Both solutions rely on electric mobility, but in different ways. Here we explain to you the differences between the electric vehicle and the plug-in hybrid.
Electric vehicles are increasingly more relevant in the automobile market, although manufacturers still offer several different options in their catalogues: 100% electric vehicles (BEV or Battery Electric Vehicles), hybrids, plug-in hybrids (PHEV or Plug-in Electric Vehicles), mild-hybrid… Today, we would like to explain you the main differences between the electric vehicle and the plug-in hybrid, which are two of the most popular choices.
Power systems. The first main difference between an electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid is that the first one is powered only by an electric engine (which is fed by rechargeable batteries) and the second one has a double power system which combines rechargeable batteries (which are, unlike traditional hybrid cars, charged by plugging them into an electric charging station) plus a back-up gasoline engine.
Silent zero-emission mode. As electric cars are always powered by their electric engines, they have zero emissions and silent operation. This does not happen with plug-in vehicles, as when they are using their traditional engine they cause pollution and noise.
Savings. The reduced cost per kilometre of electric vehicles makes them more economical in daily use. Also, their mechanic system is simpler so they require less maintenance.
Driving range. Another one of the great differences between plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles lies in their range. PHEVs offer a much more limited range in electric mode (generally a maximum of 50 kilometres against the 200 km. of many electric models). However, thanks to the added value provided by its traditional fuel engine its total range is much better and it may be even longer than that of a traditional vehicle (approx. 800-1,000 km.)
Performance. As we have already explained, the combination of two types of mechanics makes plug-in hybrids offer higher performance in several aspects, like their maximum speed and the already mentioned driving range.
DGT’s Zero Label. While electric vehicles have the “Zero” label provided by the DGT (the Traffic Authority in Spain), which means that they can be parked for free in regulated parking areas in most of the Spanish cities, plug-in hybrid vehicles only obtain such label when they have a minimum driving range in electric mode of at least 40 kilometres.
Vehicle registration tax. Differences between electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids also affects the vehicle registration tax. EVs are exempt from such tax, while PHEVs receive a tax credit based on their emission level.
What car is best for what: electric or plug-in hybrid? In summary and considering that the specific needs of a driver can influence the choice of one vehicle over another, in general terms, it can be concluded that electric vehicles are especially useful for those who drive within the city or near it (because of their longer driving range in electric mode, parking advantages and possibility of driving through restricted areas, etc.). On the other hand, and thanks to their total driving range and performance, plug-in hybrids are more suitable for drivers who need to cover longer distances.