Hybrid Electric Vehicles After an electrified car but not sure if a full electric vehicle suits you just yet? A hybrid should be at the top of your list.

What is a Hybrid Electric Vehicle?

Hybrid vehicles have two sources of power that work in harmony together – a petrol or diesel engine and a battery-driven electric motor. Hybrids have been designed with efficiency in mind and effortlessly switch between engine power and electric power to ensure the vehicle performs in the most economical way possible.

Generally, the idea is that the electric motor takes care of the driving at low speeds or while accelerating, because that’s when a combustion engine is at its most efficient. Then, once up to speed, when the engine can run at low effort to keep things ticking along, it takes over.

The result is better fuel economy and fewer trips to the pump, which is always a good thing!

When you hear a car referred to as simply a ‘hybrid’ alone, it tends to mean that it has the capability to run on pure electric but the batteries can only be recharged through regenerative braking.

This is when motors in the wheels ‘harvest’ energy that would normally be lost when decelerating and braking and uses it to replenish the battery charge. You might have heard the term ‘self-charging hybrid’, and this is where the term comes from – you never charge the vehicle from an external source, it recharges itself through regeneration.

The positive side of a hybrid is that they’re massively more economical than a mild hybrid, because you can drive on electric only, providing there’s enough charge, and they tend to be less expensive than plug-in models.

The downside is that, because they rely on deceleration to charge, if you do a lot of motorway miles at a consistent speed, you could find the battery is dead once you get to a town where you could use EV mode.

What is a self-charging hybrid?

You may hear the term ‘self-charging’ banded around with reference to hybrids. We’ll admit it’s a somewhat confusing way of describing these types of vehicles. In truth, there’s actually very little to separate a ‘self-charging’ hybrid from just a regular hybrid. They still use a single motor, or pair of electric motors, to assist the petrol (or in small numbers diesel) engine, and they can’t be plugged in to top up the batteries either.

So how do you charge them? Most hybrids come with the option to use some of the engine’s power output to charge the batteries, therefore reserving some electric power for later use. In addition, nearly all hybrids harness the energy generated when braking and coasting, pushing this kinetic energy into the batteries. So really, if you hear someone talking about a ‘self-charging’ hybrid, they’re just talking about a hybrid car which can’t be plugged into the mains.

Would a hybrid benefit me?

A lot of people could benefit from making the switch to a hybrid, but it really depends on what type of journeys you’re making every day. For instance, those who do shorter commutes or trips day-to-day are definitely candidates for the swap to a hybrid; it’s on more compact trips that hybrids can run on all-electric power alone meaning that emissions are practically zero - while the car’s overall consumption of fuel will be kept as low as possible.

In contrast, if you’re travelling further afield more regularly while at higher speeds, then a conventionally powered car may still be your best bet. Hybrids struggle to run on electric power at motorway speeds and for long distances, after which the smaller combustion engine is left to deal with propulsion all by itself, resulting in higher emissions and poor fuel economy.

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How do hybrid cars work?


Hybrid cars are powered by a mixture of a standard combustion engine and an electric motor which uses batteries that self-charge through regenerative braking technology. 

Are hybrid cars worth it?


It is fact that hybrids deliver much better fuel economy. They are also more reliable, better for the environment and can also offer a number of tax benefits.

What does hybrid car mean?


A hybrid car uses more than one type of power. It uses either a petrol or diesel engine alongside an electric motor.

What are hybrid cars?


Hybrid cars use two sources to power them: an electric motor which self charges and either a diesel or petrol engine.

Are hybrid cars reliable?


Hybrids have proven to be very reliable, probably more so than many traditional combustion engines, regularly coming out top in dependability and reliability surveys.

Can hybrid cars tow?


Absolutely. It’s just a case of making sure you pick the right model for the job. For specific guidance, contact Swansway Group today.

Why hybrid cars?


The main advantages are low fuel consumption, less harmful fuel emissions and tax advantages as a result.

Are hybrid cars more expensive?


Hybrid cars can be more expensive than standard fuel engines but this can often be off-set over time against lower fuel consumption, reduced running costs and even lower insurance.

Are hybrid cars electric?


Hybrid cars are partly powered by an electric motor but cannot be considered electric cars because of the presence of a petrol or diesel engine.

When were hybrid cars invented?


Hybrid electric vehicles became widely available in 1997 when Toyota bought the Prius to market. But the first invention dates back to around 1900 with the Lohner-Porsche.

What hybrid cars are available?


The range of hybrid cars available is growing rapidly. Swansway Group has a great selection including family hybrid cars and seven-seat hybrids from Audi, Volkswagen and more.