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Different types of hybrid vehicles

A digaram showing the three main types of hybrid: mild, full and plug-in.

The three main types of hybrids

There are different types of hybrid, but the basic principle is the same for all of them.  It’s just the degree of ‘hybridisation’ that varies (or how much the vehicle relies on the internal combustion engine versus the electric components).

 

There are three main types of hybrids:

 

  • Mild hybrids (MHEV)
  • Full hybrids (FHEV), also known as self-charging hybrids
  • Plug-in hybrids (PHEV)
A digaram showing the three main types of hybrid: mild, full and plug-in.

Mild Hybrids

Mild hybrid systems include a motor and a battery pack, which the internal combustion engine charges during normal driving. The motor provides a boost to the powertrain, but it can’t move the vehicle on its own.

Full hybrids (self- charging hybrids)

Full hybrids have powerful electric motors. These can move the vehicle up to a certain speed or until the battery is empty. Full hybrids have a significant electric-only range, so they’re ideal for urban driving. The battery is recharged while the engine is in use. Some full hybrids also recharge the battery through regenerative braking.

Plug-in hybrids

Plug-in hybrids are like full hybrids, with large batteries that can be self-charging. But as the name suggests, you can also recharge plug-in hybrids using an external electricity supply. This further extends the electric-only range and improves fuel efficiency.

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