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Types of hybrids explained (part 3)

plug-in-hybrid

A new week dawns, last time in our series of articles related to types of hybrids we talked about full hybrids, today we’ll look into the plug-in variety.

Plug-in hybrids

Considering the limited electric vehicle – EV – range of full hybrids, why aren’t the carmakers fitting larger and/or higher-capacity batteries? The problem with doing that is that batteries will become too large to be replenished via regenerative braking and opportunistic engine charging efficiently.

This is why these higher-capacity hybrids have to be plugged in in order to be recharged. The charging times will vary greatly depending on the size of the battery pack, but you’d be best suited to reserve somewhere around four to five hours for this.

Plug-in hybrids will drive like an electric car when the battery is sufficiently charged but once you breach the electric motor’s speed threshold – somewhere between 100 and 130km/h – and that’s when the petrol engine starts up to lend a helping horse power. Once the electric-only range – of between 30 and 50km has been exhausted – PHEVs will operate like a regular full hybrid car.

Thanks to their rather significant electric-only range, plug-in hybrids get up to some impressive fuel economy figures in official testing, so they’re very sought after for that reason by those individuals who can afford them and who tend to do most of their driving in urban settings.

Plug-in hybrids are finding it hard to get a foothold in the market due to the high costs of the battery packs – which are expected to decrease in time thanks to different build technologies – but also the lack of recharging infrastructure is another major problem.

We have just one more article in our series, so stay tuned for it, sometime next week.

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