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Plug-in hybrid vehicles

As you explore options for your next vehicle, there's more to consider than different body styles, like cars, SUVS, and trucks, etc. Now you can compare different fuel types too—from conventional gas engines (ICE) to full electric and hybrid vehicles.Full EVs may be getting all the news, but plug-in hybrids (or PHEVs) offer a variety of benefits. Available as sedans, crossover/SUVs, minivan, and wagons, PHEVs can operate on only the engine, only the battery, or both together for optimal efficiency and/or added performance.

Plug-in hybrids. The best of both worlds.

What to know about PHEVs

Officially called plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), but more commonly just “plug-ins”, they essentially operate like they have two motors—one runs on electric power, and one on gas. You can opt to use one, or the other, or both.  

How plug-in hybrids work

Plug-in hybrids feature a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) and supplemental battery that is paired to an electric motor. As you drive, the vehicle determines which power source is best suited for your current driving to balance efficiency and performance.

How are plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) different from non-plug-in hybrids (HEVs)?



MotorUses a combo of both gas and electricUses a combo of both gas and electric
EV mode15-40 miles (depending on model) before gas motor kicks in1-2 miles (depending on model) before gas motor kicks in
DrivingProvides drivers ability to choose whether to run on gas, electric, or bothSome models allow ability to choose whether to run on gas, electric, or both, but some do not
ChargingCan plug in, leverage regenerative braking and/or draw excess power from gasoline engineNever plug in; can leverage regenerative braking and/or draw excess power from gasoline engine
BatteryLarger battery with more EV power and higher weightSmaller battery with less EV power and lower weight
† As noted, PHEVs provide drivers the ability to choose whether to run on gas, electric, or both. If you're not into guesswork though, you're in the clear—all PHEVs feature software to optimize which power source you use to provide the most efficient driving.

Pros & cons of plug-ins

A PHEV truly is the best of both worlds. With the benefits of an electric vehicle for short trips near home and the perks of a gas-powered engine for driving farther, you've got your bases covered. This means you can commute or run daily errands using only electric power, plus take a road trip to see family without concern for charging stations.


  • 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.

Explore popular plug-in hybrids by body style

Popular PHEV minivansView all

Looking for something other than a PHEV?

Learn about other alternative fuel types.

Ready to find your plug-in hybrid?

* Price excludes taxes, title, registration, and fees. Applicable transfer fees are due in advance of vehicle delivery and are separate from sales transactions.

We hope you found this information helpful. This content is intended to inform and is not meant to indicate that a particular vehicle is currently available or recommended for you. Information related to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. We make every effort to provide accurate information, but please verify before purchasing.

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