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Differences between Electric and Hybrid Cars With greater numbers of hybrid and electric vehicles on our roads than ever before, it is really important to know the differences between them, their advantages and their limitations.
Hybrid Hybrid cars are vehicles that are powered by both a rechargeable electric motor engine and a conventional combustible engine that runs on petrol or diesel. There are two types of hybrid cars available, a self-charging hybrid or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, which is often referred to as a PHEV. Self-charging hybrids use regenerative braking to collect the power that is naturally generated through the motion of the vehicle and through the braking process to recharge the battery, with some also able to be charged for an even greater all-electric range. The electric and combustion engines typically work together to generate power or they can be used independently. Generally, the electric motor powers the car at low speeds and the fuel engine powers it at higher speeds or on longer journeys. It’s important to note that not all hybrids can run on electric power only. Hybrids that can run solely on electric power are often PHEVs.
Electric Electric cars run entirely on an electric motor engine that is powered by a battery. Fully Electric Vehicles - or EVs as they are often known - must be plugged in to recharge the battery. There is no option to use petrol or diesel in these vehicles. The majority of electric cars use high-quality lithium-ion batteries which are similar to that in your smartphone but on a larger scale. To achieve a full charge on an average electric car at a basic public charging station will usually take slightly less than eight hours. When connected to a fast-charging point, it is possible to get an 80% charge in less than an hour. Rapid charge stations are found in public spaces only.


As hybrids use a standard combustible engine with the assistance of the electric power, they are capable of travelling around 500 miles on a full tank of fuel. This is based on motorway driving. However, whilst being driven around towns and other low speed areas, electric mode offers improved performance and economy when compared to an average petrol or diesel car and often release zero CO2 emissions. When using electric power mode only, a hybrid will usually offer an additional 20-30 miles of driving at about 30mph. The Hybrid vehicles also tend to have a slightly smaller fuel tank than that of standard vehicles.


Almost all fully electric cars will be able to comfortably travel at least 100 miles on a single, full charge. However, newer modern electric vehicles are now boasting ranges of over 300 miles on a single charge.

Which is Greener?
Hybrid Hybrids still using fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel to power them. Although their miles per gallon will be higher than that of a standard car, they are still releasing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. At low speeds such as around town, they will often not be releasing CO2 if they are running on electric only. The combustion engine will also create noise pollution, although at a much reduced amount.
Electric Electric engines are practically silent so the only noise pollution is created by the tyres on the road. Because the engine is fully electric it will emit zero emissions to the atmosphere when running. Much like with the Hybrid vehicles, Electric cars will also emit an artificial engine noise at low speeds as well as hen reversing, to warn pedestrians of their presence.
Running Costs
Hybrid Running costs will be higher for a hybrid than that of the electric car as you will need to pay for both petrol or diesel and the electricity to charge the electric battery if this is a plug-in type Hybrid. Self-charging Hybrids do not require electrical costs as the battery self charges however a Plug-in is usually more cost efficient as you can get more from the battery and often make short journeys using just the battery and therefore zero fuel. Road tax for hybrid vehicles ranges greatly from vehicle to vehicle depending on the efficiency of the model. Typically road tax for hybrid cars is usually between £0-£100 per annum.
Electric A full charge on an electric vehicle will usually cost you less than £8 for most vehicles, assuming a range of 200 miles. This equates to around £0.04 per mile which is exceptionally low. Most fully electric cars are road tax-exempt unless they are deemed to be ‘premium rate’, while exemption from Ultra Low Emissions Zone charges and zero emissions zones such as Oxford provide added savings. There’s even savings to be made for business motorists, with Benefit in Kind rates substantially lower. The simplistic nature of this engine and the fact it has less moving parts means that maintenance costs are also relatively low when compared to hybrids.
How can Johnsons Help? Do you have any more questions about the differences between electric and hybrid cars? If so, we would be happy to answer them for you. Get in touch with the team at Johnsons Cars today.