Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Also referred to as: Plug-in hybrids
Banned in: 2035
Example models: Ford Kuga PHEV, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Volkswagen Golf GTE, BMW 330e, Peugeot 508 PHEV.
Plug-in Hybrids are seen as the stepping stone between petrol and diesel cars we’ve always known and battery electric vehicles.
They use an internal combustion engine – usually petrol – and an onboard battery and electric motor(s).
The battery can be charged to full capacity by plugging the vehicle into the mains or a charging device, though these cars also have energy regenerating brakes and systems that help to trickle a little extra capacity to the battery on the move.
The battery pack is not as large as that in a BEV, though when fully charged can provide anywhere between 25 and 55 miles of range using just electric power and the petrol or diesel engine not having to be used.
When the Prime Minister says ‘hybrid vehicles than can drive a significant distance without emitting carbon’ will be on sale until 2035, these are the models he is most likely referring to.
Charging times are shorter than BEVs, too.
For longer journeys – or any trip where you’ve used up to electric driving capacity – the vehicle will become reliant on the petrol or diesel engine to take you to your destination.
Though regenerative systems will continue to slowly replenish the battery you drive, so you will benefit from a little extra electric range.
Ministers are reportedly set to implement a ban of 2035 on this type of hybrid vehicle due to their capacity to be driven more than the daily average journey using only electric power.
However, some green campaigners say PHEVs are dirtier than other vehicles, as they produce higher emissions levels when owners fail to charge them regularly.
This is because the petrol or diesel engine needs to work harder to carry the bulk of the battery.
Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)
Also referred to as: Hybrids, conventional hybrid, self-charging hybrid
Banned in: unconfirmed (could be 2030 or 2035 depending on the result of the government’s consultation)
Example models: Toyota Corolla, Nissan Qashqai e-Power, Lexus RX 450h.
A Hybrid Electric Vehicle shares the same concept as a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle in that it has an onboard battery and electric motor to supplement a petrol or diesel engine.
However, it can’t be plugged in to be charged, so all of the electric power is generated by the movement of the vehicle.
Batteries are far smaller than those in BEVs and PHEVs for this reason and can only usually provide a handful of miles of range using electric power only.
They’re often referred to as conventional hybrids as they were introduced to the market ahead of PHEVs, with the Toyota Prius being the most reknowned model.
Toyota and sister brand Lexus often refer to them as ‘self-charging’ hybrid vehicles, which is misleading if it fails to acknowledge that their electric-only ranges are much less than PHEVs.
The Prime Minister has failed to clarify which hybrids will be banned alongside petrols and diesels from 2030 based on the ‘significant distance using electric power’ quote previously mentioned.
The Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) has confirmed that clarification will be found as a result of a government consultation – and we won’t get a definitive answer on it until next year.
Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV)
Also referred to as: Mild hybrids, Light hybrids
Banned in: 2030
Example models: Suzuki Ignis SHVS, Jaguar E-Pace MHEV, Ford Fiesta EcoBoost Hybrid.
One of the most confusing recent terms introduced to the sector is the Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle.
These are claimed to sit between a petrol or diesel car and a Hybrid Electric Vehicle and are becoming more common as manufacturers announce new models and updates to their ranges.
While they do have some electric capacity, to use the term ‘hybrid’ does muddy the waters.
They have a very small battery and motor-generator – usually no bigger than 48 volts – to supplement the combustion engine under the bonnet.
However, the big difference is that the battery and motor do not provide all-electric propulsion at any time whatsoever.
Instead, the motor-generator uses stored electricity to supply additional torque to the engine, boosting its output without burning additional fuel to make the combustion engine more efficient.
Some mild hybrids also use the generator to enable the car’s engine to be turned off for up to 40 seconds when coasting, automatically restarting when acceleration is called for.
This is said to offer greater fuel-economy from a petrol or diesel engine.
Because they cannot be driven entirely under electric power, ministers will banish new version from sale in 2030 along with petrol and diesel cars.