A FHEV, Full Hybrid Electric Vehicle, has both a combustion engine and a battery and can run solely on one engine or with a combination of the two. Read on to find out more about FHEVs.
In general, a hybrid vehicle refers to any car that uses both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The theory is that the car will use the electric motor for short distances or when power isn’t required. When the car needs to go a longer distance or reach higher speeds, the internal combustion engine assists it by burning fuel like a traditional vehicle.
A full hybrid refers to hybrid electric vehicles that have larger batteries and more powerful electric motors. This means they can work solely with the electric motor for short distances and low speeds. They tend to cost more than mild hybrids, but they offer more features and much better fuel economy benefits.
This may seem like a contradiction to some people. How can it be called an electric vehicle if it still burns fuel and produces tailpipe emissions?
The draw of an FHEV is that it combines the best of both a traditional vehicle and a BEV. Most BEVs have a low effective range that is easily trumped by a regular car, so they’re not ideal for long distances. On the other hand, regular cars waste a lot of fuel when driving short distances, especially if the car is required to stop and start many times.
An FHEV allows you to drive long distances when needed, but you can also make day-to-day trips using the electric motor alone, meaning you still get zero tailpipe emissions which reduces your carbon footprint and saves you money on fuel costs.
When using just the electric engine, an FHEV will typically have under 50 miles of range. Some of the entry-level models will only have a range of 15 miles. This is usually plenty for day-to-day driving and newer FHEVs are slowly raising the bar in terms of effective range. However, since it also uses an internal combustion engine, you can expect most FHEVs to have a combined range of over 350 miles.
Since a FHEV has a smaller battery than the typical BEV, you can expect it to reach full charge in under 6 hours. Refuelling a FHEV is the same as any regular vehicle, so you can expect to fill the tank in a few minutes.
FHEVs take the best of both traditional cars and BEVs, but what are some of the things to consider before you buy an FHEV?
Are you concerned about your carbon footprint?
While an FHEV is considered an electric vehicle, it’s not fully electric and most models will use the regular internal combustion engine to drive the vehicle or assist the electric motor. While FHEVs have a fully electric mode, you’ll still need to rely on the fuel mode for longer distances. If this is a concern for you, then you may want to consider purchasing a BEV instead.
Do you need more range than a BEV?
One of the biggest advantages of an FHEV is that it can switch to its internal combustion engine if you want to drive long distances or go faster. If you need more range than a typical entry-level BEV, then an FHEV can be the perfect choice. You can continue to take advantage of the savings from the electric engine, but you can also switch to the fuel mode if you need to go further.
Are you worried about refuelling and recharging?
One of the concerns that people have when using an electric vehicle is where their nearest charging station is. For people that drive BEVs, they need to plan out routes to ensure that they can recharge their vehicle when driving longer distances. In comparison, an FHEV doesn’t need to do this because it also takes regular fuel. This means if you’re worried about finding places to charge your car, an FHEV can take some of that worry out of the equation.
Concerns about replacing the battery
Like most electric vehicles, you’ll eventually need to replace the battery on a FHEV. However, since a FHEV battery is much smaller and holds less charge, it doesn’t cost as much as a regular BEV to replace and it won’t wear out as quickly. Even if the battery is only working at 50% of its usual capacity in the next decade, the fuel mode will still work the same as a traditional car.
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