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The pros and cons of buying a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

Owning a plug-in hybrid, officially dubbed a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), can be an exciting prospect, but one must keep in mind the pros and cons that come with such a purchase.

There are three main types of electric vehicles (EVs) available on the market. These include Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) While regular hybrids are often seen as the entry point for first-time owners of e-cars, their plug-in variants are for those that want to take their EV experience to the next level Like regular hybrids, PHEVs are powered by both an electric engine and a gasoline engine, except PHEVs can be plugged in to an electric outlet to charge as opposed to being restricted to regenerative braking alone

We recently discussed the three main types of electric vehicles (EVs) available on the market. These include Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). You can find the full breakdown here

Today, we will be exploring the pros and cons you’ll need to consider before buying a plug-in hybrid vehicle, or PHEV. 

So, what is a plug-in hybrid car?

While regular hybrids are often seen as the entry point for first-time owners of e-cars, their plug-in variants are for those that want to take their EV experience to the next level. While similar in many ways, there are also some notable differences. 

For one, a regular hybrid uses either regenerative braking and/or its gasoline-powered engine to charge its electric motor battery, making it a self-charging vehicle. 

A plug-in hybrid, on the other hand, uses the two previously mentioned charging methods, while also making it possible to plug-in the car to charge its e-motor battery. That’s because the battery in a PHEV is often larger than that in a standard hybrid, as it can cover longer distances, and therefore needs a greater source of electricity.

Like HEVS, PHEVS also can use either motor, or both, to power themselves.

We’ve recently also listed the pros and cons of buying a Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) and a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV).

Pros: 

  • Reiterating on what we previously mentioned, PHEVs are perfect for those that want a more involved EV experience without committing to a fully electric vehicle. Perhaps your country’s EV infrastructure isn’t up to par, or you just want to drive around without feeling as bad about polluting the environment – PHEVs are the next best thing to BEVs. If you’re able to accommodate its plug-in needs, then a PHEV might be for you.
  • The reason we said you can feel better about driving a PHEV is because it can drive for longer powered solely by its electric motor and battery. The total distance it can travel this way is referred to as its ‘electric-only driving range.’ Most PHEVs available in the US have a range of around 25 miles (40 km). Higher-end PHEV models from Porsche, Mercedes and Volvo have an electric-only driving range of around 15 miles (24 km), while PHEVs from volume sellers like Hyundai, Kia and Honda can last for distances over 25 (40 km) and 30 miles (48 km).  
  • With an increased electric-only driving range come decreased CO2 emissions, as the car will be more reliant on its electric engine to power itself. This is especially true in an urban environment where trips are much shorter than a PHEV’s electric-only driving range, meaning you won’t often use a single drop of gasoline.
  • Other than decreasing their carbon footprint, many buy EVs because they save money, and PHEVs are even more cost-efficient than HEVs because of their larger battery. Like all EVs, they are often pricier than gasoline models of comparable specs. However, as we said in our HEV pros and cons list, an EV purchase is one that rewards you over the long-term.

Cons:

  • Again, given the high retail price, PHEVs can be an instant no-go for many looking for a more affordable option. If you are a person that often buys and sells vehicles, a PHEV might not be for you. In a region where petrol is so cheap, many customers are hard-pressed to consider buying an e-car at this point, unless they’re environmentally-conscious. 
  • While you are buying an EV, at the end of the day, there’s no disregarding the fact that your vehicle runs on gas too. During long and difficult journeys like an uphill mountain ride, you’ll be relying solely on your gasoline engine to get by. That means CO2 emissions are inevitable.
  • A common complaint skeptics will have regarding EVs is that their batteries cost too much. While this is unfortunately true, prices have dropped significantly in the past decade. Additionally, most manufacturers will provide warranties that can go up to 8 years, covering battery replacement and repairs. 
  • Given that HEVS and EVs in general are still relatively new in the Middle East, it can be difficult to find third-party mechanics with the know-how to repair said vehicles. This means that owners will often have to opt for repairs at the dealership, which is often more expensive.