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Our ultimate guide to hybrids

Our ultimate guide to hybrids

Labradoodles. Camera phones. Romantic comedies. Many of the best things in life aren't one thing, but two - combined to make the best of both in one new form.

Hybrid cars and vans are another example of an innovation that merges two different stand-alone vehicle types; in this case, via the energy that powers them.  

Hybrid vehicles are 'dual-energy' - they have both a traditional petrol or diesel engine and a battery-powered electric motor, and can run on either type of power. Hybrids are designed to travel short distances on zero-emission electric power, while also offering the option of switching to conventional diesel or petrol combustion power for longer journeys or when the battery is low on charge.

As many of us take steps to limit our carbon footprints, the popularity of hybrid cars has sky-rocketed in recent years. In January of 2023, the hybrid market rose 40.6% year on year so it stands to reason that we should see a surge in the number of hybrids filtering through to the used car and van market before long.

But why wait 'til then? At Carbase, we already have a fantastic selection of used hybrid cars in stock, so if you're looking to boost the environmentally-friendly credentials of your next car, you've come to right place.

Still not sure if a hybrid vehicle is right for you? We've created this handy infographic to tell you all you need to know about hybrid cars and vans, including the pros and cons.


What is a hybrid vehicle?

Hybrid vehicles have both a traditional petrol or diesel engine and a battery-powered electric motor, and can run on either type of power.


What are the types of hybrid vehicles?

Mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV)

MHEVs have a small battery to assist the combustion engine, but can't be run on electric power alone. They boost performance while reducing fuel use.

Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV)

HEVS (aka full hybrids) can run on battery power alone, but cannot be plugged in to charge - instead they generate electricity through regenerative braking.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)

PHEVS can plug in to charge externally and have a longer zero-emission range.

Range extended electric vehicle (REEV)

The wheels on a REEV are powered only by electricity and the engine acts as a generator to produce more zero-emission power, limiting the need to plug in.


What are zero-emission ranges?

Ranges are increasing, but current electric mileage ranges are:

MHEV (0 miles) - Cannot run on electric power alone, but have a small battery to assist the combustion engine.

HEV (30 miles) - less than one mile at slow speeds, but uses less fuel and produces less emissions than
normal petrol or diesel vehicles.

PHEV (30 miles) - About 30 miles before switching to combustion or needing a charge.

REEV (150 miles) - About 150 miles before switching to combustion or needing a charge.


How long do plug-in hybrids take to charge?

With a standard mains socket, it's possible to charge most hybrids overnight. A wall home charging unit will charge much more quickly - in just a few hours.


What are ULEVs?

Ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) is the term used to describe any vehicle that:

  • Uses low carbon technologies
  • Emits less than 75g of CO2/km from the tailpipe.
  • Is capable of operating in zero tailpipe emission mode for a range of at least 10 miles.


    Could a hybrid be right for you?

    Yes, if...

    • Most of your journeys are short and/or in urban areas.
    • You have space at home for charging. (for a PHEV or REEV)
    • You want to reduce your carbon footprint, without compromising on range.

    Maybe not, if...

    • You do a lot of motorway miles.
    • You don't have space or time to charge.
    • You need to tow anything.


    A infographic providing a guide to hybrid cars

      Hybrid vehicle technology is very much in its infancy, and we expect to see hybrids develop rapidly over the coming years.

      Already though, many of the most popular and premium car manufacturers have added hybrid models to their vehicle ranges, including Toyota, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

      If you'd like to know more about used hybrids, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team, or take a look at our current collection of used hybrid cars

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