Hybrid vs plug-in hybrid: what's the difference?

Elisha Keep | 27/04/2022

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid - you’ve probably heard these terms before. But what exactly do they mean? We’re here to take you through your options and break down the technical jargon. 

At a Glance

If you’re not quite ready for the commitment of a fully electric vehicle, hybrids are a great option

Get all the information you need to find out which hybrid would be best for you

We know that fuel-powered vehicles release toxic exhaust fumes into our atmosphere. But what can we do to stop this? 

At Egg, we’re doing our bit for clean energy with our electric home-charging stations. But before choosing your charger, you need to choose the right car for you and your family. And if you’re not ready for the commitment of a fully electric vehicle, hybrids are a great option.  

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid - you’ve probably heard these terms before. But what exactly do they mean? We’re here to take you through your options and break down the technical jargon. 

Let’s take a look at how they work. 

What do they have in common?

The main components of hybrids and plug-in hybrids are very similar. They both have a rechargeable battery and a conventional fuel engine - it’s the way they charge that’s the biggest difference. 

If you drive a hybrid vehicle, you’ll be required to pay little to no road tax. They also produce less carbon emissions and are more fuel efficient, meaning you’ll have to pay less for petrol or diesel. If that wasn’t enough, the government will even contribute up to £1,500 towards you buying a hybrid with an electric car grant. What a deal. 

Both types of hybrid are a great step towards driving a fully electric vehicle, without the range anxiety. Their fuel-powered engines can sustain you for longer journeys, making them a happy medium between electric and diesel or petrol cars. 

So let’s get into the nitty gritty of how they’re different. 

Hybrids

Often referred to as “self-charging hybrids”, these vehicles have a petrol or diesel engine combined with an electric motor. They’re made up of 12 key components and generally have much quieter engines than their purely fuel-powered counterparts. So much so that you can nip out of your driveway and virtually make no sound. 

With a hybrid car, the driver can control how much they use the electric battery vs fuel engine. Switching is usually as easy as pressing a few buttons on your dashboard. It’s even possible to combine both sources of energy, which will help you to gain speed when accelerating. 

Pretty straightforward, right?

What about the environment?

Hybrid cars can reduce carbon emissions by anywhere from 15% to 30% when using electric power. But these advantages are lost once you reach a speed that’s too fast. This means that when you hit the motorway you’ll be back to your usual fuel engine. 

With more mindful driving, however, it’s possible to cruise around urban areas using battery power alone. It just means you’ve got to watch your speed. If you know you tend to only drive around your local area and don’t regularly trek up and down the motorway, a plug-in hybrid could be a great choice for you.

Don’t worry, it’s not all bad news. The ability to switch to fuel does have one great advantage - you can take longer trips without worrying about getting stranded with a dead battery. You’ve got flexibility right at your fingertips. 

Convenience 

Hybrids are ideal if you don’t want to think about charging your car. There’s no need to plug them in - the battery is automatically charged by the engine and via electricity generated when the vehicle is in motion or braking.

If you’ve only ever driven a traditional car before, a hybrid could make the transition much easier. You won’t have to change your driving habits, but you’ll still get the benefit of doing your bit to help the environment. 

And you won’t have to worry as much about the rise in fuel prices. Hooray.

Plug-in hybrids

Similar to a self-charging hybrid, plug-in hybrids are made up of a battery and a petrol or diesel engine. Only, in this case, they require a charging station at home or on the go. 

You might wonder why you’d pick a plug-in hybrid over an electric vehicle. The answer is, they’re generally more affordable. They’re also a great stepping stone between petrol or diesel cars and electric vehicles, as they incorporate features from both. 

With 14 key components, plug-in hybrids will automatically switch to fuel once the battery has run out. As with hybrids, the electric engine can provide extra acceleration, making for a fun and fast driving experience.  

Are they better for their environment?

Plug-in hybrids have a much larger battery than their self-charging counterpart. This means they can run solely on electricity for much longer, so you can depend entirely on their electric motor for local trips. With 20-30 miles of battery life, you can nip to the supermarket, pick the kids up and drive to work - all without having to use fuel.  

As with a hybrid, plug-in hybrids are less suitable for longer trips. This is mostly down to their heavy battery, which weighs down the car once you switch to the fuel engine. When compared with a fully electric vehicle that can go for 300+ miles, they have a way to go before they can compete on mileage. 

Convenience

Although they require charging, plug-in hybrids can be left to charge overnight with a home-charging station. It’s as simple as leaving your phone to charge - once morning arrives, you’ll be ready to set off to work or school with a fully-charged battery. No fuss. 

Once you’re out and about, there are plenty of charging stations popping up across the country. From supermarkets to shopping centres, the UK is adapting to a more electric-friendly way of driving.

And if you’re planning a long trip, apps such as Zap Map make it easier to find charging points along the way. 

Now’s a better time than ever to go electric. 

How can Egg help?

Getting a charger installed doesn’t have to break the bank. Egg’s subscription charging service means you can charge your vehicle from the comfort of your home for just £30 a month. 

Our expert team will install your charger free of cost and be there in a flash to fix any problems. We’ll have you on the path to cleaner energy in no time. 

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Registered address: Griffin House, 161 Hammersmith Road, Hammersmith, W6 8BS

Company number: 07477370; VAT number: GB109695779

In relation to consumer credit, Phoenix Renewables Ltd, trading as Egg and The Phoenix Works, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Reference 965996)

© 2022 Egg - All Rights Reserved; A Liberty Global plc company. Registered address: Griffin House, 161 Hammersmith Road, Hammersmith, W6 8BS. Company number: 07477370; VAT number: GB109695779. In relation to consumer credit, Phoenix Renewables Ltd, trading as Egg and The Phoenix Works, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Reference 965996)