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What is the Difference Between Hybrid and Electric Cars?

Posted on 12th December 2022
What is the Difference Between Hybrid and Electric Cars?

With more and more of the world’s car manufacturers looking to harness greener technology, the availability of both hybrid and fully electric cars is on the increase.

Net zero aims of nations across the world have meant that in many cases, all new cars sold after a certain date must be electric. In the UK for example, from 2035, you will not be able to buy a brand-new car that is not electrically powered.

The thing is, with this motoring evolution, there is still a degree of confusion among drivers over what is what in the world of AFVs (Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles). As a result, some people are unsure what their best options are for finding brand new cars on finance that achieve green goals but are also affordable.

Ultimately, the difference lies in how the vehicle operates, a hybrid uses a combination of electricity and more traditional fuel types (petrol or diesel), and an electric car is fully electric.

We decided to clear up any confusion with an insight into the differences between the two.

How is an electric car different to a hybrid car?

This is a commonly asked question by those looking to secure electric car finance and the answer is relatively straightforward.

A hybrid, often referred to as a PHEV or HEV, operates using both fuel and electricity. The electricity is stored as energy in a battery that the car then utilises. When not using the battery, it instead uses the fuel-powered engine just like any other car. Depending on the type of hybrid owned, the car can either be plugged in to charge the battery, or it will charge the battery itself through energy regeneration brought on by applying the brakes or cruising.

An electric vehicle runs on just electricity and nothing more. This means it will need to be charged, but constant developments in the technology of these mean that the mileage from a single charge is rapidly increasing.

What are the types of electric and hybrid vehicles?

We have mentioned that within the hybrid vehicle category you may find yourself driving a PHEV or an HEV, but what does it all mean?

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

These are your standard fully electric cars – think Tesla, for example. It will run 100% off the battery and can be charged via home charging ports or at public charging points. You’ll find these springing up more and more over coming years as part of the government’s plan to encourage reducing emissions. You can expect anything from 200-400 miles on a single charge for some vehicles, although each can vary significantly. With no road tax, many priced well under £40,000, and all exempt from London congestion charges, these are becoming a choice for many, not only due to their environmental benefits.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)

The hybrid vehicle uses both an electric and fuel power source. Wheels are powered in three different ways, either by the engine, the electric motor, or a mix of the two. You won’t need to charge them as they operate on regenerative charging which helps the battery top up as you apply the brakes, for example. In some cases, the electric battery will be all you need, especially if the journey is relatively short. Longer journeys don’t tend to be the best option, as both the fuel consumption and charge held by the battery will deplete fast when you reach motorway speeds.

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVS)

The other iteration of a hybrid allows for the same energy sources as the standard HEV, but can be charged by being plugged in as well as through your driving. The electric power gives you more mileage than the HEV and you will enjoy faster speeds. That being said, if you hit the motorway your fuel economy can be hampered once the battery has run out of charge.

Extended Range Vehicles (EREVs)

Also labelled as range extenders, these vehicles are essentially electric vehicles as the driving element is powered by an electric battery. However, there is a small petrol or diesel engine that produces electricity to recharge the battery and therefore extend the available mileage. This tech means that in some cases you can still get an additional 100 miles of driving when the battery has run out. This is especially beneficial if the next chance to charge is not around the corner. Despite this benefit, these do not tend to be particularly economical, meaning that the additional range still falls short of what you will get from a fully electric car.

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs)

With no harmful emissions being produced, these vehicles are another green option for drivers to consider. Powered by hydrogen mixed with oxygen to produce electricity, these cars are still in their infancy when compared to other AFVs. With a refill taking just 5 minutes, only water coming from the exhaust and a greater range than battery-powered electric cars, it has been claimed by many that this is the real future of motoring. The only downside and one that could deter investment by manufacturers or those buying a new car is the cost. Due to the process behind both getting the hydrogen and transporting it, the prices are high. At the same time, these processes also negate some of the environmental benefits that the cars themselves bring.


Whatever car type you are in the market for, speak to the team at Euphoria Finance. We specialise in cheap car loans, making it possible for you to drive the car you want today, tomorrow. Making green driving affordable for all is something we make possible. So whether you are buying a car with bad credit or are perhaps looking at options for first car finance, get in touch. A free quote will tell you all you need to know.

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