Plug-in hybrid vs. electric cars

Electrification—the process of adding batteries and electric motors to a vehicle’s Powertrain — is no more a sci-fi concept in 2020.

What started with Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, has grown on to become a thriving segment of the international automobile industry.

In the past two decades, top automakers have taken advantage of technological advancements with the aim to cut down emissions, while delivering a powerful driving experience.

So, it’s the perfect time to shop for eco-friendly cars as options are plenty with measurable savings and improved features for your comfort.

Buying a hybrid or an electric car comes with a myriad of advantages, starting with state tax incentives, increased HOV lane access, less maintenance to save money on gas. There are shortcomings, of course, like high battery-replacement costs; still, these cars are our future so it’s best to accept it sooner rather than later.

So, now is the million-dollar question —hybrid vs. electric cars — which one is right for you?

As the name suggests, plug-in hybrid cars are vehicles that can also be plugged in. Some top-selling car models include the Toyota Prius plug-in, Cadillac ELR, and Chevrolet Volt.

Typically, plug-in cars have two separate power trains, and both drive the wheels. The electric motor lets drivers travel a certain distance (30 to 40 miles), and after that, gasoline kicks in when the electric motor is depleted.

Electric cars are fully electric, meaning that they don’t require gasoline. The best-selling electric vehicles include Tesla Model S, Ford Focus Electric, and Nissan Leaf. Since there is no gasoline backup engine, make sure you don’t end up with a low charging anytime.

However, there are electric car models in the automotive marketer with multiple batteries. So, the electric cars have a longer electric-only range compared to plug-in hybrid cars.

Before we talk about the pros and cons of both hybrid and electric cars, it is imperative to know the difference between the two.

So, let’s find out:

Electric cars: advantages and shortcomings

Electric cars

EVs offer a number of benefits over the plug-in hybrid vehicles. The biggest talking has been the no-fuel use to run electric cars; therefore, they are more eco-friendly compared to plug-in hybrids.

So, if you want to curtail your carbon footprint to as minimum as possible, then EVs are a favored choice. EVs let owners save more money over plug-in hybrids as they don’t use any fuel.

Advantages of electric vehicles:

  • Low center of gravity, thus improved vehicle handling
  • Nearly silent operation
  • Tons of instant torque
Less maintenance because of the engine’s mechanical simplicity

Shortcomings of electric vehicles:

  • More expensive than hybrid cars
  • Limited range
  • Lengthy charging time

Top models of electric vehicles:

  • 2018 Tesla Model S, Model X, Model 3
  • 2019 Nissan Leaf
  • 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Plug-in hybrid cars: advantages and shortcomings

Plug-in hybrid cars

Just like EVs, hybrid cars have their own set of pros and cons. The primary advantage, as described above, is a higher range. A plug-in hybrid has two powertrains - one for gasoline and another for the electric motor. That means a driver gets the best of both worlds: traditional car operation for longer trips and EV efficiency around town.

Advantages of plug-in hybrid cars :

  • Increased range as hybrid cars have an additional gasoline engine.
  • Low purchasing costs compared to EVs
  • Smooth on-road operation

Shortcomings of plug-in hybrid cars:

  • High running costs
  • Hybrids have more complex engine than EVs
  • High maintenance costs

Top models of plug-in hybrid cars:

  • 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC350e 4matic
  • 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
  • 2019 Land Rover Range Rover P400e

Comparing the costs: electric vehicle vs. hybrid cars

Comparing the costs

As we know the cost of electricity is much lower than the stepper fuel prices, switching to an EV is a wise man’s decision. No fuel duty on electric vehicles.

If you are charging your vehicle at home, then you only need to pay 5% VAT for the power consumed. Plus, no Vehicle Excise Duty (road taxes) unless their list price of the EV is more than £40,000.

Also, plug-in hybrids attract car buyers because of their affordability factor, as EVs can be costly. Even a quick look at the latest Electric Vehicle Database highlights the significant difference between their average prices.


Plug-in hybrid vehicles won't be around for long. The low running costs and environmental benefits of EVs outweigh the perks of investing in a plug-in hybrid.

The United Kingdom government has announced that they will phase out petrol, diesel cars along with hybrid vehicles, so by 2035, no new hybrids will be on sale.

However, for people who take frequent long road trips, the combination of electric and gasoline powertrains would be a more convenient option.

Have a limited budget for a new hybrid car? Find the best models for used electric cars for sale online.