What is the difference between Hybrid and Electric?

With electrified vehicles gaining attention in the media and popularity on the roads, more drivers are reviewing their options when then time comes to upgrade their vehicle. But what is the difference between hybrid and electric? And what types of Hybrid are there? We’re here to explain…

What is an EV?

The term ‘EV’ can be a little confusing as it’s mostly used to describe a fully electric vehicle, but sometimes refers to a vehicle that uses an electric motor in addition to a combustion engine.
A fully electric, or zero-emissions, vehicle is one that has no combustion engine at all, instead being powered by a battery pack and either one or two electric motors. These turn the wheels and provide instant torque, making acceleration quick and smooth. They are incapable of stalling, meaning all-electric vehicles typically only have one gear and are driven very much like automatic cars. 
The battery needs to be charged by connecting the vehicle to an electrical power source – either a domestic charging point such as a wall box, or a public charger. Energy is often recouped through regenerative braking too, a system which takes excess energy produced during braking and stores it in the battery for use during acceleration. 

Key Benefits Include:

✔ No fuel

✔ No Emissions

✔ Low running costs

✔ Low Maintenance

What is a Self-Charging Hybrid?

A self-charging hybrid is a vehicle that relies predominantly on its internal combustion engine, which is usually petrol fuelled, but which uses an electric motor to support performance. There is no need to plug the battery into an external power source in order to recharge it, hence the term ‘self-charging’. Instead, the battery is recharged by the engine, and using systems such as regenerative braking, which stores energy that would otherwise be lost during braking, for later use.

Due to the small size of the battery a self-charging hybrid has a very limited electric-only range – usually no more than a couple of miles. An ideal time to use it would be in traffic or when entering a restricted emissions zone. The electric motor is there primarily to add a boost during acceleration and to improve fuel efficiency.

Key Benefits Include:

✔ Self-charging

✔ No need to plug in

✔ Lower CO2 emissions compared to petrol cars

What is a Plug-in Hybrid?

A Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) is a vehicle that has an internal combustion engine (usually petrol) and a larger battery pack that provides much more support, as well as a larger electric-only range. The battery must be plugged into a power source – such as a home wall box or public charging point – in order to charge, and many models will automatically select the most appropriate power source for the circumstances. For example, electric-only power would be selected for low-speed, urban driving, while the engine kicks in on the motorway.

A typical electric-only range for a PHEV in 20 to 30 miles, meaning most daily commutes can easily be completed without the use of the engine. That said, if the battery is too cold or too hot, or the multimedia and air conditioning systems are drawing a lot of power, the engine will provide the necessary support to propel the car. 

Key Benefits Include:

✔ Electric range is great for daily commuting

✔ Tax benefits

✔ Lower emissions

✔ Benefits for company car drivers

What is a Mild Hybrid?

A Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) is one that primarily uses a combustion engine to propel it, with the support of a battery. This battery – typically a 48v – works in conjunction with the regular 12v battery found in every combustion-engined car to power systems such as the air conditioning, catalytic converter and engine fan. It often also supports the engine during acceleration, resulting in smoother, faster acceleration without such a dramatic effect on fuel consumption. Some MHEVs even enable you to coast for up to 40 seconds with the vehicle’s engine turned off, helping to further reduce emissions.
Mild hybrid vehicles drive very similarly to those with a combustion engine, but braking may feel slightly different if you have not experienced a car with regenerative braking before.

Key Benefits Include:

✔ Cheapest type of hybrid vehicle

✔ Uses a smaller battery

✔ Provides support for acceleration and cruising.


I am still unsure at whether to choose an Electric or Hybrid, can I speak to one of your experts?


Absolutely. Here at Vantage Motor Group our dedicated staff will be more than happy to assist with any queries you have regarding our Electric and Hybrid Range.

Contact us

Where can I view your Electric and Hybrid used stock?


You can view our entire Electric and Hybrid used vehicles via the link below.

View Stock

Do Vantage do any special offers for Electric & Hybrid vehicles?


We have a wide range of offers for Electric & Hybrid vehicles. Follow the link below and choose your preferred make. 

View Offers

Can I leave my Hybrid vehicle for an extended period of time without having to recharge the battery?


If your Hybrid vehicle is not being driven for an extended period of time then it may need recharging. In the unlikely event that the battery discharges completely, the petrol engine will start the car.

Does it cost more to service a Hybrid vehicle?


Your Hybrid service will cost you no more than a regular service and, at Vantage Toyota, includes a battery health check which extends the battery warranty by another year, or 10,000 mile, beyond your standard 5 year Toyota warranty, up to 15 years.

What do I do if I'm driving and my Hybrid battery runs out of charge?


The Self-Charging Hybrid vehicle is designed so that the battery never runs out of charge as it is charged by the petrol engine as you drive.

What is EV mode?


EV mode is where the electric motor can exclusively drive the car without depending on the petrol engine. Hybrid vehicles can drive in electric mode for up to 50% of your journey, allowing you to generate zero emissions during this period.

Are all Hybrid vehicles automatic?


Most Hybrid vehicles are automatic but not all are. However, all Toyota Hybrids are automatic as it enables for a smoother, more relaxing driving experience. ​

Does a Hybrid save you fuel?


Yes, Hybrid vehicles provide up to 30% better fuel economy to a comparable petrol engine. This is because the conventional engine is not needed for power when driving in electric mode and so less fuel is used on journeys.

Are Hybrids good for motorway driving?


Yes, the petrol engine and the electric motor work together to give your car a boost when at high speeds and when you are overtaking. Hybrid vehicles are also quiet, efficient and comfortable which is ideal for motorway cruising.

Find out More
Enquire now To find out more about the Hybrid and Electric vehicles available at Vantage Motor Group, get in touch with the team at your local Vantage dealership today.