GreenCars 101
Plug-In Hybrids

Buying a Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle

Dave Nichols
Oct 2023
Plug-in hybrid vehicles offer the best of all worlds. You can drive around town on all-electric power but also get all the advantages of a fuel-efficient hybrid drivetrain. Read on to find out if a plug-in hybrid is right for you.
Woman buying car

Should You Buy a Plug-In Hybrid?

The electrification of cars is here as automakers and the federal government moves toward an all-electric vehicle future. Plug-in hybrid cars offer a way to enjoy the benefits of an electric car while retaining the convenience of a gasoline-powered vehicle.

Plug-in hybrids have larger batteries that allow you to drive on electric-only power for up to 60 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in. So, should you buy a plug-in hybrid car? Here are some reasons to consider.

Everything in One Vehicle

Many people can’t afford multiple cars or would prefer to only own one car. So that car must do everything well. It must act as a daily commuter and also be good for long trips. In other words, it needs to be excellent for both work and play. If that sounds like you, a plug-in hybrid is an excellent solution to your personal transportation needs. If you have a family to get around, there are great options in crossovers and SUVs that are PHEVs.

If you’re on a long trip, a plug-in hybrid car lets you stop for gas just like a conventional gas car but still gets excellent mileage. You won’t need to wait to have your car recharged at a DC Fast Charging station that requires at least a half hour to get an all-electric car charged up to 80 percent. When you’re just doing quick trips around town, the plug-in hybrid only uses its electric engine.

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV driving next to a lake

Better Gas Mileage

As gas prices continue to climb, getting better gas mileage is a big deal. Thanks to a plug-in hybrid’s electric technology, you’ll get more miles per gallon than a traditional gasoline-powered car. We’re talking 40 miles per gallon. You can also add in the fact that you can drive up to 60 miles on electric power alone and that adds to your car’s range. The range of most PHEVs is between 500 and 600 miles.

Besides saving you money at the pump, a PHEV has lower emissions than gas-only cars. That’ll help you breathe easier.

Person getting gas

PHEV: Limited Dependency on Fuel

With a PHEV you are not dependent on one source of energy to get around. So, if there is a gas shortage, you can still drive your plug-in hybrid to work or get groceries on electric power alone. PHEVs are more versatile. Plus, if there is an electric blackout in your neighborhood, you can still drive thanks to the gasoline engine.

Standard 120 volt plug-in

Charging Versatility

The battery pack in a plug-in hybrid is smaller than those found in an all-electric vehicle, and that means it charges up faster. You can charge your PHEV using Level 1, 120-volt current in about three hours, or have a dedicated Level 2, 240-volt line installed in your garage for even quicker charging of just one and a half hours. Either way, when you recharge overnight, your car will have a full charge and be ready to go.

Man charging car at home

Gateway to Driving Electric

Some people call plug-in hybrids the gateway to driving an all-electric car. A PHEV introduces you to the experience of driving a green car. You will discover that electric powered cars offer up instant power and quick acceleration. It is also completely silent when you are in electric mode.

In a few years, EVs will have solid-state battery packs that will take them 600 miles or more on a charge. With range anxiety vanquished, switching from your PHEV to an all-electric car will be a piece of cake.

Man in front of car with money and keys

Federal Tax Credit Eligible

Because plug-in hybrids use electricity to recharge their batteries, they are eligible for federal incentives. To explore plug-in hybrids that are eligible for the federal tax credit and other state and local incentives, use our Personalized EV Incentives Calculator.

woman charging car with family

Is a PHEV Right for You? 

Many new car buyers find that PHEVs are the perfect combination of electric driving performance and efficiency without the “range anxiety” of an electric-only vehicle. A plug-in hybrid’s all-electric driving range is anywhere from 28 to 60 miles depending on the make and model. For this reason, PHEVs enable some drivers to perform their daily commute and errands around town solely on electric power, functioning almost as if there wasn’t a gasoline engine under the hood at all.

The same PHEV would also let them go on that cross-country road trip without being forced to find EV charging stations along their route. As with any recommendation, determining if a PHEV is the right choice for you really depends on how you plan to use your car, but for many buyers, a plug-in hybrid is the perfect middle ground vehicle.

Front view of a Tesla Model 3 driving through canyon roads

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