Plug-in hybrid-electric cars combine two propulsion modes in one vehicle–a battery-powered electric motor that is plugged in and recharged, and an internal combustion engine that is fueled with gasoline. They offer all-electric power for short trips and the opportunity to gas up and drive for as far as you desire. Plug-in hybrid cars vary in the distance they can travel on all-electric power, and the fuel efficiency and emissions they have when driving on gasoline.
Because most Californians commute less than 30 miles per day, most plug-in hybrid-electric driving can be done in electric-only mode.
- Fun to drive
- Quiet when in electric driving mode
- Quick off the line
- Convenient to recharge
- Reduced trips to the gas station
- Cheaper to operate
- Reduced pollution
- Access to carpool lanes and other incentives
- Fuel with gas when going on longer trips
How They Work
Plug-in hybrid-electric cars offer both gas-only and electric-only driving—even at relatively high speeds. With smaller batteries than battery-electrics, plug-in hybrids achieve an electric-only range of 20‒55 miles, during which they produce no tailpipe emissions. When the vehicle uses up its electric range, it switches to gas and drives just like a conventional car.
The transition from electric to gas is seamless, though you do lose quick acceleration inherent in electric mode. Some plug-in hybrids run full time on gas and electricity, switching back and forth until the electric supply runs down.
One of the main benefits of plug-in hybrids is that most day-to-day driving can be done in an electric-only mode, traveling on battery power alone between 10-50+ miles with the capability of 300+ miles in gasoline-electric hybrid mode. Factoring in access to public and workplace charging, you can potentially double your all-electric range on a daily basis.
- Engine – Assists electric motor when driving at high speeds, and powers the vehicle when the battery is depleted
- Electric Motor – Powered from the battery, the electric motor propels the vehicle up to high speeds
- Gas Tank – Smaller gas tank than conventional cars
- Onboard Charger – Converts incoming AC electricity to DC power for charging the battery
- Electric Generator – Captures energy from regenerative braking and transfers to battery
- Charge Port – Enables the vehicle to be plugged in to an external power source to charge battery
- Battery – Stores typically between 8-16 kWh of electricity to power the electric motor
Like battery-electric cars, plug-in hybrids have quick acceleration, great torque and a quiet drive in the electric mode. When electric and gas miles are combined, plug-in hybrids offer great miles per gallon ratings and reduced pollution. Even in gas mode, they generally still have lower emissions and good miles per gallon ratings.
Plug-in hybrids generally cost more than a conventional gas car, but there are incentives available for eligible plug-in hybrids and different lease options that reduce upfront costs and allow drivers to get technology upgrades faster.
Plug-in hybrids have the same basic need for oil changes, filters and other regular maintenance, however the frequency of this requirement is significantly less. Regenerative breaking also extends the lifespan of brake pads. Savings increase as more all-electric miles are driven, since electricity is generally cheaper than gasoline. Plug-in hybrids typically have an 8-10 year/100,000-mile or more battery warranty.
Plug-in hybrids may be eligible for a variety of incentives, such as the Clean Air Vehicle decal, California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project and programs to support clean transportation ownership in low-income and disadvantage communities. To find incentives in your region, visit incentive search.
Plug-in hybrids recharge with electricity as well as refuel with gasoline. They can charge via a cord set that comes with the vehicle using standard 120-volt home outlets, or by plugging into a more powerful Level 2 charger, either at work or home or at many public parking locations.
Learn more about charging options for plug-in hybrid cars.
A comprehensive listing of electric car models currently available in California, including incentives.
Plug-in Electric Vehicle Handbook (U.S. DOE)
A plug-in electric vehicle handbook that answers basic questions and points readers to additional information to make the best vehicle selection.
Information about charging, range, batteries, incentives and more explained in simple terms.
California’s Advanced Clean Cars Program (CARB)
Understand how California’s emission rules for cars and trucks will help clean the air, abate climate change and provide cars that save consumers money at the pump.
Plug-in hybrid-electric cars offer both gas-only and electric-only driving—even at relatively high speeds. With smaller batteries than battery-electrics, plug-in hybrids achieve an electric-only range of 20‒55 miles, during which they produce no tailpipe emissions.Can plug-in hybrid cars run on electricity only? ›
Plug-in hybrid-electric cars offer both gas-only and electric-only driving—even at relatively high speeds. With smaller batteries than battery-electrics, plug-in hybrids achieve an electric-only range of 20‒55 miles, during which they produce no tailpipe emissions.Will plug-in hybrids become obsolete? ›
G.M. has said it aims to sell only zero-emissions vehicles by 2035. Tim Grewe, G.M.'s director of electrification, said that as electric vehicles improved and charging infrastructure expanded, plug-in hybrids would become obsolete.Will plug-in hybrids be banned in 2035? ›
The California Air Resources Board last week approved a rule that requires all new cars and light trucks sold in California will be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, by 2035.How practical is a plug-in hybrid? ›
Plug-in hybrids are ideal for those looking for more range out of their battery while still offering petrol or diesel to fall back on should you require a longer journey. They offer lower running costs, with the larger battery providing more miles on electric power, saving on fuel.
The main downside of owning a PHEV is that it's likely to have poorer fuel economy than a conventionally-powered alternative when it's driven using the engine rather than the electric motor. This is because you're lugging around the additional weight of its electric battery pack.What happens when a plug-in hybrid runs out of charge? ›
The vehicle typically runs on electric power until the battery is nearly depleted, and then the car automatically switches over to use the ICE. Learn more about plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.What is the life expectancy of a plug-in hybrid battery? ›
Hybrid Battery Life Expectancy
Most hybrid batteries should take drivers about 100,000 miles. With excellent maintenance, some owners are able to push this number to 200,000. Warranties typically extend to about the 100,000-mile mark, so manufacturers do expect this to be the upper limit on battery life.
Since hybrids have both regenerative batteries and a fuel engine, both are used proportionally less — meaning both are likely to last longer. Roughly speaking, though, hybrid car drivers can expect to drive their car from anything between 5 and 15 years if suitable maintenance is carried out on them.Will gas cars be obsolete soon? ›
Last month, California regulators passed rules banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, a move hailed as a significant victory in the fight against climate change.
But owners of vehicles with internal combustion engines will still be permitted to operate or resell them after 2035. With the average lifespan of a car in the U.S. pegged at about 12 years, there will be a need for gasoline for decades to come. Still, that demand will decline dramatically.What will happen to gas stations after 2035? ›
California's shift away from gas-powered vehicles could mean as many as 80 percent of gas stations would be unprofitable by 2035. The state has some 250,000 station owners and employees.Will plug-in hybrids hold their value? ›
PHEVs are a new technology that they're not yet common on the used market, so it's hard to predict their resale value. However, we should note that skeptics raised this concern in the early days of hybrid technology, and hybrids have proven to hold their resale value at almost normal levels.Why are plug-in hybrids not popular? ›
PHEVs are slowly becoming less relevant, as owners are almost exclusively using the gasoline engine and not touching the electrical power. Plug-in hybrids are rapidly becoming one of the most popular forms of vehicle on the planet, as we move away from pure internal combustion power.Why choose plug-in hybrid over hybrid? ›
PHEVs have a larger battery than regular hybrids have, so they can be driven farther and more often on electric power. As with regular hybrids, regenerative braking can extend the battery's range, and the gasoline-powered engine and electric motor switch back and forth as needed.How many miles per gallon does a plug-in hybrid get? ›
Once its 22-mile electric range is through, drivers will get only 20 mpg. A PHEV has two modes: charge-depleting (when it runs on electric power) and charge-sustaining (when it runs on hybrid mode). If you charge daily and have a short commute, you'd consume hardly any fuel.At what speed does a hybrid switch to gas? ›
The car starts up in electric mode automatically and stays in this mode up until a speed between 43 mph and 80 mph. If additional power is needed, or if the battery's charge is too low, then the car will activate the combustion engine.What is the biggest problem with hybrid cars? ›
Battery degradation is one of the most common problems with hybrid cars. This can cause a decrease in the car's performance and mileage, as well as an increase in fuel consumption. The battery may eventually lose its capacity over time, leading to decreased performance and range from the vehicle.Which is better plug-in hybrid or hybrid? ›
A plug-in hybrid may be able to get a little charge through regenerative braking. But since a plug-in car has a larger battery that it relies on more, it needs to be connected to an external power source to fully recharge. Full hybrids can recharge their electric batteries through regenerative braking.Should I charge my plug-in hybrid every night? ›
Most electric car owners charge their cars at home overnight. In fact, people with regular driving habits need not charge the battery fully every night. And automakers provide electric car batteries that hold their charge for long, allowing you to skip plug-ins for a few nights.
How often you charge your EV depends on how much you use it and how far you drive each day. Generally, you shouldn't charge your EV to 100% battery every single night because charging cycles can degrade your battery. Most EVs on the market have a range of a few hundred miles on a single full charge.How many times can you charge a plug-in hybrid? ›
And the car can detect if the plug is still attached, so that you won't be able to drive away while recharging. The charging units are designed to be good for 10,000 charge cycles total, so if you charge the vehicle once per day they'll last for almost 30 years -- probably longer than the life of the car.Does insurance cover hybrid battery? ›
Coverage for hybrid or electric car batteries may vary depending on the insurance company and policy. Some insurance providers offer specific coverage options for these types of batteries, while others may not provide coverage.How do I keep my hybrid battery healthy? ›
Hybrid Car Battery Maintenance
Maintaining proper battery life begins with using the battery. To help the battery “remember” its capacity, it is best to regularly drain the battery and then recharge it to full capacity. Eventually your main battery will need to be replaced.
Hybrid Battery Replacement Costs and Other Considerations
Hybrid battery replacement ranges from between $2,000 to $8,000, but bear in mind that most drivers have sold their vehicle by the time their battery is due for a change.
- 7 Lexus NX 450h+ (37 miles) ...
- 6 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid (37 miles) ...
- 5 Lexus RX 450H+ (37 miles) ...
- 4 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid (38 miles) ...
- 3 BMW X5 xDrive50e (39 miles) ...
- 2 Toyota RAV4 Prime (42 miles) ...
- 1 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P440e (51 miles)
According to the EPA, driving a plug-in hybrid can cost as little as $800 a year in fuel costs, which would save a driver as much as $8,000 over a five year ownership period compared to the average vehicle from the 2022 model year.Are plug-in hybrids hard to maintain? ›
Because the hybrid's engine also runs on gasoline, it requires all the same maintenance as a regular car does, with the same frequency. Hybrid cars still need regular oil changes, belt replacements and tire alignment and replacement.What 7 states are banning gas cars? ›
Seventeen states follow California's rules, but so far only Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington have announced they'll enforce the Advanced Clean Cars II rule and prohibit the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles.Will gas cars be illegal in the future? ›
California will ban sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035, but the conversion to battery-powered vehicles poses numerous unresolved issues. California made it official last week — the state will ban sales of gasoline-powered new cars after 2035.
Eventually, you will see used, and classic cars drive less, and likely, collections will be reserved for museums or for very affluent elites who have the resources to afford them.Will gasoline ever be phased out? ›
All of the planned bans are in coastal states: In addition to California and Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington have made the commitment to stop allowing sales of new gas-powered vehicles after 2035.Will gas be available in 10 years? ›
The short answer is no, or at least not in the next couple of decades. There are just too many gas-engine cars on the road, with after-market suppliers and local garages supporting the repair of internal combustion engines. Even so, your next new car could be an EV.What will happen to gas prices when electric cars take over? ›
The bottom line for consumers as EVs become more popular, reduced gas demand likely will not lower prices as refiners constrict supply. In fact, supplies will probably decrease slightly faster than demand, keeping prices high. Any small mismatch between supply and demand could cause considerable price volatility.How much will gas cost in 2035? ›
|Characteristic||Natural Gas||Metallurgical coal|
Conclusion: how long will fossil fuels last? It is predicted that we will run out of fossil fuels in this century. Oil can last up to 50 years, natural gas up to 53 years, and coal up to 114 years. Yet, renewable energy is not popular enough, so emptying our reserves can speed up.Will electric cars be mandatory? ›
Yes. California is only requiring that all NEW cars sold in 2035 and beyond are zero-emission vehicles which includes battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles.Which gets better mileage hybrid or plug-in hybrid? ›
Driving either type of vehicle will result in significantly fewer trips to Branford gas stations. But plug-in hybrids generally have better gas mileage when their electric ranges are factored in. Depending on their electric ranges, some plug-in hybrids can reach the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon.What is the future of plug-in hybrid? ›
The market penetration values—the percentage of market share—were projected for both plug-in hybrids and EVs. As shown in the histogram charts below, the projected market share of plug-in hybrids in 2030 ranges from 0% to 30% with a mean of 10% in 2030.Which plug-in hybrid has the best resale value? ›
Best Resale Value Luxury Plug-in Hybrid SUVs (PHEV) for 2023
The Mercedes-Benz GLC (Plug-in Hybrid) has the best resale value among luxury plug-in hybrid SUVs. The GLC retains 49.1 percent of its value after 5 years, with an average price of $32,106 for 5-year-old models.
G.M. has said it aims to sell only zero-emissions vehicles by 2035. Tim Grewe, G.M.'s director of electrification, said that as electric vehicles improved and charging infrastructure expanded, plug-in hybrids would become obsolete.Will plug-in hybrids be banned? ›
The California Air Resources Board last week approved a rule that requires all new cars and light trucks sold in California will be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, by 2035.Will plug-in hybrid cars be banned? ›
The EU recently banned new sales of gas-powered cars, including plug-in hybrids and anything else that can burn fossil fuels, starting in 2035. California and New York enacted similar bans that also take effect in 2035, though sales of some plug-in hybrids will still be allowed there.Does gas go bad in plug-in hybrid? ›
Most plug-in hybrids that are on the market have a range of over 30 miles on pure electric before the vehicle starts to use gasoline. If you tend to run your vehicle on electricity most of the time, we do want to inform you that the gas in your plug-in hybrid will go bad after a certain amount of time.What happens if you don't charge a plug-in hybrid? ›
Can you drive a plug-in hybrid even if the battery is not charged? You can definitely drive your plug-in hybrid without a charged battery. Although it is designed as a combustion-assisted electric vehicle, the battery always has some energy stored away thanks to its self-charging technology.What car gets 90 mpg? ›
As you may expect, the Toyota Prius hybrid leads the way, with an official MPG of 90 and a reputation as being the first car to really put the environment at the forefront.How do you maximize the fuel economy of a plug-in hybrid? ›
- Keep an Eye on the Energy Monitor. ...
- Keep It Light. ...
- Stick To 70. ...
- Get Into a Driving Rhythm. ...
- Ensure You're Familiar with Your Driving Modes. ...
- Brake Sooner. ...
- Keep Out of Neutral. ...
- Consider Using Cruise Control.
From listening to the radio to powering the wheels, plug-in hybrids harness energy from both the combustion engine and electricity. The range will generally be around 20-30 miles, but some of the latest PHEVs have an official pure electric range of more than 50 miles depending on your driving style.Can you drive a Prius on electric only? ›
Frequently Asked Questions. Do I need gas in the tank? You should never drive Prius Prime without gasoline in the tank. While you may drive on electricity alone, the vehicle always requires gasoline to operate properly.Can plug-in hybrid cars be charged at home? ›
Most drivers of electric vehicles (EVs)—which include all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)—charge their vehicles overnight at home using AC Level 1 or AC Level 2 charging equipment.
They are at their most efficient when they're at a consistent cruising speed. So above 15 mph, only the gasoline engine is used. The electric engine shuts down and the spinning power generated by the gas engine is used to both power the vehicle and recharge the electric motor's battery.Does AC burn gas in a hybrid car? ›
Yes — like many of your car's features, the air conditioning system does consume fuel. Car dair conditioning works by drawing energy from the alternator, which is powered by the engine.How long can gas stay in plug-in hybrid? ›
According to JD Power, “regular gasoline has a shelf life of three to six months, while diesel can last up to a year before it begins to degrade.” When you are getting close to the three-month mark, and you have not cycled through the gasoline in your plug-in hybrid vehicle.At what speed does Prius switch from electric to gas? ›
A: The speed at which a Prius switches from battery to gasoline power can vary based on model year. However, most models (including the 2022 Prius) will switch to gasoline power once the vehicle hits 15 mph or higher speeds.How far can a 2023 Prius go on electric only? ›
While that's true, each make and model will offer something a little different in terms of performance. The majority will run on electricity for 50 or so miles before the car switches to gasoline. Hybrids can run for a good 300 or so miles on gasoline alone, which is music to the ears of long-distance drivers.Do you have to pay to charge a Tesla at Walmart? ›
The Cost of Charging Your EV at Walmart
Walmart offers one of the most affordable charging rates for EVs. It uses the pricing model of per-minute charging, which is based on the speed of the charger. The current rate for Level 2 charging is $0.12 per minute, while the rate for Level 1 charging is only $0.08 per minute.
Your mileage is directly dependent on your battery capacity. Most EVs can generally travel 3 to 4 miles per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy. A full recharge, if your vehicle's range is 300 miles, would require 75-100 kWh and cost $10-$14.
Generally, you shouldn't charge your EV to 100% battery every single night because charging cycles can degrade your battery. Most EVs on the market have a range of a few hundred miles on a single full charge. Unless you are driving long distances every day, that charge should last you a few days.