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Everything you need to know about hybrid cars

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Everything you need to know about hybrid cars

Plug-in hybridsPHEVs have, as you may have guessed, plugs. They have both electric and gasoline motors. PHEVs get some of their power through chargers and outlets, including the standard 120-volt wall outlet found in most homes. However, keep in mind that many PHEVs on the market today cannot be charged with the public “rapid chargers” that are increasingly being installed along US highways because they do not come with the connector that comes with them. would allow you to plug in. (Exceptions include specific models of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e.)

Plug-in hybrids have smaller batteries than their all-electric counterparts, and are only good for 20 to 50 miles, compared to more than 200 for all-electric cars. Like BEVs, PHEVs travel fewer kilometers on battery power in the cold. Once the battery power is depleted, PHEVs drive like hybrids and burn gasoline. As a result, the emissions output of PHEVs depends on how their owners operate them: whether they travel distances covered primarily by the battery and whether they are diligent about keeping them charged.

How much will a hybrid cost me?

Right now, cars are generally more expensive the more they rely on a battery to run. Here’s a helpful chart, using data from automotive research firm Edmunds:

In the US, both BEVs and PHEVs are eligible for federal and sometimes local tax credits. Specific brands and models of add-ons, including the 2022 to 2024 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid PHEV and the 2023 and 2024 Audi Q5 PHEV models, are eligible for at least some tax credits from the U.S. federal government, although the amount depends on where certain car components are made and how much they cost, so they are subject to change.

In Europe, France, Spain and the United Kingdom have subsidies for some types of hybrid buyers, but have scaled back their programs as the vehicles have become more popular.

Check with local authorities to see what applies and if they will help reduce the price.

Which hybrid should I choose?

That (☝️) pricing issue means some car buyers are avoiding battery electric cars. BEVs are also not a good option at the moment for those who regularly drive very long distances, or who do not have access to a charger at home, or who only have one car for home. A more robust public charging network is coming to the U.S., but while the country waits, those accustomed to frequent gas stations may hesitate before going all-electric.

This is where plug-in hybrids come in. “They’re an opportunity to dive into electrification,” says Kaufman, the Edmunds editor. The ideal plug-in hybrid driver has a shorter commute, on the order of 40 miles round trip. It’s also a great option for people who want to go electric but only have one car. “You can take any road trip you want,” Kaufman says. “It’s not like an electric vehicle, where you have to plan your route around charging stops.”

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