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How does a hybrid car work?

Thinking of investing in a hybrid vehicle, but unsure how it works? Owning a hybrid car can be a rewarding experience that comes with a lot of benefits. We discuss the differences from your standard petrol engine to help you make an informed decision before you purchase. 

PEUGEOT 508 PHEC Chassis

What is a hybrid engine? 

Unlike in a standard car, where power is supplied solely by an internal combustion engine (ICE), a hybrid vehicle uses a combination of electric battery power and a combustion engine.


How is this different from a petrol or diesel engine? 

This makes a hybrid engine very different from a standard petrol or diesel engine as it does not solely rely on one source of power, instead using two. This means a hybrid car can function more efficiently by utilising both the electric motor and petrol motor as and when needed. 


How do hybrid cars work?

Although most hybrids use similar technology, there are some differences between Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs).

How HEVs work

In a standard HEV, the petrol engine is the primary source of power for the vehicle, while the electric motor acts as a secondary power source by using kinetic energy.

The electric motor is integrated into the transmission to serve as a source of propulsion. This allows the HEV to accelerate from standstill before switching over to gas when the accelerator pedal is pressed down to a certain angle. It can also activate if the car goes over a certain speed. 

How PHEVs work 

A plug-in-hybrid vehicle runs different from your standard hybrid vehicle. It still combines an electric motor (powered by batteries) and an internal combustion engine, but a PHEV's battery can be charged via an electric power outlet. 

Unlike a conventional hybrid vehicle, a PHEV will run on electric power until the battery depletes. Once this occurs, the vehicle switches to the ICE, giving it incredible range. 


How do hybrid batteries work? 

The battery of a hybrid car works by recovering energy that would otherwise be wasted in a petrol engine. When a car slows down and puts on the brakes, kinetic energy is created. In a standard car, this energy is released as heat. In a hybrid vehicle, this energy is reused in a process called regenerative braking and is fed back into the battery. 

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Flex & Free gives customers the flexibility to change their car more frequently. Based on a standard Contract Hire agreement but with the flexibility to change vehicle from the 6th month, without penalty (subject to condition and mileage).

How to charge a hybrid

Charging a HEV

A standard hybrid vehicle cannot be charged at a power outlet like a purely electric vehicle or a PHEV, instead it charges itself using the energy created by the engine and braking system. 

Charging a PHEV

A plug-in hybrid can be charged in two ways. Like a HEV, the plug-in hybrid's battery can be charged by energy created through braking. You can also charge a PHEV at a home or roadside charging point. 


Can a hybrid run on fuel only? 

Hybrid cars can run on fuel only as long as the high voltage battery isn't dead, as the high voltage battery helps start the car. 

You should never run a standard HEV on its battery alone. Keep the tank topped up at all times as it is essential in keeping the hybrid engine running properly. Running it without fuel can cause hybrid cars serious damage. Without the fuel engine, the hybrid's battery pack cannot recharge to supply the electric motor and some of the vehicle's main functions.


Interested in buying a hybrid vehicle? 

We're here to help. If you're thinking about saving money and lowering your carbon footprint, see what electric and hybrid vehicles our brands offer and upgrade your car with Stellantis Financial Services.