Hybrid vs Electric vs PHEV: Where’s the Future Going?

Hybrid vs Electric vs PHEV: Where’s the Future Going?

What should you drive? Does it make sense to drive a hybrid, electric, or PHEV? The future of the automotive market might not be in only EVs; let’s explore.

Electric vehicles have become much more popular, but that popularity is waning. Why are EVs losing ground in the market? These fully electric vehicles are losing ground to hybrid sand PHEVs because the novelty of an electric vehicle has worn off, and real-world applications have taken over. Does this mean hybrids and PHEVs will be the future of alternative-fuel driving? That could easily be the case.

What’s the greenest car in the market?

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) gives the nod of the greenest car in America to the Toyota Prius Prime SE. This is not an electric vehicle, but rather a PHEV. The Prius Prime SE can drive for 44 miles on electricity before switching to the gas-hybrid powertrain. The overall build of this car is what makes it the greenest car in the market.

The Prius Prime has won this award in 2020 and 2022, but it seems that added EVs should push the Toyota PHEV out of the running, but it hasn’t yet.

Why isn’t an EV the greenest car?

Running on electricity isn’t enough to put a vehicle at the top of the green car heap. When considering hybrid, electric, and PHEV models, several factors are at play. The weight, battery size, and overall efficiency matter in the grand scheme of things. Large electric trucks are greener than gas trucks of the same size but not greener than a small hybrid or PHEV.

The Green Car list has several EVs on it, but the top ten has a few surprises, too. These are the ten greenest cars in America, according to the ACEEE:

  • Toyota Prius Prime SE
  • Lexus RZ 300e
  • Mini Cooper SE
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Toyota bZ4X
  • Toyota RAV4 Prime
  • Hyundai Elantra Blue
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Toyota Camry LE
  • Kia EV6

Will hybrids or PHEVs gain more popularity?

While most of the attention goes to electric vehicles, hybrids and PHEVs are becoming more popular. These alternatives to gas-powered vehicles are quietly becoming more plentiful in the market. An example of this quiet change is in the Toyota lineup.

Since the new Tundra appeared, Toyota has been changing all of its vehicles to include at least one hybrid or PHEV model. The Tundra, Sequoia, Land Cruiser, Tacoma, Highlander, Grand Highlander, and upcoming 4Runner all have i-Force Max Hybrid powertrains.

Other Toyota models have a PHEV version as part of the lineup, using Prime as the signifier that the vehicle is a PHEV. You can see two PHEV Toyota models on the list above, which means at least two plug-in models as part of the mix.

Toyota isn’t the only brand that has added more hybrids and PHEVs, but it is one of the few brands that haven’t skipped ahead to EVs.

GM skipped ahead

On the other side of this conversation, General Motors is banking on EVs regaining popularity and becoming the chosen vehicles when electric, hybrid, and PHEVs are the options. GM already has several EVs but continues adding more with the new Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Sierra EV, Chevrolet Blazer EV, Equinox EV, Cadillac Lyriq, and upcoming Chevrolet Bolt EUV. These vehicles all utilize the Ultium battery platform, which first appeared under the GMC Hummer EV models.

What are the similarities of hybrids and plug-in hybrids?

Hybrid and PHEV models differ from electric vehicles because they have gas-powered engines as the main power source. Both types of hybrid vehicles have electric motors to aid the engine with propulsion. These hybrids also utilize regenerative braking, which is something they have in common with electric vehicles.

How do hybrids and plug-in hybrids differ?

Regular hybrid vehicles have a small battery that is recharged while driving and this battery plus the electric motor aid the gas engine in powering the vehicle. PHEVs have a much larger battery, often 10 to 20 times the size of a hybrid battery. A PHEV’s battery can be recharged using a Level 2 charger, which gives the vehicle some electric driving range. Regular hybrids don’t have an electric driving range.

Should you choose an electric, hybrid, or PHEV to drive and enjoy every day? Which vehicle type will be the future of driving? It’s hard to say. Currently, EVs are losing ground to hybrids and PHEVs, but that could change, especially if automakers finally perfect solid-state batteries. The future of the automotive world is as uncertain as it should be. Which vehicle type makes the most sense to you?

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