What is a PHEV?

August 17th, 2023 by

As the world slowly transitions from combustion engines to electric-powered cars, many drivers still have several questions. Sometimes these questions even prevent people from even considering buying an electric vehicle (EV). After all, why venture into the unknown when you’re already perfectly comfortable with how things work now? The truth is that electric cars have many advantages, and the fear of the unknown is preventing a lot of people from realizing the full potential of these vehicles. With a bit of information, drivers in the San Juan Capistrano area will be ready to switch to an EV.

At Capistrano Mazda, we want to fill in some of the gaps regarding our customers’ knowledge of electric cars. Here we’ll dive in and look at plug-in hybrid vehicles and why they might be a good fit for you.

What Is a Plug-In Hybrid?

Plug-in hybrids combine a gas engine, an electric motor, and a battery. They’re an excellent idea for anyone interested in leaping into the world of EVs but need to learn the ins and outs of fully electric cars. With plug-in hybrids, you can use the traditional, gas-powered engine to propel your journey. This option makes many drivers feel comfortable embarking on a long road trip without worrying about where they’ll recharge their vehicle. However, the electric motor can also power these vehicles, which can be restored by plugging the car into a charging station.

Plug-in hybrids come in all shapes and sizes, from compact hatchbacks to luxurious SUVs. The all-new Mazda CX-90 is a premium third-row SUV plug-in hybrid equipped to provide a superior driving experience at an affordable price. It’s important to note that plug-in hybrids differ from standard hybrid vehicles because the battery is usually larger and can power the car for a more extended range. Also, the batteries on standard hybrid cars are recharged while driving and don’t require any time plugged into a charging station.

How Do Plug-In Hybrids Work?

Plug-in hybrids combine the power of a combustion engine and a battery-powered electric motor. Unlike a full hybrid vehicle with a small battery pack that relies mainly on regenerative braking to recharge, plug-in hybrids must be plugged into an outlet. When the battery of a plug-in hybrid is depleted, the combustion engine takes over to enable you to continue to your destination or find a place to recharge your vehicle.

While a traditional hybrid vehicle could only use fully electric power for a mile or two, a plug-in hybrid has a much longer range. The Mazda CX-90, for example, can run in full-electric mode for up to 26 miles, making it an excellent option if you have a short commute to work.

How Do I Charge a Plug-In Hybrid?

One of the biggest concerns surrounding any EV is how you’ll recharge the battery. There are three levels of charging for an EV battery. Level 1 charging is the slowest but easiest to access. Level 1 charging usually involves plugging your vehicle directly into a 120-volt outlet at your house using an adapter that most likely came with your car. Level 1 charging might be convenient, but it’s prolonged and typically requires an overnight charge. This might work fine for plug-in hybrid drivers, as you have the combustion engine to fall back on until you can recharge.

If you’re interested in charging your battery much faster, Level 2 charging might be a better option. Level 2 chargers use 240 volts to cut charging time down significantly. For example, Mazda’s CX-90 can go from 20% to 80% complete in just an hour and a half. Some EV owners opt to have a Level 2 charger installed in their homes, but this isn’t always necessary, especially for a plug-in hybrid. You’ll find Level 2 chargers in public places across the U.S.

If you need a fast charge on a long road trip, you’ll need to find a Level 3 or DC fast charger. Level 3 chargers can charge a plug-in hybrid battery in minutes, making them the best option if you need to get back on the road in a hurry. Since the need for Level 3 chargers is rapidly rising, you can download apps such as PlugShare or ChargeHub to help you identify charging stations along your route.

What Are the Advantages of a Plug-In Hybrid?

The main advantage of a plug-in hybrid over a traditional combustion engine is the decreased reliance on gasoline. Many drivers are tired of the never-ending stops at the gas pump and don’t like the harmful exhaust emitted from their tailpipes. By switching to a plug-in hybrid, you can significantly reduce the number of times you have to stop to fill up your gas tank, reducing your car’s toxic emissions.

When comparing a plug-in hybrid to a traditional hybrid, the main advantage is the longer all-electric range found in plug-in hybrids. Many drivers can commute to work and back using electric power, a feat not easily accomplished with a traditional hybrid.

Finally, a plug-in hybrid also has advantages over a full EV. Drivers of EVs often suffer anxiety over where they’ll be able to recharge their vehicle, especially if they’re out of town or on a road trip. While gas stations are virtually everywhere, charging stations are less plentiful. The backup gas-powered engine gives plug-in hybrid drivers peace of mind knowing they’ll have the time to search for a charging station without being stranded.

Is a Plug-In Hybrid Right for Me?

If you’re interested in transitioning to an EV but still feel hesitant, then a plug-in hybrid is a great choice. You’ll feel comfortable knowing it has a combustion engine. Still, you’ll also benefit from the perks, such as less gas usage and fewer emissions. If you’d like to take a closer look at a plug-in hybrid, come down to Capistrano Mazda and take a look at the CX-90. Please give it a test drive and see first-hand what a plug-in hybrid is all about.

Posted in Hybrids