Electric cars, Hybrid cars and Phev cars

Published: 09/24/2020

What sets them apart from carbon fuelled cars and from each other?

The mantra for driving in today’s world is ‘Go Green’ and put the environment first.  And quite rightly so!  The government plans to reduce motoring carbon emissions significantly over the next few years.  The move away from car carbons and  their emissions to a more environmentally acceptable method of driving is something we all aspire to.  At Peter Hanley Motors, we fully support the journey towards greener motoring and are encouraged to note an increase in electric, hybrid and PHEV cars on the garage forecourts and on the roads.  But there is a presumption that everyone fully understands the various options available and  the difference between the fully electric car, the hybrid or the PHEV vehicle.   Here is a simplified, plain English guide to what’s what in eco-friendly motoring.

Electric Car

We are seeing more and more electric cars on the Irish roads.  I say, seeing them as we certainly don’t hear them! More and more electric cars glide past us in the smug knowledge that they have a significantly reduced environmental impact.  Propelled by one or more electric motors and using energy stored in rechargeable batteries, the fully electric car is an increasingly popular option for the Green Wave motorist.  For the Irish driver,  the lack of plug in stations for long journeys and the limited range of some earlier models was a bug-bear in the past and in the face of these difficulties, it seemed  only the most dedicated eco warrior drove a fully electric car. In 2020, as electric car ranges are now covering up to 200 miles, without needing a recharge and with the enticement of lower tax and 0% B.I.K (Benefit in Kind), the electric car is a popular option.  


A hybrid car combines a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor. This takes away the concern about ‘the range’ of the car. Something which haunts those driving an electric car.   It combines an electric motor and diesel or petrol engine.  The advantage of this is increased efficiency in terms of fuel economy and CO2 emissions compared to a conventional petrol or diesel car without an electric motor.   There is no need for charging the Hybrid vehicle and they're capable of travelling long distances without a break.  This makes hybrid cars the middle ground between combustion-engine cars and electric vehicles.  Hybrids are very much seen as the easy way to ecological motoring without the concerns of battery life and where the next charging point might be. 


The name P.H.E.V. simply stands for (a Plug in Hybrid Vehicle).  Once you know that, you really know how these cars work.  A PHEV is a hybrid electric car whose battery can be recharged by plugging it into an outside power source, but also by its on-board engine and generator.  The PHEV usually has a larger battery or ‘self-charging’ hybrid, so it can go a bit further on electric power alone, before the engine kicks in.   An increasing number of car makers are producing PHEV cars and with good reason.   The market is there, particularly for fleet cars and PHEVs can cover longer distances without a charge. Unlike the regular hybrid, the PHEV needs to be charged to work at optimum efficiency.  You can rely on the engine to charge the batteries, but this uses more fuel and defeats the purpose really from a greener driving perspective.  

For more information or to discuss the options in more detail, you are always welcome to phone, call in or email us at Peter Hanley Motors Ltd.

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