Differences between a fully electric vehicle and a hybrid explained…
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A FULLY ELECTRIC VEHICLE AND A HYBRID EXPLAINED…
What is the difference between a fully electric car and a hybrid? Are some hybrids different? What else is available opposed to petrol and diesel cars?
There’s a great deal of confusion surrounding this. Car manufacturers’ primary concern is selling cars rather than educating the public about the technology and the real differences between a fully EV or PHEV. (Plugin hybrid electric vehicle)
What is an electric car, or ‘EV’? An electric car runs on and is ‘charged up’ with, electric power. Petrol or diesel is never used to refuel an electric car. The electricity that powers an electric car is stored in batteries before being used by electric motors to drive the car; the addition of a fossil fuel engine would make it a hybrid.
Hybrid cars, meanwhile have electric elements to their powertrains but cannot be considered ‘electric cars’ due to the presence of a petrol engine. This has caused some confusion recently, not least because certain manufacturers are very keen to describe as “electric” a car which still burns fossil fuels to move; misleading at best, and deceptive at worst.
Electric cars are becoming commonplace thanks to certain financial advantages, including government grants and the lower cost of “topping up” compared to a tank of petrol. They’re considered better for the environment due to the fact they emit no exhaust gases. Popular examples of electric vehicles (often abbreviated to “EV”) include the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, and Tesla Model S but the choice is expanding rapidly.
Electric vehicles have several key benefits when compared to ordinary petrol and diesel cars, as well as increasingly popular hybrid cars. Electric vehicles emit no pollution at the tailpipe, which means they have a much smaller local environmental impact. They operate very quietly and are generally extremely easy to drive, with no real gearbox to speak of and a great deal of power at low speeds. You can drive an electric car on an automatic-only driving licence.
Most importantly, they can be charged up at home. You can ‘refuel’ an electric car using a smart home charger designed to ‘plugin’ at home for faster charging, it’s perfectly possible to use the existing setup on your drive or in your garage. Faster chargers, such as those found in car parks, workplaces and at petrol stations, are also useful for EV owners.
Disadvantages include that need to ‘charge’ an electric vehicle, which takes longer than filling a tank of petrol or diesel – usually several hours in comparison to a couple of minutes. Most electric cars can be charged on rapid chargers in a shorter time, this will ordinarily be around 30 minutes. During this time, the vehicle must be physically connected to a plug socket,
What is a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or mild hybrid car?
The term ‘hybrid’ is technically quite vague, but in the context of cars almost always refers to a petrol-electric powertrain. This means the car uses a combination of electricity stored in batteries and petrol stored in a tank to propel the car forward. The details of this arrangement will vary from car to car.
A hybrid vehicle will almost always be able to charge its own batteries using the petrol engine. In some cases, this is all the petrol engine is there for – to recharge the batteries, which power the electric motors. In other types of hybrid, the petrol motor drives the wheels directly, but an additional battery/motor combination adds some electric drive.
The Suzuki Ignis is a mild hybrid, and one of the cheapest hybrid cars available.
In ‘mild hybrids’, the amount of electric power that drives the wheels is limited. The car won’t normally drive on electric power alone, but a small electric motor can be used to fill in the gaps. These systems are cheaper than ‘full hybrid’ models but have a much smaller benefit it terms of emissions.
Some hybrid cars are what’s known as ‘plug-in’ hybrids. As the name suggests, these cars can be plugged-in to the national grid by means of a cable, as you would an electric car. This will charge the cars batteries, enabling some electric-only range (usually between 20 and 40 miles) and usually reducing the amount of petrol used over longer journeys. This in turn reduces the cost per mile as well as the overall exhaust emissions of the car, when used correctly; there is no requirement to plug the car in (unlike with electric cars) and many owners choose not to.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a plug-in hybrid (that’s what PHEV stands for).
Examples of hybrid cars include the ubiquitous Toyota Prius, the generously-proportioned Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and the sporty BMW i8. In fact, there are well over 50 hybrid cars currently on sale in Britain, ranging in price from around £13,500 (for the Suzuki Ignis mild hybrid) to more than ten times that (for the top-spec £147,000 Porsche Panamera hybrid).
To make things more confusing, some models are available as a petrol car or as a hybrid. And more bafflingly still, some hybrids have a plug-in option as well as a non-plug-in version. You’d be surprised at how many cars are now available as a hybrid of some description, though – the Volkswagen Golf, Mercedes E-Class, Volvo XC90 and BMW 3-Series are all now available with hybrid powertrains.
The primary reason for using a hybrid car is to reduce the amount of liquid fuel you use. The secondary reason is to be able to drive without emitting any pollution for relatively short distances. Ordinarily, this will save buyers money, as well as reducing damage to the environment. However, it’s important to remember that any savings you make (financial or environmental) will depend on the way in which you use your vehicle, and that the increased cost of buying a hybrid might outweigh the amount you save on fuel.
What do people mean by ‘internal combustion’, and what is an ICE car? The car motor as we’ve known it for the past hundred years is an ‘internal combustion engine’. There are several variations on the theme, but they nearly always involve burning a liquid fuel (generally petrol or diesel) inside a cylinder, to move a piston, to create motion. Internal combustion engines were chosen over their rivals (such as the steam engine) because they’re relatively well-suited to powering automobiles.
Now, though, the environmental cost is becoming clear. Not only do they normally run on fossil fuels, a finite resource, but the pollution they cause has a harmful impact on both local and global levels. This is why the government has announced plans to stop sales of pure internal combustion vehicles from 2040 onwards.
This does not mean the end of the internal combustion engine altogether, however. The technology remains an integral part of hybrid cars – whereas a conventional ‘ICE’ (Internal Combustion Engine) car uses its engine to turn the wheels directly, a hybrid car uses its engine in conjunction with a battery and electric motor.
To most consumers, the difference is slight. Apart from quieter operation and reduced fuel bills, many motorists wouldn’t notice any change if they swapped a conventional ICE car for a hybrid. The impact of the planned ban on petrol and diesel cars has been, we feel, exaggerated.
Hybrid cars, electric cars, and the 2040 petrol/diesel ban
If this new law is enacted, what will we be left with? Well, pretty much anything you want. It sounds like the only cars that won’t be on sale after 2040 are pure petrol and pure diesel cars, which are a dying breed anyway; manufacturers in every segment are embracing hybrid, electric and other technologies to save their customers money and reduce pollution.
If you walk down a British street today, many of the cars you see already have enough electric capabilities to be sold after 2040. And remember that the 2040 rule only applies to sales – driving and owning a petrol or diesel car will, as far as we’re aware, also be perfectly legal after this date.
Which is stored in rechargeable batteries. One of the primary benefits of an EV is the lack of tailpipe emissions.
Types of electric cars.
The term electric vehicle (EV) is commonly used to refer to three main types of automotive drivetrains. These are Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), Hybrid-Electric Vehicle (HEV), and Plugin Hybrid-Electric Vehicle (pHEV).
Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
A BEV is a ‘true’ electric vehicle in that the only source of propulsion is from electrical energy. Battery electric vehicles store electricity on-board with high-capacity battery packs. This battery power is used to run all on-board electronics as well as the main-drive electric motor(s). BEVs are powered by electricity from an external source, an electrical outlet or specialty electric vehicle charging stations.
Hybrid-Electric Vehicle (HEV)
A hybrid-electric vehicle has a twopart drive system, a conventional fuel engine, and an electric drive. HEVs contain all the components of both internal combustion engine (ICE) and electric vehicles. These include an ICE engine, fuel tank, transmission as well as battery pack and electric motor. Some vehicles classified as HEV may have only a small electric motor and battery system to propel the vehicle at low speeds. Other HEVs may have smaller fuel engines and relatively larger electric drives. The degree to which the vehicle is propelled, either by fuel or electric power determines on the specific make and model of the vehicle. In all HEVs the only energy source is fuel, electrical energy is generated secondarily via alternator or regenerative braking.
Plug-in Hybrid-Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEV) are similar to HEVs except that the proportion energy used to propel the vehicle is electricity, not fuel. These vehicles have larger electrical drives and battery storage capacity than HEVs and are also equipped with a smaller internal combustion engine. The vehicle is designed to engage the fuel engine when battery electricity is running low or to replace the electric drivetrain when more power is required. Since PHEVs can be recharged from an electrical outlet it is possible to drive them entirely on electrical energy.
‘Educating consumers is a major part of driving the future forward.’
A marketing professional with over 13 years’ experience in various business sectors including retail, financial services, building industry and public services.Passionate about expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure.