19 July 2022 · Our Blog - Read The Latest Articles

Hybrid vs. Electric Cars: What’s The Difference?

Hybrid vs. Electric Cars: What’s The Difference?

With many governments, industries, and individuals choosing to make more environmentally conscious choices in order to reduce their carbon footprint, it comes as no surprise that more and more vehicle owners are making the switch from petrol-powered vehicles to hybrid cars or electric vehicles (EVs). Not only do these cars reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they also significantly reduce operating costs when compared to petrol-powered vehicles. 

The terms hybrid car and electric car are often used interchangeably, however, there are distinct differences between the two. If you’re considering making the switch to an EV or hybrid car, read on to find out the difference between the two and the pros and cons of each option. 

What Is An EV?

An electric vehicle (EV) is any vehicle that is powered by an electric motor rather than a conventional petrol or diesel engine. EVs run on power stored in a lithium-ion battery that requires regular charging from an external source, whether it be at a dedicated EV charging station or at home.

What are Hybrid Cars?

Hybrid cars are essentially a combination of a petrol-powered engine and an electric motor that can be used independently or simultaneously, providing the best of both worlds. Unlike fully electric vehicles, the electric motor in hybrid cars does not need to be manually charged as the vehicle generates its own electricity to be stored in the battery.

Hybrid cars require petrol to operate, however, they are typically much more fuel-efficient than vehicles that are solely powered by a petrol engine as hybrids use a combination of electric and petrol power. 

Electric vs. Hybrid Cars: What’s The Difference?

Though both electric and hybrid cars will reduce petrol costs and greenhouse gas emissions, there are many differences between the two including;

1. Motor types 
2. Charging types
3. Driving range
4. Maintenance costs
5. Purchase price  

Hybrid vs Electric Motors

The most notable difference between hybrid vs. electric vehicles is how they are powered. While an electric vehicle is powered solely by an electric motor, hybrid vehicles use both petrol-powered engines and electric motors. 

Hybrid cars make use of the strengths of both types of motors to increase efficiency. The electric motor is often used when the vehicle is idling or at low speeds, whereas the petrol engine provides more power for reaching maintaining high speeds. Additionally, both motors work together to ease the load on the petrol engine, reducing fuel consumption.

External Charging vs. Automatic Charging

There’s a big difference when it comes to charging EVs compared with hybrid motors. 

EVs require frequent charging from an external source, similar to how combustion engines require frequent refueling. The amount of time it takes to fully recharge an electric vehicle from empty depends on the type of charger used as well as the size of the battery, though you can count on it taking much longer than it would to refuel at a petrol station. 

Recharging an electric vehicle from a standard home powerpoint can take more than a day, depending on the battery capacity. However, with a dedicated 7kW car charger installed, this time can be reduced to seven to twelve hours, allowing the car to charge completely overnight.  

Dedicated public charging stations have a much higher output of up to 22kW, significantly reducing charging times. In Australia, there are far fewer EV charging stations than there are petrol stations, making many people wary of buying an electric vehicle for fear of running out of power before reaching a charging station.

While hybrid vehicles use electric motors, they require no external charging. This is because the vehicle generates its own electricity through regenerative braking, which is used to charge the lithium-ion battery. This means that with hybrid cars, there is no chance of waking up to a flat battery as a result of forgetting to plug your car in overnight or running out of power while on the road.

Electricity Costs vs. Petrol Costs

As an electric vehicle does not use petrol, the operating costs are less than that of a hybrid vehicle as electricity prices are typically lower and more stable than petrol prices.

Conversely, hybrid cars have fuel flexibility, running on a combination of petrol and electricity. And since the electricity is generated through kinetic energy, the only operating cost will be petrol. However, hybrid vehicles will have lower operating costs than similar vehicles without an electric motor as they require less frequent refueling due to the supplemental power of the second motor.

Electric vs Hybrid cars driving range

One of the main concerns that vehicle owners have when considering switching from a convention car to an electric vehicle is range. In Australia, there are petrol stations everywhere, providing drivers with confidence that they will be able to easily refuel when they run out of petrol. However, as electric vehicles don’t run on petrol, when the battery of your EV is running low, you need to make sure that you will reach your home or a charging station before it runs out. 

The range of an electric vehicle can vary significantly depending on its battery. Some electric vehicles have a range of only 90 km, whereas others can travel more than 500 km between charges. 

As hybrid vehicles run on both petrol and electricity, concerns of reaching your destination before power runs out are eliminated as you can simply stop and refuel at a petrol station when needed, while the electric motor recharges as the vehicle operates.

Toyota hybrids stand behind their incredible range and their ability to take you further, with many tests proving you can get from Brisbane to Sydney on one tank with a Toyota Hybrid!

No Emissions vs. Low Emissions

As an electric vehicle is solely powered by an electric motor, they do not use petrol, eliminating the production of exhaust emissions. In fact, electric vehicles have no need for an exhaust pipe altogether. Though a hybrid vehicle still uses a petrol-powered engine, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced when operating the vehicle is significantly less than that of a conventional car because of its electric motor.

EV vs Hybrid Maintenance

In addition to reducing emissions, switching to an electric or hybrid vehicle can also reduce maintenance costs over the lifetime of the car. For electric vehicles, maintenance is minimal as there are fewer moving parts than conventional internal-combustion engines, eliminating common maintenance needs such as belt replacements, engine oil, and coolant. 

Though a hybrid vehicle will still require servicing, as it continues to use an internal-combustion engine, the vehicle is also powered by an electric motor, easing the load on the petrol engine and reducing maintenance requirement frequencies.

Purchase Price

Another significant difference between hybrid vs. electric vehicles is their purchase price. In Australia, the cost of purchasing an EV can be more than double the cost of a comparable car with a petrol engine, whereas hybrid cars will typically cost as little as 20% more than their non-electric counterparts.  

Though the purchase price of hybrid and EVs is higher than that of a conventional car, it’s important to consider the cost of a new car beyond its purchase price. The operating costs of hybrid and electric cars are significantly reduced through the use of an electric motor, reducing the lifetime cost of the vehicle. 

Electric Vs Hybrid Cars In Brisbane

When it comes to choosing between an electric vehicle and a hybrid car, there are a number of factors to weigh up. From motor type to purchase price, there are many differences between hybrid vs. electric vehicles. The best choice for you will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.

Downtown Toyota is one of Brisbane’s leading car dealers, providing quality-made, reliable vehicles at affordable prices. If you’re considering making the switch to a more economical vehicle, call us today on 07 3896 0100 to find out more about our industry-leading hybrid vehicles.