Hybrid vs. Electric Cars| EV Connect — EV Connect


Anyone in the market for an eco-friendly vehicle might be wondering about the difference in hybrid vs. electric cars. Likewise, if you’re a property manager, landlord or developer looking to offer EV charging stations on your property, you may be wondering if the new lines of plug-in hybrids represent a new customer base for your EV charging station infrastructure. 

The short answer to that question is: Yes. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs, can charge through the same 240V charging station that other EVs use. On the other hand, hybrids that don’t plug in draw their battery power from the engine and when the battery is drained, the car simply switches to gas power. 

Let’s look at some of the other differences in hybrid vs. electric vehicles, including the older hybrids and new plug-in hybrids offered by manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda and Hyundai. 

How Does an Electric Vehicle Work? 

While conventional gasoline-powered vehicles (sometimes called internal combustion engines (ICE)) run on gasoline that emits carbon monoxide and other gases into the environment, EVs burn fewer and cleaner emissions per mile. If you use solar power to generate electricity for your EV charging station, you can reduce the carbon footprint of running an EV down to virtually zero. 

Electric cars store their energy in a lithium-ion battery, which powers an electric engine. A single-speed transmission sends power from the motor to the wheels, allowing the car to move. In general, EVs have fewer parts than their counterpart ICE vehicles. They also have fewer components than hybrid vehicles or plug-in hybrids, making them an eco-friendly choice on several levels. 

Understanding EV Maintenance 

Since EVs don’t use oil or transmission fluid, they require less frequent maintenance than ICE vehicles or hybrids. They also often use a system called regenerative braking to stop, which decelerates the car as soon as you remove your foot from the gas pedal. This reduces wear and tear on the brake pads and also helps recharge the vehicle to provide longer range. 

Instead of scheduling oil changes and fluid and brake checks every 5,000 miles, EV owners should schedule a routine “check-up” every 7,500 miles. This service should include: 

  • Tire rotation.

  • Check coolant levels.

  • Visual inspection for fluid leaks.

  • Inspect power steering and drive shafts for wear, leaks or damage.

  • Check the vehicle safety system.

  • Inspect the accelerator pedal, gas struts, brakes and other components for signs of wear or damage.

How Do Hybrid Cars Work? 

Hybrid vehicles have two engines, the spark-plug ignited internal combustion engine, and an electric traction motor powered by a lithium-ion battery similar to the one in EVs, but with a smaller capacity. Like EVs, hybrid electric vehicles use that battery to power the engine and move the drivetrain — but only under certain circumstances. Hybrid vehicles rely on an internal combustion engine for the majority of their driving. 

Hybrid car batteries hold a much smaller charge than an EV, and the battery is charged when the gas engine runs and also through regenerative braking. This helps hybrid cars get better gas mileage in traffic, which is the opposite of fully gas-powered vehicles, which suffer lower mileage on busy city streets and can achieve better fuel economy while cruising on the highway at a steady speed. 

What Are the Benefits of Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles? 

While hybrid vehicles typically only travel 10 to 15 miles on a single battery charge before the ICE motor kicks in, plug-in hybrid vehicles extend that range to as much as 60 miles on a single charge. In urban driving, when the PHEV has a chance to recharge through regenerative braking, the range may be longer. Drivers can use a PHEV on a short trip without tapping into their gas tank at all, making it the perfect car for someone who drives short distances and has access to a charger either through a local EV charging station or in their home. 

Plug-in hybrids also qualify for the EV tax credit, which means owners can claim a refundable tax credit of up to $7,500, making plug-in hybrids an affordable choice over many EVs on the market. 

Hybrid vs. Electric: Which Is Greener? 

If you’re comparing hybrid vs. electric vehicles, EVs will come out ahead as the more sustainable choice. Especially if you use clean solar or wind power for EV charging, you’ll eliminate tapping into fossil fuels to power your car. 

Depending on your driving habits, a plug-in hybrid may be as sustainable as an EV. If you only make short trips and then charge the battery to a full charge before your next trip, you won’t burn gas. However, a plug-in hybrid EV still has more components and moving parts that require maintenance, which increases its overall carbon footprint for both manufacturing and ownership. 

What Do Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Mean for the EV Charging Industry? 

The growth of hybrid electric vehicle sales means an opportunity for landlords, developers and business owners interested in offering EV charging capabilities on their property. As more people drive plug-in vehicles, demand for EV charging stations will grow. Business owners who offer this amenity — either as a value-added service or a perk to customers or tenants — will attract people to their property. Business owners can reap profits from EV charging stations both directly through billing for the service and through increased foot traffic. 

Electric Vehicles with EV Connect

As plug-in hybrid technology advances, it could be that PHEVs make earlier hybrids obsolete. If you’re considering a hybrid vs. electric car, consider how far and frequently you drive, the availability of EV charging stations near you, and your budget.

Interested in EV? Check out our solutions today.

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who has written about sustainability and solar for 20-plus years. She frequently covers Tesla and Elon Musk for GoBankingRates.


  1. Plug-In Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center UC Davis – FAQ Page

  2. Forbes – The 10 Most Cost-Effective Plug-In Hybrids for 2021 

  3. MyEV – What Does It Take To Maintain an Electric Vehicle? 

  4. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Alternative Fuels Data Center – How Do Hybrid Electric Cars Work?

  5. J.D. Power.com – How Regenerative Braking Works 

  6. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Alternative Fuels Data Center – Plug-In Electric Vehicles

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