Electrics Cars vs PHEVs vs Hybrid Cars: A Quick Guide

Selling Cars
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Car ownership is a complex skill these days. It starts from the moment you decide to buy a car. It is also perhaps the most challenging decision, more so in today’s advanced auto landscape where every other car has a unique feature.

All sorts of questions come to mind as one decides to own a car like which car to buy, an electric car or a hybrid one, how about an electric sedan,  which brand promises the best features and reliability, how to support Make in India, and many more. But arguably the most persistent doubt associated with car ownership in modern India is which type of vehicle to buy. Electric or PHEV or hybrid?

Without any further delay, let’s find out the difference between Electric Vehicle, Plug-in Electric Vehicle, and a Hybrid!

What is an Electric Vehicle (BEV)?

Tesla Model 3 – Battery Electric Vehicle

An electric vehicle is the standard battery-operated setup that powers the engine using rechargeable batteries. An external power source is required, which is usually in the form of charging stations like fuel pumps.

Also known as battery electric vehicles (BEV), they exclusively run on electricity and do not have a fuel engine. Hyundai KONA Electric, Tata Nexon EV, MG ZS EV, and Audi E-Tron are all battery electric vehicles.

There is a subtype known as fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV), but they have not been introduced in India yet.

What is a Hybrid Vehicle?

Toyota Camry Hybrid

On the other hand, a conventional hybrid vehicle is one that combines the efficiency of the electricity-powered engine and the familiarity of the traditional fuel engine (internal combustion engine). It runs on petrol or diesel and is supported by an electric system.

The caveat, however, is that hybrid vehicles cannot be recharged at an EV charging station. The batteries can only be juiced up through the process of regenerative braking, an action that basically converts kinetic energy into electricity which then powers the engine or supports it.

As you may have already guessed, this is a more efficient and expensive type. MG Hector and Toyota Camry (2020 model) are examples of hybrid cars.

What is a Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV)?

The drawback of hybrid vehicles is resolved here. In a PHEV car, you can use both a petroleum-powered engine as well as a battery-controlled one. The good part is that you can also charge the batteries directly at an EV outlet, making it both easier and efficient to use.

Unfortunately, PHEV cars are not popular in India. Though a few car models by Hyundai and Nissan are slated to launch in the next few years.

Electric vs Plug-In Hybrid Electric vs Hybrid

The difference between these now becomes easier to note. Here’s a quick summary:

Particulars Electric (BEV) Conventional Hybrid (HEV) PHEV
Engine Battery operated only Battery operated + fuel Battery operated + fuel
Electric charging capability Possible Not possible Possible
Mileage (fuel economy) Good Better Better
Battery-fuel switching capability Not applicable Present in some car models Present
Driving range on electric power Very high Medium High
Environment-friendliness Excellent Medium High

It is evident that electric vehicles are the future of the auto industry, but in India, things are just getting started!

Buying a battery electric vehicle is the wisest choice today for an eco-friendly tomorrow.  Though your choice should depend on your own requirements. Maybe all you need is a used electric car to make a better decision? Follow the Cars24 blog to know more.

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