Plug-in hybrids: the best of two worlds
What are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)? How can they be used? Can I travel with one? What sort of autonomy will I have? What distance can I travel in electric vehicle mode? All you need to know about plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
As with hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles combine an internal combustion engine and an electric engine, but the way they use energy is very different, since they share the characteristics of a traditional hybrid vehicle and those of an electric vehicle. Overlooking the obvious – hybrid vehicles are not plugged into the grid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, as their name states, are – we will try to dispel any doubts you may have concerning this type of vehicle.
The aim of hybrid vehicles is to get the most out of the electric motor, particularly in cities, thanks to the energy transmitted by the internal combustion engine and accumulated in the batteries, but also because of the energy recovered during coasting and braking, motor restraint or inertia. Their batteries are generally small and the electric motor requires a limited speed (between 35 and 50 Km/h) and also a limited autonomy; although some hybrid vehicles allow higher speeds for a few hundred metres without having to use the internal combustion engine.
The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle offers more autonomous driving features in electric mode, but it must be plugged in to fully charge the batteries (braking and other factors, as with hybrid and electric vehicles, also normally allows energy to be recovered). The electric autonomy of PHEVs, i.e., without having to use the internal combustion engine, is approximately 40 kilometres, depending on the model, since the size of the batteries is somewhat bigger than those of a hybrid vehicle. They are designed to meet the average distances covered by most people travelling to work by car, but also for longer distances thanks to their internal combustion engine. This is precisely one of the main concerns today for those choosing an electric vehicle if they do not have an alternative car: And what if I want to cover a distance of 700 kilometres? The answer, while more charging points en-route are being installed, is the plug-in hybrid vehicle or a range extender vehicle.
Another significant advantage of the plug-in hybrid vehicle when driving in cities, is that they benefit from nearly all the advantages applicable to electric vehicles [Link a Ventajas de circulación eléctrico]: they are not subject to pollution restrictions and protocols, they save up to 75% on Tax on Motorised Vehicles, in cities such as Madrid, parking is free and unlimited in SER zones, etc. Furthermore, Spain offers State incentives for purchasing these vehicles, as with electric vehicles.
In short, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, thanks to their two driving options, with an internal combustion engine or an electric motor and larger battery packs than hybrid vehicles, enable drivers to enjoy all the advantages of an electric vehicle, without foregoing the autonomy of a heat engine.