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.