What is a Hybrid Car and Should You Buy One?

2021 saw the biggest rise in electric vehicle purchases, with more registered than previous years combined. One section of the electric vehicle market that has seen a massive increase is hybrid vehicles. 114,554 plug-in hybrids alone were registered last year, and we saw a 9.3% rise in HEV (Hybrid electric vehicle) registrations. But what exactly is a hybrid, and is the right investment for you? 

To put it simply a hybrid vehicle will combine a petrol or diesel engine with an added electric motor to power a vehicle. But this can be achieved in separate ways, as we’ll explain in this blog.  

The main USP of a hybrid vehicle is that they can consume less fuel and emit less carbon dioxide than its internal combustion engine (ICE) competitor. Because of this, consumers can benefit from reduced first year road tax and company car tax as well as avoid the ever-increasing congestion and ultra-low emission zones that are appearing more often in our city centres. 


  1. Parallel hybrid vehicles

Probably the more widely produced and known type of hybrid is the Parallel, which includes market giants such as the Toyota Prius – one of the first hybrids to see a mass interest globally. A parallel hybrid uses both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor to power the vehicle – this means there is no separation, so the electrcannot run solely the electric motor will only engage when required. 

They are a great alternative to consumers wanting to be more environmentally conscious, while still enjoying the convenience of a combustion engine when you need it – No range anxiety! 

An example of how this hybrid works would be, when accelerating at speeds up to 15mph, a Prius will use its electric motor for power, making it very economical when driving in a city or when caught in rush hour traffic. The petrol engine will then take-over as acceleration increases. 


  1. Range extender hybrid vehicles

The range-extended electric vehicle (REEV), or extended-range EV, can go longer and further on a single charge than the typical battery powered vehicles. The range-extender hybrid is slowly coming an outdated concept in today’s world with the vast improvement in Plug-in and HEV powertrains. The combustion engine is small and doesn’t produce any power for driving wheels making it less efficient -instead, it acts as support for the electric motor. This means they’re generally incompatible with performance cars because there would be too much friction if both tried working at once. 

This technology has been adopted more predominantly by the public transport sector with buses taxis and vans using range-extender tech to reduce their CO2 emissions without the need to plug in as often as a BEV alternative. 


  1. Plug-in hybrid vehicles

With the rise of electric cars, plug-in hybrid vehicles have also seen an increase in demand. This innovative technology can offer drivers many benefits from a battery electric vehicle’s motor, combined with those offered by combustion engines like better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. The UK is leading this trend with more than half its roadways being taken up by PHEV models in 2021. 

Plug-in hybrid cars are the perfect choice for anyone looking for an eco-friendlier option but still require the safety blanket of a typical engine. They provide many benefits that come with electric vehicles, such as lower emissions and better mileage on short trips. 

The latest PHEVs have ranges that are typically 20-30 miles, but some can travel up to 50. This means they’re able to complete most short journeys on battery power alone without emitting any tailpipe emissions, and you then don’t need to worry about topping up your batteries when going longer distances as the engine will automatically kick when needed. 

Should you buy one? 

Driving a hybrid is the same as driving any other vehicle, so no need to worry about having to learn any new technology. Although the tax benefits aren’t as big as they used to be, if you have a company car you can still pay less Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) tax. When driving a hybrid vehicle range anxiety isn’t an issue – reap the rewards of both.  

If you aren’t quite yet sold on making the switch to fully electric, then hybrids are a fantastic way to start. They are better for the environment, but you aren’t limited by the battery range and because of this, they could be a much more practical choice.