Plug-in hybrid vehicles
Plug-in hybrids. The best of both worlds.
What to know about PHEVs
How are plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) different from non-plug-in hybrids (HEVs)?
Pros & cons of plug-ins
EV-only for daily tasks Fallback to gasoline for long drives or road-trips Don't need to worry about charging stations (unless you want to)
Usually priced more than gas-only counterparts Higher complexity could result in higher long-term maintenance costs
FAQs about plug-in hybrids
If you typically drive 15-40 miles per day, you should consider a PHEV as they provide you the experience of driving an EV but with the fallback of a gasoline engine. Most PHEVs can fully recharge from a standard 120V wall-socket in 6-8 hours, so if you plug-in at home each night you will have a full charge by morning.
Helpful Tip: Even if you can get away with electric-only use, it is wise to use the gasoline engine from time to time to keep it operating smoothly. Plus, the gasoline engine can provide additional heat to warm the car in colder climates.
You can charge your PHEV at home or on the road with a few options:
Standard home wall outlet (known as Level 1 charging): a common 120V power outlet provides about 3-5 miles of range per hour charged. A good practice of many PHEV owners is to charge overnight, where you can achieve a 30-mile range in 6-8 hours, allowing you to start your day with a full battery.
Upgraded home wall outlet + charging box (known as Level 2 charging): a conventional 240V power outlet—like one your washing machine uses—provides power at a faster 10-20 miles of range per hour charged. You will need a charging regulator box to protect the vehicle against things like power surges, which can cost $500-$1000+ before installation. For any modifications to your home’s power system, consult an electrician to add 240V outlets and ensure your home can support the proper amperage.
Public chargers (also known as Level 2 charging): public chargers can also be used on PHEVs, though you should evaluate if the cost is justified—because the price of charging at public chargers varies, and it may be cheaper to simply use the gasoline already in your car.
Most PHEVs do not support direct current fast charging (also known as Level 3 charging); that would be like trying to fill a small bucket with a fire hose.
Yes, if you and the vehicle you are purchasing meet the IRS’s qualifications. If so, your purchase of that qualified used plug-in hybrid vehicle could enable you to get federal income tax credits of either $4,000 or 30% of the price of the vehicle, whichever amount is less. The Treasury Department has specified the following eligibility requirements:
– The vehicle must be at least 2 years old; this means if you’re purchasing a vehicle in 2023, it must be at least a 2021 model or older
– The vehicle sale price must not exceed $25,000
– The vehicle must have a plug-in battery with capacity of at least 7kWh
– The vehicle must be purchased from a licensed dealer like CarMax, not from a private party
– The buyer’s adjusted gross income cannot exceed $75,000 for a single-filing taxpayer, $112,000 for head of household, or $150,000 for joint-filing taxpayers
– The buyer cannot have claimed another used EV credit within the last 3 years
Additionally, the used credit is only available once per vehicle (so once a used vehicle credit has been claimed on a unique vehicle, that vehicle is no longer eligible for the credit in future sales). You can view the list of qualifying vehicles directly on the Treasury Department’s website. This list is continually updated.
Note: This FAQ is not intended to be an exhaustive list of the qualifications and requirements related to this tax credit. CarMax cannot provide tax advice. Consider consulting an accountant or tax attorney with questions about this tax credit.
You do not necessarily have to plug-in a PHEV*, though it provides the most efficient charging source. The battery can recharge by drawing power from the engine or leveraging regenerative braking.
* Some PHEVs, like the Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid, do require plugging in to fully recharge their battery.
All manufacturers call them plug-in hybrids, though some manufacturers add additional branding to their models:
– Ford uses ‘Energi’, such as the Ford Fusion Energi
– Jeep uses ‘4xe’, like the Jeep Wrangler 4xe
– Toyota uses ‘Prime’, like the Toyota Prius Prime
– Volvo uses ‘Recharge’*, such as the Volvo S60 Recharge
* Prior to 2020, Volvo labeled their PHEVs as ‘T8 twin-charge’ models, so you may see different names used depending on year; also, the Volvo XC40 Recharge is a fully-electric vehicle, not a plug-in hybrid, so that one is an exception.
PHEVs have low relative EV-only range because most drivers only drive 10-20 miles per day. A plug-in hybrid allows owners to handle daily tasks like commuting or errands using just the battery, but allows for long driving and road trips without concern for charging stations.
Energy must be used to get any vehicle up to speed, and typically that energy comes from either a fuel source or battery pack in your car.
With a traditional braking system, pushing your foot on the pedal triggers the brake components to compress together, creating resistance to slow your vehicle's wheels. Any energy you had used to get up to speed is then lost as heat.
With a regenerative braking system, your wheels are connected to a motor that recaptures some of the energy used to get your vehicle up to speed, which is then converted back to stored power in the battery (hence the name 'regenerative').
Most electric vehicles, including full EVs, HEVs, and PHEVs, feature both braking systems and allow you to select whether to use both or only regenerative braking. Because most regenerative braking systems kick in immediately after releasing your accelerator pedal (no need to apply the brake pedal), you can drive while using your traditional brakes significantly less often; this is commonly called one pedal driving.
Learn more about plug-in hybrids & electric vehicles
The Pulse on Used Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles at CarMax
Can used plug-in hybrids be an affordable gateway to alternative energy vehicles? In this article, we dig into CarMax data to see consumer behavior around plug-in hybrids – uncovering everything from popular used plug-in hybrids, average prices, the fastest selling models, and more.
Going Electric: The Growing EV Market and CarMax
With rising prices at the gas pump, consumer interest in electric cars is growing. We pulled CarMax data to examine the latest trends in used electric vehicles. From best-selling used EVs to common trade-ins for EVs, we explore why EV demand is increasing and what our data shows about used EV popularity.
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If you're wondering whether a hybrid SUV is right for you, read on. We cover the pros and cons of hybrids, and what you should be looking for as you shop. We've also included some great hybrid SUVs to add to your short list.
Ask the Expert: Top 5 Affordable Used Hybrids
The automotive experts at Edmunds identify five used hybrid vehicles, even down to the specific model year, that can help you save gas money while fitting into a tight budget too. Check out these hybrid picks from Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia.
Explore popular plug-in hybrids by body style
Research plug-in hybrid vehicles
Crossovers & SUVs
- Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid
- Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV
- Hyundai Tucson PHEV
- Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
- Jeep Wrangler 4xe
- Kia Sorento PHEV
- Kia Sportage PHEV
- Mini Cooper Countryman PHEV
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
- Subaru Crosstrek PHEV
- Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV
- Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid
- BMW X3 Plug-in Hybrid
- BMW X5 Plug-in Hybrid
- Land Rover Range Rover PHEV
- Land Rover Range Rover Sport PHEV
- Lincoln Aviator (Grand Touring trim)
- Lincoln Corsair (Grand Touring trim)
- Mercedes-Benz GLC350e PHEV
- Mercedes-Benz GLE550e PHEV
- Porsche Cayenne ePHEV
- Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid
- Volvo XC60 Recharge (2021+)
- Volvo XC90 Plug-in Hybrid
- Volvo XC90 Recharge (2021+)
Sedans & hatchbacks
- Chevrolet Volt
- Ford Fusion Energi
- Honda Acccord Plug-in Hybrid
- Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid
- Hyundai Ioniq PHEV
- Hyundai Sonata PHEV
- Kia Niro PHEV
- Kia Optima PHEV
- Toyota Prius Plug-in (before 2016)
- Toyota Prius Prime PHEV
- Audi A3 e-tron Plug-in Hybrid
- Audi A7 Plug-in Hybrid
- Audi A8 Plug-in Hybrid
- BMW 330 Plug-in Hybrid
- BMW 530 Plug-in Hybrid
- BMW 740 Plug-in Hybrid
- BMW 745 Plug-in Hybrid
- Cadillac CT6 Plug-in Hybrid
- Cadillac ELR
- Mercedes-Benz C350e PHEV
- Mercedes-Benz S550 PHEV
- Mercedes-Benz S560e PHEV
- Polestar 1
- Porsche Panamera ePHEV
- Volvo S60 Plug-in Hybrid
- Volvo S60 Recharge (2021+)
- Volvo S90 Plug-in Hybrid
- Volvo S90 Recharge (2021+)
Looking for something other than a PHEV?
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