Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Reviews
Enjoy some of the benefits of an electric car, with the convenience of a traditional engine.
Which PHEV car will suit you best?
Surprisingly, the first hybrid is a lot older than you think. The Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid was built in 1899. NASA and Boeing investigated the Mixte when designing the Lunar Rover.
How do you pronounce PHEV? Some people pronounce it as a word that sounds like "fev". However, as it is an acronym, saying "P-H-E-V" is also perfectly acceptable.
What are PHEV cars?
PHEV is short for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. PHEV hybrids differ from other types of low emission cars because they have a rechargeable onboard battery. In almost all of the PHEVs, this power pack can be used temporarily as the sole means of propulsion. However, because it isn't as big a battery as a fully electric car, the EV-only range is somewhat limited. Thankfully, with a conventional internal combustion engine onboard, buyers don't have the range anxiety of a battery electric vehicle (BEV, like the Tesla Model 3 or Nissan Leaf 2).
Interestingly, manufacturers often blend the two technologies together, with the fossil fuel engine and electric motors complementing each other. The result is decreased emissions, especially in towns and improved fuel economy.
In short, you could think of a PHEV hybrid as a car with many of the benefits of an electric car, i.e. low emissions and EV-only mode, with the capability to travel long distances when needed to without having to stop and recharge.
What's the difference between a PHEV and a hybrid/mild hybrid?
As above, the PHEV is a plug-in vehicle with a combustion engine. Generally, they have a larger onboard battery pack than a mild hybrid and the ability to travel in EV-only mode.
A mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) is more of a closed system, often with smaller battery banks and generally lacking the ability to run entirely on electric power. In an MHEV, the electric motor supplements the engine and makes use of energy reclamation systems like regenerative braking to recharge the battery. The MHEV could be thought of as the middle ground between a PHEV and a car with a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE). A hybrid vehicle (HEV) can run under electric or fuel power but lacks the ability to be plugged-in for topping up. The most widely known HEV is probably the Toyota Prius.
People often call all of the above a hybrid car, which is true, but PHEV, MHEV and HEV more acutely denote the level of hybridisation.
Here's what you need to know before purchasing a PHEV.
Which PHEV model is best?
That depends on your circumstances. Do you have a family? Are you looking for something sporty? Is it a car you'll drive mostly around town? The answer to these common PHEV questions can be found below.
Which PHEV should I buy for a family car?
That really is dependent on your budget and the size of your family. If the budget is a bit tight, the Outlander is probably the one to go for.
If you want something more luxurious, then the Range Rover Sport will meet those requirements, though they retail for over $135,000.
Which PHEV is the most sporty?
Probably the BMW i8 Coupé/Roadster. It has a unique three-cylinder petrol engine, plus an electric motor generating 275kw combined. It'll whisk from 0-100km/h in only 4.4 seconds.
Which PHEV is good for around-town driving?
Something like the Hyundai Ioniq, with its compact turning circle of 10.6 metres will suit you nicely. It also has an impressive EV-only range.
Which PHEV should I buy for a company car?
The Outlander makes sense thanks to its solid blend of fuel economy and EV range. The BMW or Merc on our list would also place highly as they have been the go-to cars for travelling salespeople for decades.
PHEV car financing
Looking for a pocket-friendly loan for your environmentally friendly car? Use the below comparison table and you could save hundreds of dollars.
Ask an Expert