A hybrid car is one that uses two types of propulsion simultaneously – a petrol or diesel engine and an electric motor. As well as a conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrids are available; these include a battery that can be topped up via a wall socket or charging point, alongside a conventional petrol or diesel engine.
Hybrid cars work by recycling and reusing the energy that is wasted in a conventional combustion powered car. This means that the engine doesn’t need to work as hard, or won't need to be used at all if the car is in full electric mode. This reduces the vehicle’s emissions output and fuel consumption, which saves you money in vehicle tax and fuel expenses.
Plug-in hybrid vehicles work in a similar way to a standard hybrid, but the main difference is that the battery can be recharged using an outlet. This gives these cars a longer range in all-electric mode, and when the battery is empty, the model reverts to work in the same way as a non-plug-in hybrid.
Having an electric motor and a battery will help you save fuel and money in two ways. Firstly, the electric motor can kick in alongside the engine to help with acceleration, putting less strain on the unit. Secondly, a smaller, more economical engine can be fitted as it is supported by the electric motor when needed.
With less input from the combustion engine, less CO2 is released into the environment. Hybrid models can emit from around 75g/km of CO2, while in all-electric mode, this drops to zero g/km.