A hybrid vehicle gets its energy simultaneously from an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric motor. The ICE and the electric motor work together to power the car, which reduces petrol consumption and CO2 emissions. The ICE uses petrol to recharge the vehicle’s battery, which powers the electric motor.
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) also uses an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric motor, but it has a larger battery and electric motor than a hybrid. The battery can be plugged in and charged, and usually gives the vehicle a short electric-only range – up to 50km at lower speeds. When vehicle speeds or power demands are higher, or the battery is running low the ICE provides most of the power to the vehicle. The battery is recharged both from a plug-in charger and the ICE. Once the battery is mostly depleted the vehicle operates like a conventional hybrid until plugged in and charged again.
In both a hybrid and a PHEV the battery is also charged as the vehicle slows down by using regenerative braking. This further reduces fuel usage and emissions.