Plug-Ins VS Regular Hybrids: A Comparison for Students in a Hybrid Vehicles Training Program

Here is a comparison for students in automotive technology programs

A hybrid car uses a mixture of both an electric battery pack and a gasoline fuel tank to get around—but how does the workload get split? The answer depends on the particular model of car you’re talking about.

Nowadays, you can see a couple of different kinds of hybrid cars on the road: “regular” hybrids, which have been around for years, and the newer “plug-in” variety. Though similar, the two use different approaches to determine when the gasoline engine will kick in, and offer different levels of functionality off of their batteries.

Curious about how these technologies compare? Here’s a look at plug-in vs. regular hybrids.

Students in Automotive Technology Programs: Plug-In Hybrids Use Their Battery First

As students in a hybrid vehicles training program might know, when a plug-in hybrid’s battery is charged, it operates in a manner very similar to fully electric vehicles. Everything from driving the car, to air conditioning, to the rest of the car’s systems, are run off of the electric battery pack. Once the pack’s power runs down, the car begins powering itself with its gas tank.

Regular hybrids often don’t have that level of separation. Often, the car may rely on the electric motor for low speeds or coasting, and then use the gasoline power for higher speeds. Or it might use the electric motor at the same time as its gasoline engine, in order to improve fuel efficiency.

Regular hybrids might only use their electric motors in low-speed situations
Regular hybrids might only use their electric motors in low-speed situations

Grads of Automotive Technology Programs Know Plug-In Hybrids Have Larger Batteries

Plug-in cars are meant to operate as all-electric vehicles while they have charge, and so their battery packs offer a relatively large amount of storage. This allows drivers to make it around 85 to 115 km without ever using the gas tank—not a bad range for most.

Regular hybrid vehicles usually have much smaller batteries, which is why the battery pack is generally more of a supplement to the gas tank, instead of the gas tank being a backup for the battery. Because these cars use their battery packs at only low speeds, they arguably don’t get any “pure” electric range.

Since more and more customers want to be able to do a lot of their driving on electric power exclusively, regular hybrids are becoming a bit less popular nowadays. As a result, you might see a lot more plug-in models when you begin working in automotive maintenance and repair.

Plug-in hybrids can travel a fair distance on electrical power alone
Plug-in hybrids can travel a fair distance on electrical power alone

Both Plug-In and Regular Hybrids Use Special Technology to Maximize Effectiveness

Hybrid cars often incorporate some handy extras that can make them even more energy efficient. This includes things like regenerative brakes (which store some of the energy created by cars as they slow to a halt), “start-stop” engines (which automatically turn the gasoline engine off when the vehicle is idling, and then starts it up again when the car starts moving), and other useful tech. If you’re looking to complete hybrid automotive training courses, you might find it worth knowing that both regular hybrids and plug-ins usually pack in these handy features.

Plug-in hybrids offer all-electric driving at a higher range than the regular hybrids you’ll see on the road. Though virtually all hybrids include similar technology to improve efficiency, plug-ins are still the models to beat.

Do you want to complete an automotive technology program with a focus on hybrids?

Visit Automotive Training Centres to learn how to get started!

Form is submitting