The Difference Between Mild, Strong and Plug-In Hybrid Cars

First of all if you're unsure of what the definition of a hybrid car is then let us explain. In short, hybrids are vehicles which are powered by a conventional petrol or diesel engine which then works alongside a battery-powered electric motor. The electric motor supports the engine and is charged either through regenerative braking (an energy recovery mechanism which uses kinetic energy lost during deceleration to charge the vehicle’s battery) or through an electric power supply.

Depending on the type of system a car is built with, and the size & type of batteries used in that system, will determine what kind of Hybrid it is.

Read on to find out more...

Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV)

Mild hybrids are a kind of Self-Charging Hybrid - this means they use an electric motor to assist the petrol/diesel engine when accelerating to save fuel.

Many people wrongly assume that this requires a charging port for the battery or that they need to do something extra because it is a hybrid. This is not the case! You can simply fill the car with fuel and drive like normal. 

The electric battery sits in the background reducing the amount of work the engine has to do. This has a number of positives but the main two are the life cycle of the car will last longer and improves overall fuel economy.

If you didn't know the mild hybrid system was there, you wouldn't know it was a hybrid at all. Mild hybrids drive no differently to regular cars.

Pros of Mild Hybrid

  • Improved fuel economy
  • Drives like a traditional petrol / diesel car
  • Can be both manual and automatic
  • Cheaper than full or plug-in hybrids

View Our Mild Hybrids​

Full / Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicle (FHEV)

Full hybrids, also known as strong hybrids, are much like mild hybrids however they have the ability to travel (really) short distances on electric power only. This would again benefit fuel economy even more than a mild hybrid.

A full hybrid works in the same way as a mild hybrid in terms of filling the car up with fuel and driving as you normally would. The only difference is that the combustion engine will automatically switch to running on electric only power. It will then revert back to using the engine as and when it needs to for example when accelerating hard to ensure the car has the power it needs. 

Pros of Full Hybrid

  • Great fuel economy
  • Built from light materials
  • More assistance from electric
  • Extends a cars life cycle
  • Automatic stop/start
  • Can be both manual and automatic
  • Higher re-sale value
  • Cheaper than a plug-in hybrid

View Our Full Hybrids

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

A plug-in hybrid is similar to a full hybrid but has the ability to travel much further using electric only. Depending on the model, you can travel between 15-50 miles on electric power alone (for example the Suzuki A-Cross which has an electic range of 46 miles).

With a plug in hybrid you won't have the same worries as you may with an all electric car ​(also known as "range anxiety") as once the electric power in the battery has run out, the car will revert to working like a full hybrid with the petrol/diesel engine automatically cutting in and out as & when it is required.

By combining the engine with the electric drivetrain, the overall driving range is comparable to that of a regular petrol or diesel car. 

Pros of a Plug-In Hybrid

  • Fantastic fuel economy
  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Extends a cars life cycle
  • No time-consuming charges
  • Ability to be electric and full hybrid
  • Higher re-sale value

View Our Plug-In Hybrids

Key Differences Between Each Hybrid

If you're still wondering which is best or which to choose, lets break it down in simple terms:

  • Mild and full hybrids do not need to be plugged in
  • Full and plug-in hybrids have the ability to travel on electric power alone
  • Plug-in hybrids can travel up to 50 miles on electric only power (provided they are fully charged)

Want to know more?

Whilst we've tried to explain how all the different hybrids work, we know it's quite a confusing area so if you still have questions please don't hesitate to contact us for more details.

Our Suzuki, Nissan & Subaru sales teams will be more than happy to guide you through the differences & organise a test drive for you to experience a hybrid for yourself.