Hybrids vs. Plug-in Hybrids: What’s the Difference?

Hybrid cars are making a big name for themselves as drivers are learning to become more eco-conscious and eco-friendly in regards to their driving habits. Hybrid cars are more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly ways of driving. As hybrid cars become the norm, the question arises – what will be the next big step in fuel-efficient vehicle manufacturing?

This is where plug-in hybrids fit in. The plug-in hybrid is widely considered the next big step in environmentally friendly travel. In addition to the benefits of having a hybrid engine, plug-in hybrids can also be plugged into an electronic source and recharged from there.

There are many different levels of hybrid, plug-in hybrids, and completely electric vehicles. However, plug-in hybrids typically drive almost completely off a battery power source alone, rather than an electric motor and a gas engine like a typical hybrid does. They still do contain a gas engine, but it is usually much smaller, and it only serves as a reserve energy source to charge the battery when the car cannot be plugged in to charge the battery directly from an electrical outlet. Plug-in hybrids, therefore, bridge the gap between hybrid vehicles and completely electric vehicles.

Now that battery powered plug-in hybrids are on the scene, the difference between these two types of hybrid vehicles can be explored by consumers looking to purchase from buy here pay here car dealerships.

The Cost

As with any new technology, the price of ownership is generally quite high at first and then gradually comes down over time as technology inevitably becomes more efficient to manufacture. Plug-in technology is relatively new and is, therefore, more expensive than regular hybrid technology. This expense mainly comes down to the batteries. Plug-in hybrids need bigger batteries than regular hybrids if they are to travel further on battery power alone.

Thanks Ford Motor Company for building your own electric, plugin hybrid and hybrid cars

There are two types of batteries that are typically employed in these types of cars – nickel-metal hydride and Lithium Ion. Lithium Ion is more efficient, and also more expensive. On average, a customer can expect to spend about 10 to 20 percent more when purchasing a plug-in hybrid as opposed to a regular hybrid counterpart. So, a sedan plug-in hybrid will normally cost an extra 2,000 dollars, while an SUV will be an extra 5,000 dollars. This can be enough to put off some people, even with the availability of poor credit car loans.

However, more batteries mean longer distances on nothing but battery power, and that means much less gas in the long run when driving a plug-in hybrid instead of a traditional hybrid. When gas prices go up, the savings from a plug-in increase even more.  

For example, the 2016 Toyota Prius Eco (hybrid) is rated at the equivalent of 56 miles per gallon and the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime (hybrid plug-in) is rated at the equivalent of 78 miles per gallon. In electric-only mode, this rises to the equivalent of 133 miles per gallon.

Environmental Impact

One of the main selling points of hybrid vehicles is that they are better for the environment than standard gasoline powered cars. As greenhouse gases and carbon emissions continue to change the climate, people understand that they have a responsibility to take steps in reducing their own personal carbon footprint.

Standard hybrid vehicles use far less gasoline than the standard gas-powered vehicle, and plug-in hybrids take that concept even further. By running almost purely on batteries, plug-in hybrids can travel long distances while hardly using any gas at all.

A study commissioned by The Department of Energy found that a typical hybrid car reduces the emission of greenhouse gases by about 22 percent, while battery-powered plug-in hybrids reduced emissions by 36 percent. In addition to this, plug-in hybrids have the potential to avoid emitting greenhouse gases altogether by running on biofuels or by recharging via solar-powered methods.  

Convenience

The ability to charge one’s car at home overnight is far more convenient for most people than having to stop at a gas station every day. Gas stations trips could theoretically be given up altogether when driving a plug-in hybrid, especially when considering shorter trips.

On the other hand, traditional hybrids have a convenience edge when considering longer trips. Standard hybrids only need to be taken to a gas station to get their full range of mileage from the gas-powered engine. When the engine is full, the battery in a standard hybrid can constantly recharge itself through a process called regenerative braking, where some of the energy from braking is used to recharge the battery. Plug-in hybrids have this ability too, but charging stations will need to be available at more gas stations in order for long distance travel to be feasible.

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