Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid and Fully Electric - What’s the difference and which one is for you?

HEV, PHEV, BEV.. It’s easy to get confused but we’re here to help you get right down to the nitty gritty details and figure out what they are exactly and which one is best for you.

So let’s start off with HEV. Now you or I probably know this best as just a Hybrid car but HEV stands for Hybrid Electric Vehicle. What is a HEV and why is it different from a Plug-In Hybrid?

A Hybrid Electric Vehicle is made up of three things; a traditional petrol engine, an electric motor and a small battery pack, all of which work together to make the car more efficient.

How does it work, you ask? When you press the brakes to slow down, the energy is recovered by turning the motor into a little generator which tops up the battery, then the power is used by the electric motor to boost the engine. This combination results in higher fuel efficiency and lower tailpipe emissions. A good hybrid vehicle will generally use about 20% less fuel than a traditional combustion engine. So it’s not an electric car in the traditional sense but more of an extra efficient petrol or diesel car.

This moves us on to the PHEV. The Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle essentially gives you the best of both worlds. The PHEV combines an electric motor with a traditional combustion engine. What does this mean? Well, it has a larger battery than the HEV and can be plugged in to charge so that it can substitute some fuel mileage for electric driving. This means that if you are mainly doing shorter journeys, you could do the bulk of your driving in full electric mode however you still have the petrol engine to fall back on if you need to clock up more kms.

This brings us to the most efficient model. A Battery Electric Vehicle. BEV for short. With no traditional engine, only a big battery pack with an electric motor, a BEV has no localised emissions and is almost silent. All you have to do is plug it in at home or at any electric charging station when you’re out and about.

Which One Is For You?

Lifestyle and budget should dictate the type of electric vehicle you buy. Think about what mileage you do, where you do it, as well as budget and running costs before making any decisions.

We’ll try and make things easier for you.

HEV - a hybrid electric vehicle is less expensive and brings no range anxiety. However, it is less efficient than the PHEV and BEV. You have to be practical though. Do the maths and work out what’s best for you? Long journeys? A Hybrid might be the best option for you. You’re also in luck here as you’re spoilt for choice with Mazda, Toyota, Ford and Nissan. Not only that but Nissan have just released the All-New Nissan Qashqai as a mild hybrid, so if you’re thinking about going hybrid why not check that out?

PHEV - a plug-in hybrid is more expensive than your regular hybrid however it can run for greater distances on electric power only. Shorter journeys only? A PHEV might be the best option for you as you could do most of your driving in pure electric mode, therefore you’d save on fuel. When you want to take a longer trip, don’t worry about it, the traditional combustion engine will kick in once you keep it fueled. Like we said, best of both worlds! There are some cons though as you’ll need to charge it more often to get the use of the electric mode due to the limited range. Again, the world is almost your oyster when choosing a PHEV, with Opel, Peugeot, SKODA, Volvo, Hyundai, Land Rover and BMW a few of the manufacturers that offer plug-in hybrids.

Bringing us to the most environmentally friendly vehicle of them all, the BEV. Pure Electric Vehicles have come a long way in the last few years. Manufacturers such as SKODA and Volkswagen have worked hard to create fast charging battery technologies that also give you more range. With the latest models the ENYAQ iV and the ID.4 giving you up to 500kms. To put it in perspective, this will get you from Malin Head, Co. Donegal to Tralee, Co. Kerry in one charge! All things going well of course. However, with greater efficiency comes greater expense. BEVs with larger range are more expensive than PHEVs and HEVs.

So it all comes down to asking yourself two questions; What is my budget? What type of journeys am I making? From here, it won’t be long until you find the perfect HEV, PHEV or BEV for you!

You definitely won’t be stuck for choice. Why not have a look now and see what options we have to offer you on WhichCar?

Hope this helped,