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What is a hybrid car?

Thinking about buying a new hybrid car? Read our guide to find everything you need to know about hybrid cars and decide which one is right for you.

What does it mean when a car is hybrid? 

A hybrid car is a vehicle that combines two means of propulsion. In most cases this combination includes petrol engine and electric motor. 

Although both can be used in tandem to power the vehicle, they can also be used separately. This combination of petrol and electric power provides hybrid electric vehicles with greater flexibility and fuel efficiency than a standard petrol-powered vehicle.

How do hybrid cars work? 

Hybrid cars are powered by both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric motor. 

The standard hybrid (HEV) was the first to hit the market. In a HEV, the petrol engine charges the electric motor by utilising kinetic energy created while the car brakes. This process is called regenerative braking and its combination with an ICE creates an incredibly fuel and power efficient system.

The latest in hybrid technology is the plug-in hybrid (PHEV), which functions a little differently. A PHEV is more flexible than a HEV. It still uses the same petrol engine and regenerative braking combination of a HEV, but also allows the battery to be charged separately through at home or roadside vehicle charging stations. This frees the car from being fully reliant on petrol power, improving fuel efficiency and extending the vehicle's mileage.

Learn more about how hybrid cars work with our in-depth article. 

Flex & Free now available

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).

What are the benefits of driving a hybrid car? 

Fuel economy

The key benefit for anyone thinking about purchasing a hybrid car is the fuel efficiency it provides. This is particularly noticeable at low speeds and accelerating from a standstill, where the car will use its electric motor to conserve fuel. 

Greater range

The two power sources mean less fuel wastage, so you can travel further on less. 

Environmentally friendly

Less fuel usage means fewer fossil fuels are burnt to power the car. The car switches to the electric motor at standstill and at slow speeds, so air pollution is reduced. 

Reduced noise

At low speeds the car will switch to its alternative propulsion: its virtually soundless electric motor. 

Should I buy a hybrid car?

Choosing a hybrid car comes with some great benefits, including grants for charging points and reduced petrol costs. Why not see if a hybrid is right for you by reading our comparison article. 

Why not lease your next hybrid vehicle? To discuss in more detail, please contact one of our retailers to find out more