Pros and cons of different types of hybrid cars

In our time, it is difficult to surprise someone with hybrid variations of cars. In terms of fuel consumption, they are more profitable than cars equipped with internal combustion engines and at the same time cheaper than electric cars. But at the same time, not many people know how hybrids work and what they are like. If you have noticed blown engine symptoms in your car and want to sell it and buy a modern car, this article is for you.

Variety of hybrid vehicles

Over the long years of developing hybrid installations, engineers have produced so many layout options that a rather harmonious system of their classification has been built. Each class has its pros and cons, and they vary in efficiency. Let’s take a look at them.

Micro hybrids

Micro hybrids are the starting step of the classification. In such vehicles, electricity does not yet help the internal combustion engine, but it would be more correct to say that it does not prevent it from functioning. However, despite the modest possibilities, marketers assign rather bold names to such developments. For example, such a well-known manufacturer as BMW gave its system the name EfficientDynamics.

At the forefront of the considered power plant is a “smart” generator. Electricity for other units of the car, this device tries to generate during deceleration, but when picking up speed, it stops working, thereby removing the load on the engine. In general, the system is simple and can be implemented on any modern car, because the smart charge microcontroller can be installed directly on the battery terminal.

Also, the Start-Stop system is attributed to micro hybrid technologies, which automatically shuts off the power unit when the car stops. This method makes it possible to reduce fuel consumption and the number of emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere.


  • simplicity;
  • not a high price;
  • does not affect the mass of the car.


  • efficiency is at a minimum;
  • the start-stop system requires more complex and expensive starters and batteries.

Claimed fuel economy: 2-5%.

Where to meet: Mini Cooper, BMW 1-series, Mazda6.

Mild hybrids (MHEV)

In the MHEV, the electric motor actually assists the internal combustion engine, positively influencing the dynamics of the car. However, such a vehicle cannot yet move on electric traction alone.

Mild hybrids are based on a double-acting electric motor coupled to a gasoline power unit. When slowing down, it generates electricity, and when the car accelerates, the unit, on the contrary, consumes the accumulated energy, increasing the torque value on the crankshaft of the internal combustion engine.

Usually, this electric motor is called a starter-generator, because the device successfully replaces both units. Along the way, with the help of this device, a more advanced Start-Stop system is implemented, when the internal combustion engine is turned off even before the car stops completely.

It’s also worth noting that the MHEV needs an additional low-capacity power supply that can store the electricity generated during the deceleration process.


  • dynamics increases;
  • easy to implement;
  • relatively cheap system.


  • most of the energy is spent on the rotation of the internal combustion engine, which indicates that the design is not optimal.

Claimed fuel economy: 5-10%.

Where to meet: Range Rover Evoque, Audi A6, A7, A8, Ferrari LaFerrari.

Full hybrids (FHEV)

Full hybrids are the next milestone in the development of hybrid cars. In these vehicles, the electric motor can drive the vehicle entirely on its own. The FHEV class includes vehicles that are able to cover at least a short distance solely by means of electric traction. But, although the path overcome on such equipment is modest, the energy consumption of engineers in its development was enormous. This technique is much more complicated than Mild hybrids.


  • higher efficiency and/or increase in dynamic performance.


  • large mass;
  • complex device;
  • high price.

Claimed fuel savings: 15–25%.

Where to find: Infiniti Q50 Hybrid, Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid, Range Rover Hybrid.

Electrical all-drive hybrids

This is a variation of FHEV, in which the traditional motor and electric motor are each responsible for their own axis. For example, a four-cylinder diesel engine, together with a robotic gearbox, rotates the front axle, and an electric motor with its gearbox drives the rear wheels.

Such a scheme makes it possible, with relatively small losses, to turn an inexpensive version of any car not just into a hybrid, but even into an all-wheel drive hybrid.


  • by design, such cars are relatively simple;
  • four-wheel drive;
  • lower cost.


  • lower efficiency;
  • the volume of the luggage compartment is reduced;
  • higher weight.

Claimed fuel economy: up to 20%.

Where to meet: Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, Mazda Demio e-4WD

Series hybrids

Most hybrid cars are parallel – this is when the electric motor and the internal combustion engine can drive the car together or one at a time. However, successive hybrid modifications also take place.

In series hybrids, the internal combustion engine is not connected to the axles. It is docked only with a generator that produces electricity. This electricity is consumed by the traction motor (or motors) that drives the wheels. There is a battery that accumulates energy during regenerative braking and increases the output of the power plant at maximum loads.


  • relatively low weight;
  • the simple design of the power plant.


  • driving characteristics are at a suboptimal level;
  • price.

Where to meet: Fisker Karma, BMW i3 REX.

Series-parallel hybrids

In the 90s, Toyota developed an original motor that combined series and parallel circuits. This power unit formed the basis of the revolutionary Toyota Prius hatchback, the world’s first serial hybrid. The car was equipped with a gasoline four-cylinder internal combustion engine, two electric motors, and a planetary gearbox connecting them together.


  • high efficiency;
  • the simplicity of design;
  • low weight.


  • the control electronics is relatively complex;
  • price.

Claimed fuel economy: up to 40%.

Where to meet: Toyota Prius, Lexus RX 450h, BMW X6 ActiveHybrid, Mercedes ML 450 Hybrid.

Plug-in hybrids (PHEV)

The power plants of Plug-in hybrids are the same as ordinary Full hybrids, but the battery capacity is much larger. At an acceptable cost and weight, modern batteries make it possible to overcome several tens of miles on electricity.


  • such perfect hybrids will allow the car owner to save fuel to the maximum;
  • the minimum amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere.


  • high price;
  • large mass;
  • dependence on electric charging infrastructure.

Claimed fuel economy: up to 70%.

Where to meet: Volkswagen Golf GTE, Range Rover P400e, Chevrolet Volt, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Final thoughts

If you want to buy a hybrid, then you have a fairly wide selection of cars available. You can surely find a car that will meet your expectations. You can free up space in your garage for a new car with JunkCarsUs. The company buys cars in any condition throughout the USA except Alaska and Puerto Rico.

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