What is a hybrid car & How manufacturers categorize types of hybrid cars


Posted by: Joshua-Philip Okeafor

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Hybrid an electric cars are trending all over the place, but do you really understand what a hybrid car is and what it does? Naijauto.com is here to explain to you types of hybrid cars. Check it out!

If you are a car junkie then you probably are also psyched up to the buzz about EVs, or electric cars, and especially hybrids. It just might be though that you don’t know as much as you would have loved about the subject. Have no fear; Naijauto.com will set up with everything important you need to know about types of hybrid cars.

Before we jump into explaining the different types of hybrids, a good explanation of what a hybrid car is in the first place:

1. What is a hybrid car?

A hybrid car is a vehicle that combines at least one electric motor with a gasoline/petrol engine to move a car. Hybrid cars are good and popular because they use less fuel, thus saving the environment and they also are very fuel economical. Hybrid cars are also called green cars like pure electric cars.

Typically, in a hybrid system, the petrol engine maybe used to power the car during moments requiring greater engine power, like going up a hill. A hybrid is also useful because it means the car keeps running on petrol when the electric motor battery is flat. Sometimes the electric motor and the petrol engine will even work together. A system called regenerative braking charges the battery in the electric motor of a hybrid car.

Of course it is no surprise at the high number of  people who are now opting more for hybrid cars than for the regular cars all over the world. In Nigeria, the hybrid car trend hasn’t totally caught on, but it can’t be far behind.


Hybrid cars like the Kia Nro Hybrid save the environment and cost you less through fuel savings

2. Pros & cons of hybrid cars

Advantages of hybrid cars

  • Hybrid cars are best known for fuel economy as little or less fuel will be expended when driving with the electric motor mostly.
  • Less emission of carbon dioxide to the environment which is really unhealthy for humans health unlike obtainable with the petrol engine.
  • The advantages of regenerating braking system whereby each time you apply your brake while driving a hybrid car, can help you charge up your car battery a little. It's more like taking energy back to your car battery.
  • A hybrid car is built with less car materials which means that they don't need much energy to be moved.

Disadvantages of hybrid cars

  • The electric motors run on batteries and so are liable to be unreliable as the battery can run flat anytime, leading you seek ways to recharge or disconnect the battery and replace with a new one.
  • They don't always have the power of energy sensitive tasks, like towing.
  • They are more epensive than regular cars

Having established this, let's discuss the types of hybrid cars. They include the full hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and mild hybrids.

>>> If you are interested in an electric car, please refer to 7 factors to consider before buying an electric car in Nigeria


There are cool hybrids too, like the BMW i8 hybrid

3. Types of hybrid cars

3.1.  Full hybrids

The best description of full hybrids is at that they can run using just battery power without using the traditional engine or vice versa. This makes them more fuel economical and generates less air pollution than the other type of hybrids cars. They can automatically choose to function in parallel mode, series mode or in all-electric mode.

Cars like: The Toyota Prius, Toyota Yaris, Ford C-Max Hybrid Ford Fusion Hybrid and others are full hybrid cars.

Quick explanation:

  • The parallel mode is a powertrain that uses both the gas engine and electric motor to contribute to energy needed for driving the wheels.
  • Series mode is a one that uses the electric motor to drive the wheels, and the gas engine to provide the power as an on-board generator.
  • While the all-electric mode is a powertrain that uses only power from its electric battery pack to drive the car.

3.2. Mild hybrids 

These are much closer to traditional cars with gasoline engines rather than ‘most talked’ present gas-electric hybrid cars. A mild hybrid does not generate enough electric power to run the vehicle on that alone, so it uses electric power for some functions and petrol power for others. Though, they are still known as gasoline-electric vehicles, what seems to define them is the extent to which they use the electric motor. Unlike the full hybrid, the mild hybrid is not really as fuel efficient and this is because it is restricted to parallel hybrid mode.

Some cars using this system are the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Honda Accord hybrid, Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Mahindra Scorpio Intelli-Hybrid and others.

3.3. Plug-in hybrids (PHEV)

Different from the two above, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is a type of hybrid electric vehicle which has a rechargeable battery and can be recharged by plugging it into an external source of electric power, as well as by its on-board engine and generator. When plugged to a  power source, this increases the on board electricity which permits them to run in all-electric mode for some miles.

Examples of PHEV cars are the Mitsubishi Outlander 2019 PHEV, Hyundai Sonata 2019 Plug-in Hybrid, Hyundai Ioniq 2019 Plug-in Hybrid, Kia Niro 2019 PHEV, Toyota Prius 2019 Prime, Honda Clarity 2019 Plug-in Hybrid and few others.

>>> You may find hybrid cars unfamiliar, check these common car types! Different names of cars with pictures (all car types & brands updates 2019)


A PHEV allows you to recharge any time your battery drains out

4. Variations of hybrids

Having explained the three main types of hybrid cars, here are two variations or sub types you should know too. These are the Micro hybrids and Muscle hybrids.

  • Micro hybrids: It’s known for having the lowest battery size and uses a start-stop system. Its regenerative braking is there to recharge the battery very quickly and assist in stopping a combustion engine whenever the car pulls to a stop and also helps in restarting it when the driver speeds up.
  • Muscle hybrids: On the other hand, this uses the electric motor as additional power. So instead of filling in more petrol, it aims at providing extra power without the need for additional fuel.

Video: 7 Cheapest Hybrid Cars with the Highest Fuel Efficiency (Price Review)

>>> More enlightenment available at tips and advice section on Naijauto.com!

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Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Car buying & selling

Joshua, or KK as friends call him, is a Filmmaker, Writer and Director. A Christian, Joshua is a product of Nigeria’s foremost film school, the National Film Institute, Jos, where he majored in Writing/Directing. Joshua began his writing career at age 18 when an older brother gave him a four page outline of a children novel. Joshua intends to keep writing and directing. His screen name is sometimes Joshua Kalu Ephraim (Writing), and sometimes Joshua KK (directing).

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