Electric car sales have been on the rise over the last several years. Though hybrid vehicles claim the most significant chunk of these sales, all-electric cars have seen rapid growth that may leave them poised to take over the market. Plug-in electric hybrids (PHEVs) are less popular, but they offer a little of everything, making them an excellent pick for drivers who can’t decide which direction they’d like to go. Learn more about the different types of electric vehicles so you can make the best choice for your family with your next car purchase.
Hybrid vehicles have now been on the market for over two decades, giving drivers ample opportunity to get acquainted with the technology. A hybrid car pairs a gasoline engine with a battery pack in an attempt to deliver the best of all worlds. These elements can work in one of two ways. In a mild hybrid vehicle, the electric motor and battery only power specific systems, such as the heating, cooling, and stereo. And while it may provide a slight boost when accelerating, the vast majority of the driving power comes from the gas-powered engine.
In a full hybrid, the electric motor can power the entire vehicle once it’s at a sufficient charge. The electric motor typically does all the work when traveling at low speeds. Meanwhile, the gas-powered engine stays on hand for high speeds or auxiliary power when the electric battery isn’t sufficiently charged. Regenerative braking helps recharge the battery pack in hybrid vehicles, recapturing energy for later reuse.
Hybrid vehicles offer outstanding gas mileage, like the 2022 Kia Niro, which gets 53 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway. The Kia Sportage Hybrid is another excellent example of the enhanced gas mileage you can get from an electric battery, even when that’s not your sole power source for your car. While the gas-powered Sportage gets 25 mpg to 28 mpg combined, the hybrid Sportage delivers a whopping 38 mpg to 43 mpg combined.
Hybrid vehicles are more expensive than their gas-only counterparts, but they’re the most affordable option in the hybrid line-up. And because they have better fuel efficiency than a gas-powered vehicle, you can reclaim some of this cost as fuel savings. Hybrid cars reduce your emissions compared to traditional vehicles, but they’re not quite as green as their all-electric counterparts.
Plug-In Electric Hybrid
A PHEV operates similarly to a regular hybrid. The main difference is that a plug-in hybrid features a larger battery that gets its electricity from an external power source. Plug-in hybrids may regenerate some of their power from braking, but not enough to completely recharge batteries of this size.
Since PHEVs have larger batteries, they can run entirely on electric power, allowing the gas-powered engine to remain dormant more often than it would in a standard hybrid vehicle. A PHEV can travel 20 to 40 miles on electric power alone, making it an excellent choice for drivers with short commutes. The gas engine kicks in for longer commutes or when the battery lacks sufficient charge.
When using their gas-powered engine, some PHEVs are less fuel efficient than their hybrid counterparts, which are designed to rely more effectively on a blend of electric and gas power. To get optimal efficiency from a PHEV, you need to keep the electric battery charged. Since this type of vehicle features a much larger battery than a standard hybrid, you’ll have less cargo space.
A PHEV is only practical if you have daily access to a charger. It suits drivers who go on shorter drives more often than long treks. Covering long distances becomes trickier as you’ll have to stop regularly and recharge if you want to get the optimum gas mileage throughout your journey. If you can manage this, a plug-in hybrid gives you outstanding efficiency. The Sportage plug-in hybrid offers 84 miles per gallon gasoline-equivalent (MPGe) combined compared to the 38 mpg to 43 mpg combined offered by the Sportage hybrid. The Kia Niro plug-in hybrid goes even further, with a jaw-dropping EPA-estimated 105 MPGe combined.
A fully electric vehicle, also known as a battery electric vehicle (BEV), pure electric, or all-electric car, features a large rechargeable battery to power the entire vehicle. These vehicles can plug into Level 1, Level 2, or DC Fast Charging outlets. Many drivers have a Level 1 outlet at home, but they provide a slow rate of charge. You can usually get about 50 miles of charge by plugging the vehicle in overnight. To achieve a full battery charge, the car would need over 30 hours plugged into a Level 1 outlet.
Public charging stations often feature Level 2 outlets. These outlets deliver a faster charge and can power an all-electric vehicle’s battery in about eight hours. True to the name, a DC Fast Charge outlet can recharge an electric battery in 30 to 45 minutes, making it the most popular option for BEV drivers. If you’re planning a long journey and don’t have much time for stops, it’s crucial that you map out the location of DC Fast Charge stations along your route.
Electric vehicles come with a high price tag upfront, but they’re much cheaper to operate as you only have to pay for electricity rather than fuel. BEVs require less maintenance and fewer repairs because electric motors are less complex than their gas-powered counterparts. The 2022 Kia Niro EV offers 114 MPGe combined, while the 2022 Kia EV6 provides 120 MPGe combined. Fully electric vehicles have what you’re after if you’re looking for the most eco-friendly options in the lineup.
If you’re interested in learning more about hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric vehicles, we’re happy to help. Our team at Huffines Kia Corinth can help you explore all your options and find the right fit for any family. Contact us now to set up a test drive or drop in and check out what’s on the lot.