Can’t Decide Between an HEV vs. PHEV? This Might Help You Out

Can’t Decide Between an HEV vs. PHEV? This Might Help You Out!

Electric vehicles (EVs) are environmentally-friendly and can save a lot of money, especially with today’s fuel prices.

And today, consumers have a lot of options. Aside from the pure EVs that run just on batteries, there are cars that use a combination of battery and gas: hybrid cars (HEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

Most people tend to lump HEVs and PHEVs under one umbrella, but they actually are very different in terms of fuel efficiency, cost, and driving range.

If you’re choosing between a PHEV vs HEV, this article can help you figure out what’s best for you.

Power source

HEVs still primarily run on gas, and can’t be plugged into any electric outlet. Instead, it’s like an electricity scavenger.

It harnesses the electricity that it generates while it is being used, either by converting the kinetic energy during braking or siphoning the engine’s excess power during driving.

PHEVS runs on both gas and electricity. They have a much larger electric motor and battery pack than HEVs and can be plugged into a home outlet or an electric charging station just like an EV.

If it’s fully charged, the car can run on just electricity for about 20 to 30 miles, then switches to its diesel engine for power.

Fuel efficiency and savings

HEVs will still need regular refueling because the electricity will not be enough to power it for more than a few yards. However, it is more fuel efficient.

Whenever you stop the car, it can use the electricity to get it moving again and delay the ignition of the gasoline engine.

Typically, the HEV gets about 40 to 60 miles per gallon, which is twice more than a regular car.  

So, if you spend usually $2,500 on gas every year, you can save $1,000 a year—which means in two or three years, you’ve already recovered your investment.

PHEVs have similar fuel economy, in the sense that you get about 40 to 60 miles per gallon.

But since you since you can rely on the electricity in the battery for short driving distances, you won’t need to gas up as often.

So with PHEVs, fuel costs really depend on your lifestyle and driving style.

If you only use your car to go to work or do errands in your neighborhood, and you live in the city with a lot of charging stations and do overnight charges in your home, a full tank of gas can last you well over a month.

In fact, many people who own PHEVs just keep the gas tank filled for backup.


In terms of price, HEVs are cheaper than PHEVs. You’ll only spend a few more thousand dollars than a gas-powered model, and that price premium isn’t much when you think about how much you’ll save on gas.

PHEVs, on the other hand, do require a bit more investment, although as expected the price will vary according to the brand and the features.

Thankfully, there are now many mid-range options that have good features but won’t break the bank.

The Hyundai Ioniq is about $25,000, while Toyota Prius Prime, Ford Escape, Mitsubishi Outlander, Hyundai Tucson, and Subaru Crosstek range from $30,000 to $40,000.

The higher investment pays for itself because of the money you will save on gas—aside from the priceless opportunity to help the environment by reducing carbon emissions from fossil fuels.  


Both HEVs and PHEVs are very convenient to use. HEVs work just like a regular car, and won’t require any changes in your lifestyle.

You can gas up and drive long distances without really thinking about charging—the car does all the work for you.

PHEVs will require charging, but you won’t panic if the battery runs out of juice, or go out of your way to find charging stations when you go on long road trips.

You know that the car will switch to fuel whenever the battery’s empty, and you won’t get stalled on the road.

Since PHEVs have smaller batteries, they are also faster to charge.

You can get a full charge at a charging station after just four hours—even less if you’re using a fast-charging station, though you’ll need an adaptor since not all of them are compatible with the PHEV.

If you’re charging at home, you’ll get a full charge after 8 to 15 hours, so leaving it plugged in overnight will give you enough juice for tomorrow’s drive.

Battery life

The battery life of an HEV, PHEV and EV are all pretty similar. The durability depends on the manufacturer and how you use it.

Thanks to evolving technology, you can’t overcharge it because it will stop charging once it reaches about 90%.

What does damage it is if you push it to extremes: overcharging it and then leaving it unused for months, before overcharging it again.

PHEV vs HEV – which one is for you?

HEVs are best for people who are more interested in getting more mileage per gallon and don’t want to bother with electric charging at all.

It’s also the most practical electric car option if you live in an area that doesn’t have a lot of electric charging stations or an apartment where you can’t plug in your car.

PHEVs are best for people who want an electronic vehicle with the convenience of being able to use gas as a backup energy source.

You may also want a more affordable alternative to full EVs, which are the most expensive of all electricity-powered cars.

However, PHEVs mean that you will need to remember to charge the car and keep the gas tank relatively full.

This is a double step that may or may not bother you, depending on how easy it is to find a charging station in your area or recharge at home.

So it all boils down to what you’re willing to do, and how much you want to rely on electricity as a power source.

Hybrid cars: more options to save gas and the planet 

Either way, HEVs, and PHEVs are making it easier for people to transition from fuel-only cars to cleaner transportation.

Considering the cost of fuel, and the reality of global warming, either choice is a win for your budget and the planet.