Hybrids Cars

What is a Hybrid Car?

A hybrid car uses both a combustion engine and a battery-powered electric motor, and is able to supplement the use of fuel with electricity. Electricity from the battery can be used to simply power the onboard electric systems or used to directly power the wheels. This reduces the demand on the engine to burn fuel, which helps improve fuel economy and lower the tailpipe emissions of the car.

Hybrids are not all the same. There are different types of hybrid cars that all use electricity in slightly different ways. This causes variation in how hybrid cars perform, meaning some models are able to drive longer distances using electric power while other models have a much limited capacity to use electricity. With this guide we help you understand the different types of hybrid vehicles so you'll know which hybrid will best suit your lifestyle.

Types of Hybrid Car

Mild Hybrid (mHEV)


Mild hybrid cars use a small battery connected to an electric motor that helps the car run more efficiently and economically. The electric motor does not work independent of the engine and cannot power the car directly. Mild hybrids uses electricity only at very slow speeds, whilst idling or when stationary, allowing the engine to switch off and save fuel.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV)


HEVs use an electric motor that is independent from the engine, meaning the car can drive for very short distances on all electric power. Hybrid electric vehicles can dynamically deliver electricity alongside conventional mechanical power from the engine to drive the car. The electric motor will typically help power the car at slower speeds of up to 30mph, to help save fuel for travelling at faster speeds.

Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV)


Plug-in hybrids have the largest battery of any hybrid car and have the longest range too. With increased capacity to use electricity, Plug-in hybrids require charging through the National Grid using an external charge point. PHEVs have the best performance of any hybrid car. They typically have an electric range of 30 - 50 miles and a fuel economy upwards of 100mpg.

Types of Hybrid Car

Mild Hybrid (mHEV)


Mild hybrid cars use a small battery connected to an electric motor that helps the car run more efficiently and economically. The electric motor does not work independent of the engine and cannot power the car directly. Mild hybrids uses electricity only at very slow speeds, whilst idling or when stationary, allowing the engine to switch off and save fuel.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV)


HEVs use an electric motor that is independent from the engine, meaning the car can drive for very short distances on all electric power. Hybrid electric vehicles can dynamically deliver electricity alongside conventional mechanical power from the engine to drive the car. The electric motor will typically help power the car at slower speeds of up to 30mph, to help save fuel for travelling at faster speeds.

Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV)


Plug-in hybrids have the largest battery of any hybrid car and have the longest range too. With increased capacity to use electricity, Plug-in hybrids require charging through the National Grid using an external charge point. PHEVs have the best performance of any hybrid car. They typically have an electric range of 30 - 50 miles and a fuel economy upwards of 100mpg.

Difference in hybrid performance

Plug-in hybrids have the longest electric range of any hybrid car. It is dependant on the model, but is typically between 25 - 55 miles.


Hybrid Electric Vehicles have a limited electric range of 1 - 2 miles.


Mild hybrids are not able to use electricity to power the car so they don't have an electric range.

Plug-in hybrids have the largest battery of any hybrid car, allowing for their extended electric range and better fuel economy. Hybrid Electric Vehicles have a much smaller battery than plug-in models, while Mild Hybrid cars typically use a 48V battery.

Fuel economy varies between models, but plug-in hybrid have by far the best fuel economy of any hybrid car, with hybrid electric vehicles offering slightly better fuel economy than mild hybrids. As an example, lets compare the latest range of Kia hybrid cars. The Kia Sportage (mHEV) has a 47mpg, the Kia Niro Self-charging hybrid (HEV) has a 54mpg fuel economy, and the Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) has a 217mpg fuel economy.

With less demand on the engine to burn fuel, hybrid cars produce less tailpipe emissions than petrol and diesel engines. CO2 emissions are lower as battery size increases and the electric performance of the car improves. The Kia Niro Plug-in hybrid, for example, emits 29g/km CO2 emissions, whilst the Kia Sportage (mHEV) emits 114g/km.


(g/km is the measurements of grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere)

Plug-in hybrids are the only type of hybrid car that require manual charging from a charge point. PHEVs can be charged at home from a 230V wall mounted charge point, or at public access charge points and rapid charge points found on motorways.


HEVs and mild hybrids don't require manual charging from a charge point. Instead, they can recharge the battery on the move through a process called regenerative braking, which captures energy from braking and converts it into electricity. For this reason, you may see mild hybrids and hybrid electric vehicles marketed as self-charging hybrids.

  • Electric Range

    Plug-in hybrids have the longest electric range of any hybrid car. It is dependant on the model, but is typically between 25 - 55 miles.


    Hybrid Electric Vehicles have a limited electric range of 1 - 2 miles.


    Mild hybrids are not able to use electricity to power the car so they don't have an electric range.

  • Battery Size

    Plug-in hybrids have the largest battery of any hybrid car, allowing for their extended electric range and better fuel economy. Hybrid Electric Vehicles have a much smaller battery than plug-in models, while Mild Hybrid cars typically use a 48V battery.

  • Fuel Economy

    Fuel economy varies between models, but plug-in hybrid have by far the best fuel economy of any hybrid car, with hybrid electric vehicles offering slightly better fuel economy than mild hybrids. As an example, lets compare the latest range of Kia hybrid cars. The Kia Sportage (mHEV) has a 47mpg, the Kia Niro Self-charging hybrid (HEV) has a 54mpg fuel economy, and the Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) has a 217mpg fuel economy.

  • Emissions

    With less demand on the engine to burn fuel, hybrid cars produce less tailpipe emissions than petrol and diesel engines. CO2 emissions are lower as battery size increases and the electric performance of the car improves. The Kia Niro Plug-in hybrid, for example, emits 29g/km CO2 emissions, whilst the Kia Sportage (mHEV) emits 114g/km.


    (g/km is the measurements of grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere)

  • Charging

    Plug-in hybrids are the only type of hybrid car that require manual charging from a charge point. PHEVs can be charged at home from a 230V wall mounted charge point, or at public access charge points and rapid charge points found on motorways.


    HEVs and mild hybrids don't require manual charging from a charge point. Instead, they can recharge the battery on the move through a process called regenerative braking, which captures energy from braking and converts it into electricity. For this reason, you may see mild hybrids and hybrid electric vehicles marketed as self-charging hybrids.

How hybrids work...

Series Hybrid Design


A series hybrid design only uses electricity to power the wheels. The engine is used to power a generator, which in turn charges the battery and feeds power to the electric motor.

Parallel Hybrid Design


Parallel hybrids use both mechanical power from the engine and electrical power from an electric motor. Parallel hybrids can run on either power source or both at the same time.

Series-Parallel Hybrid


Series-parallel hybrids combine a series and parallel design together. Series-parallel hybrids can run at optimum efficiency more of the time by switching between the electric motor and engine depending on the speed.

How hybrids work...

Series Hybrid Design


A series hybrid design only uses electricity to power the wheels. The engine is used to power a generator, which in turn charges the battery and feeds power to the electric motor.

Parallel Hybrid Design


Parallel hybrids use both mechanical power from the engine and electrical power from an electric motor. Parallel hybrids can run on either power source or both at the same time.

Series-Parallel Hybrid


Series-parallel hybrids combine a series and parallel design together. Series-parallel hybrids can run at optimum efficiency more of the time by switching between the electric motor and engine depending on the speed.

Search the latest new hybrid models


Hybrid FAQs

  • What's different about driving a hybrid car?

    The driving experience of a hybrid car will depend on the type of hybrid you drive. Typically though, hybrid cars are quieter to drive. The engine will switch off when stationary or idling, and there'll be much less engine noise and vibration from a plug-in hybrid driving in electric mode.


    In general, hybrid cars look and feel very much the same to conventional petrol and hybrid cars. The road handling and acceleration is broadly comparable, you might feel additional torque from a hybrid car and they normally use an automatic transmission. Most hybrids are similar in appearance to their petrol and diesel counterparts.

  • What manufacturers sell hybrids?

    A wide range of manufacturers are now selling hybrid cars. Many of the world's leading car brands have announced their strategies to become a carbon neutral company.


    This means that the availability of hybrid and electric cars is rapidly increasing and soon the majority of car's available with be a hybrid of sorts. Some manufacturers like Toyota manufacturer all their cars as hybrids and the likes of Ford and Vauxhall are now releasing some of their best selling models as a hybrid.


    Take a look at the latest hybrid and electric range of cars for sale at Stoneacre, with models available from leading manufacturers like Ford, Vauxhall, Toyota and Volvo.



  • How much does it cost to charge a hybrid?

    If you drive a mild hybrid or a hybrid electric vehicle, it won't cost you anything to keep the battery charged. Plug-in hybrids require charging from the National Grid so the cost of charging your car will be the same rate as the electricity you use to power your home.


    Some of the big six energy companies offer special tariffs for hybrid and electric vehicle owners. The cost of charging your car will vary though depending on where you charge. Like with buying petrol and diesel at highway service stations, charging your car at a rapid motorway charge point in the middle of the day will be more expensive than charging your car overnight at home.

  • How does a self-charging hybrid work?

    A self-charging hybrid is a term used to describe a hybrid car that doesn't need to be plugged in to charge. Self-charging hybrids regenerate their own electricity by capturing energy from braking and converting it back into electricity to charge the battery.

  • What are the running costs of a hybrid car?

    The running costs of a hybrid varies depending on the performance and hybridity of the car. Plug-in hybrid, whilst more expensive, have markedly better fuel economy than alternative hybrid models. This will cost your more upfront when your purchase or finance the car, but the weekly running costs of your car will be much lower.


    Hybrids improve fuel economy by around 20-25% and are often taxed less too. Hybrid cars registered from April 2017 are eligible for a £10 alternative fuel discount to the first year of VED (tax), and then the standard rate afterwards. Meanwhile, cars that were registered March 2001-2017 benefit even more, as tax is based on emissions.


    For London dwellers, there’s further good news as Plug-in Hybrids with CO2 less than 75g/km and able of at least 20 miles of electric-only range are exempt from the London Congestion Charge.

  • What grants are available for hybrid cars?

    Government grants are available of up to £3000 for purchasing hybrid and electric cars. However, there is specific criteria that must be met to receive the grant. The grant is only available on new cars up to the cost of £50,000, which have CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km.

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Electric & Hybrid Cars


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