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What is the difference between plug-in hybrids and hybrid cars?

Let’s admit it: the electric mobility world is one hot mess at the moment, and keeping up with it is definitely a challenge. 

As newer technologies are steadily developed, newer options become available on the market: think PHEV, HEV, BEV, etc. Rather than becoming diversified, it just ends up as confusing or even discouraging towards those who want to dig deeper into the topic.

Truth is, there are a few solid pillars everybody should know. Here, we provide a solution!

We at Monta like to make long stories short and cut right to the chase. This is why we have decided to collect the hottest searches on the web about plug-in electric vehicles, and reply to them all in one simple guide.

We believe it is crucial to make informed decisions when choosing the right kind of vehicle for your specific tastes and needs, so let us drive you towards an aware eco-conscious transition. 

Of course, if you don’t mind losing a few hours, you could easily leave this page and embark on your own DIY quest for all you need to know about plug-in hybrids (we really do not recommend it).

It doesn’t matter if you are a complete novice or if you already have some knowledge – we have it all ready for you. Learn all you need to know about plug-in hybrids and feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below.

Buckle up, because HERE WE GO!


Image by: electrive

Plug-in hybrid vs. Hybrid EVs   

Plug-in hybrids and conventional hybrid vehicles are often mistaken but they are definitely not the same. To better understand the overall situation, let’s briefly analyse and define what all the automotive options on the market are right now:

BEV (Battery electric vehicle)

BEV stands for “battery electric vehicle,” and indicates pure, 100% electric vehicles. This kind of car is only fueled by electricity and relies on a big battery (so big that it occupies the whole bottom portion of the vehicle) and an electric motor. 

If you’re interested to learn more about BEVs, read our other, in-depth articles such as what electric cars have the longest battery life and what BEVs are expected to enter the market soon.

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PHEV (Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle)

PHEV or “plug-in hybrid electric vehicle,” is a type of car with a double soul and, as the word hybrid itself suggests, it is in-between being a BEV and a non-electric car.  

When hitting the road, PHEVs can either be powered by their electric motor and battery, or by their gasoline engine and gas tank. Therefore, there are two options for fueling PHEVs: you plug them in and you gas them up.

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This definitely gives an edge to all those drivers who regularly drive longer distances and still want to be eco-friendly.

HEV (Hybrid electric vehicle)

HEV stands for “hybrid electric vehicle.” Even though many think they are just like PHEVs, HEVs actually resemble petrol cars much more as they cannot be plugged in and are 100% gasoline-fueled.

A hybrid is powered by a battery and an internal combustion engine, connected to an electric motor through a transmission. 

HEVs cannot be plugged in, therefore the electricity for the battery must be obtained in a different way. To do so, HEVs mostly rely on braking (regenerative braking,) and partially on residual power coming from the engine. 

So, HEVs do nothing but recycle normally wasted energy to reduce their use of – and therefore save – gasoline or, in some cases,  go faster. Therefore, if you run out of gasoline, your HEV stops. 

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ICE (Internal combustion engine)

ICE includes all cars that only use an internal combustion engine and conventional fuels to function (e.g. gas/petrol, diesel). 

When burning, the fuel produces nitrogen oxides (NOx), which originates from the chemical reaction of nitrogen and oxygen. These cars also emit carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and other pollutants. 

In a nutshell: not electric cars are hazardous to the environment.

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Did you know that…

Regenerative braking is a feature shared by all kinds of EVs. It is normally used to boost efficiency or improve performance by converting kinetic energy into electricity that would otherwise go wasted.

Plug-in hybrid price / Plugin hybridbiler Pris 

We would lie if we said that we could provide an absolute, 100% precise price range. Prices and statistics hugely depend on single countries’ policies, taxes, currencies, and many more factors that just make it extremely difficult to come up with a general, universal estimation.

Regardless, there are a few facts to keep in mind:

  • On average, PHEVs are cheaper than fully electric BEVs, but are more expensive to purchase than HEVs;
  • At the moment, purchasing costs of PHEVs are generally higher than those of ICEs, but it is likely that they will eventually even up accordingly with the decrease of production costs and the improvements in battery technologies;

A higher initial cost compared to ICEs and HEVs will be recovered over time, thanks to the lower costs of energy compared to the general costs of regular fuel.  PHEVs also use considerably less gasoline than HEVs and ICEs (about 30-60% less).

Take a look at some of the PHEVs currently available on the market for your reference.

Opel Grandland X Hybridkr. 299.990€ 42.344
CUPRA Leon Sport Tourerkr .339.990€ 38.795
Volvo XC90 T8kr. 1.241.368€ 64.958
Ford Explorer PHEVkr. 1.095.150€ 76.000
SEAT Leon 5D Plug-in e-HYBRIDkr. 289.990€ 35.080
BMW 330e Touringkr. 476.728€ 53.250
BMW X1 xDrive 25e Advantagekr. 360.683€ 45.250
Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid Coupékr. 1.728.040€ 97.546
Volkswagen Passat GTEkr. 389.994€ 45.860
Jeep Renegade 4xe LIMITEDkr. 269.990€ 32.100
Source: each car’s respective official website at the article publishing date

Expenses of plug-in hybrids

The same considerations about purchasing prices apply when trying to estimate how much money it costs to own and drive a plug-in hybrid car.

For your reference, ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association) has published an overview that displays all tax benefits and purchase incentives for buying EVs in the European Union and the United Kingdom. You can find it here.

Image by: Wallup

Let’s talk about running costs, shall we?

An important premise is necessary: the battery size and capacity of electric vehicles is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). For reference, a battery stores kilowatts the same way a regular tank stores gasoline.

When recharging an EV, you will therefore pay a certain amount/kWh. With electricity being much cheaper and stable in price than oil, PHEVs offer significantly lower running costs compared to traditional ICEs. To talk numbers, feel free to check this up-to-date list of gasoline prices and electricity prices to see how much cheaper electricity is compared to traditional fuel.

Photo by Konstantine Trundayev on Unsplash

If you are curious to know how to compare kWh of electricity to the usual American gallons of gasoline, then egallon is most definitely a valid tool.

It consists of an online calculator created by the Energy Department to determine how much it costs to drive an EV the same distance you could go on one gallon of gas in each state in the USA.

Feel free to also visit these calculator websites below to get an even better understanding of how much money a PHEV can save you.

Image by: Audi

Did you know that Your actual consumption depends on many different factors, such as the way you drive, road conditions, traffic, and more? So, make sure to keep that in mind!

Plug-in hybrid range

PHEVs can count on medium-sized batteries (smaller than BEVs’, bigger than HEVs’) which allow them to operate as electric vehicles for an estimate of anywhere from 24 km to 80 km.

When the car runs out of electricity, the gasoline engine takes over the battery and fuels the car as if it was an HEV, allowing you to comfortably keep on driving till you get a chance to recharge the battery.

The cool thing about PHEVs is that, potentially, if you commit to charging it every day and as long as you limit the use of the car for short daily commutes or trips, you might not need to put gasoline in the car for weeks – if not months.

If you want to see very impressive battery-powered ranges, then take a look at our articleabout mind-blowing BEVs with the longest range per charge.

Some of the factors affecting battery range are:

  • The way and how fast you drive your car.
  • The outside temperature and overall weather conditions.
  • Hill climbing
  • Extra weight in the car 
  • The use of car features and accessories (such as AC)
  • The width and pressure of the tires
  • The overall condition of the car and battery
  • The size and capacity of the battery
  • Hard braking

Did you know that since battery range is affected by how you drive, a smart driving style will optimize your available range and can even afford you a few extra kilometres?

Image by: driving tests

Charging plug-in hybrids

Charging a PHEV is just as easy as recharging your mobile phone – you just need to plug it in! Of course, there’s more to know than that, so let’s dig into it. There are many options for charging your EV. 

Many people decide to install their own private charging station at home. This is actually very convenient and time-saving because you just recharge your car overnight and have it ready for the day the next morning. 

Unfortunately, since installing a charging station can be quite expensive (we are talking about several hundred dollars,) it is not everybody’s first choice.

If you don’t have your own, you can always rely on one of over 270.000 public charging points available across Europe and beyond – take a look at our website, we have the solution for you! 

Infrastructure is growing as the transition to green is inspiring new drivers to join. Many popular destinations now have charging stations and several companies have started to implement one at the workplace – so it should be fairly easy to access at least one.

Image by: Sevadis

Charging times

Let’s talk about charging times. Of course, battery wear, size, and many other factors are going to play a part, but as a rule of thumb, we can say that charging a PHEV’s battery to its fullest capacity typically takes several hours.

There are 3 levels of charging:

  • Level 1: the slowest type of charging, it uses a 120 V AC plug that can be connected to a standard outlet. No additional charging equipment is required, so most EVs can use it. It provides more or less 3 to 8 km of range per hour.
  • Level 2: the most common choice for public and home chargers, it provides charging through a 208 or 240 V plug. It charges an estimate of 16 to 32 km every hour, making it the perfect deal for overnight charging.
  • (DC) fast charging: this last category allows the fastest charging experience by supplementing a grand total of roughly 95 to 130 km in 20 minutes, making it the perfect solution for when you are on a journey and start running short of power.

To make use of these charging stations, special plugs are required, and some vehicles cannot support fast charging at all – read your PHEV manual to find out. 

Did you know that…

Monta can help you save up to 1.000DKK with SmartCharge and charge green with GreenCharge. Click here to learn more!


As the world’s infrastructures adapt to be as electric friendly as possible, automakers are striving to come up with newer and better EV options to meet everybody’s needs and lifestyle, with many of them have already launched at least one or two EV models on the market.

Whether you only drive from A to B, like to be more adventurous, or simply enjoy the feeling of speeding ahead on your four wheels, the market certainly has the ideal match for you. As you can tell, plug-in hybrids are the perfect middle-ground between petrol and electricity, but that doesn’t mean that they are a compromise. 

Plug-in hybrids are environmentally friendly and save you tons of money, while still providing high-quality performances: what’s not to like about that? The UK has already planned on banning the sale of ICEs starting 2030 to combat climate change, and we are expecting the same to happen in the rest of Europe sometime in the near future too.

We at Monta are ready to ride you through this adventure and cannot wait to revolutionize the way you drive.