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What is a Plug-In Hybrid Car?

By Phil Gardner | November 11, 2021


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Find out everything you need to know about buying, owning and charging a Plug-In Hybrid car...

What is a Plug-In Hybrid Car?

What is a Plug-In Hybrid Car?

Plug-In Hybrid cars are a solid middle ground if you’re thinking of changing towards owning an electric vehicle but you’re not yet convinced with the charging infrastructure or the achievable range of fully electric vehicles.

A Plug-In Hybrid is a car that uses an internal combustion engine as well as an electric motor to allow more efficient driving. A Plug-In Hybrid is specifically a hybrid car that can be plugged into a charging point in order to recharge its battery.

All Plug-In Hybrids are Hybrid cars, but not all Hybrid Cars are Plug-In Hybrids. This is because some hybrid vehicles can’t be plugged in and can only recharge their battery from the combustion engine or through regenerative braking. Plug-In Hybrid cars are typically more efficient than regular Hybrid cars and are usually capable of covering more distance using electricity. 

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) can cover about 30 miles of range on electricity alone as a minimum, with modern PHEVs now capable of in excess of 50 miles on a single charge. This means PHEVs are now able to complete most day-to-day errands on a single charge without using any fuel whatsoever while emitting no emissions.

The real benefit of owning a Plug-In Hybrid over a fully electric vehicle is that once the battery is depleted, the combustion engine will be able to continue the journey, which is ideal for travelling long distances.

Can you Charge a Plug-in Hybrid Car at Home?

Yes - you can. It is possible to charge every PHEV on the market with a conventional domestic 3-pin plug socket or a wall box. A household plug is the slowest option by a margin though, as they are limited to just 3 kW of power, so a full battery can take in excess of 6 hours even with the smallest batteries.

The majority of PHEV buyers will want to therefore invest in a wall box. These are charging points that can be easily fitted on driveways or in garages that allow charging up to 7.4 kW in most cases. These wall boxes can potentially halve the time required to charge a PHEV battery back to 100%

How Much Does it Cost to Charge a Hybrid Car at Home?

The cost of charging an electric car at home varies depending on the size of the onboard battery, just like the cost of a full tank of fuel varies depending on the size of the tank.

For example, one of the best selling Plug-In Hybrids on the market is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which is a big SUV with a 13.8 kWh battery. The standard rate for electricity at homes in the UK is around 14 pence per kWh, therefore a full charge in the Outlander PHEV will cost roughly £1.93. (Which is 14 multiplied by 13.8)

It is worth noting that having a wall box fitted at home will reduce the time required to get a full charge but it will not change the cost of the electricity required to charge the car. 

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