get the better of you, a range extender might be more your thing.
To find the right type of hybrid, think about how you drive, where you drive, when you drive, and what type of fuel efficiency you’re hoping to achieve. The better you understand your driving habits, the easier a good fit will be to find.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How Many Types of Hybrids Are There?
There are four main types of hybrids; full hybrids, mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids and range extender hybrids.
What’s The Most Common Type of Hybrid?
The full hybrid is the most common type of hybrid. They can hold a small amount of electric charge, but they can use it to provide extra power in conjunction with the internal combustion engine. This means improved fuel economy.
Can Hybrids Run on Electricity Only?
Some can, but not all. Full hybrids can drive short distances (usually 3-5kms) in electric only mode. Mild hybrids can only drive on combined energy from the combustion engine and electric motor. PHEVs can travel on average 30-50kms in electric only mode. Range extender hybrids drive exclusively on electric power.
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