What's the main difference between hybrid and electric cars?

I want to get an electric car to save money on gas, but I’ve found that hybrid cars tend to be much more affordable. What’s the difference between hybrid and electric cars?

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Answer provided by
Allison Stone
Answered on Jun 23, 2022
If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly ride, there are tons of options when it comes to hybrid and electric cars. There are actually three different levels when it comes to hybrid and electric cars. They are:
  • Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV): HEVs contain two powertrains, a battery-powered electric motor, and a gas-powered combustion engine. The electric engine typically has a limited range that will power the car for a certain amount of time. When the electric power runs out or the car reaches a certain speed, the gas engine will kick in. The battery in these cars charges through regenerative braking, a process wherein the brake system acts as a generator to restore the battery power as the car decelerates.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV): PHEVs also have a dual powertrain, but the electric battery is recharged both through regenerative braking and an external plug. A PHEV can typically have a bigger battery and can travel much longer on electric power than HEVs.
  • Battery electric vehicle (BEV): BEVs have no internal combustion engine and are powered solely by a rechargeable battery and electric motor. BEVs also utilizes regenerative braking, but they are primarily recharged through an external plug. These have the largest battery and longest electric-only range of the three.
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