Electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace as more drivers abandon gas-powered cars. However, because they have not been around as long as gas powered vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEs), some people find it difficult to differentiate between electric vehicles. For example, some potential buyers wonder what the differences are between hybrids and electric cars and which they should buy. Let Century Motors Fresno explain.

What is a hybrid car?

A hybrid car contains two power sources for rotating the tires. It includes an internal combustion engine in addition to an electric motor. This means a hybrid has a gas tank that supplies fuel to the ICE and a battery that provides electricity to the motor.

Carmakers further break down hybrids into full hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles or PHEVs. The former has a battery charged from the ICE and energy recovered during braking, which is known as regenerative braking. You cannot plug a full hybrid into the grid to charge the battery.

PHEVs can be charged from the grid, although they can also charge through regenerative braking. You can charge the battery at home or at a public charging station. PHEVs generally have larger batteries than full hybrids and can travel longer distances on the battery power alone than the latter.

A hybrid car can have a parallel design, which means the vehicle can combine both the ICE and electric motor to power the car simultaneously. This is useful when the vehicle needs extra power, like climbing a steep incline or overtaking. Examples of models offering parallel hybrid versions include Toyota Camry and Prius, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, etc.

Another form of the hybrid electric car is the series. Here, the ICE does not propel the vehicle. Instead, it produces the electricity that is stored in the battery. The electric motor then draws energy from the battery to make the tires roll. Examples of series hybrids include the BMW i3, Ford Fusion, and Kia Optima.

Examples of PHEVs include Hyundai Ioniq and Volvo XC40 Recharge PHEV.

What is an electric vehicle?

Electric vehicles depend entirely on energy stored in the battery for propulsion. This means there is no ICE or tailpipe on board; hence, it qualifies as a zero-emission car. Electric cars, also known as EVs or battery-electric vehicles, BEVs, have larger battery packs, and you have to plug them in to charge them.

Most EV owners charge at home. If you want to charge faster than the charger that comes with the car allows, you may have to install your own home charging station or use a public charging station.

EVs can travel longer distances than hybrids can do on their batteries alone.

Some companies have formed solely to manufacture BEVs. The most popular is Tesla, which makes the Model 3 and Model Y. However, traditional automakers have also started producing BEVs, including Chevy Bolt, Kia EV6, Volkswagens ID.3 and ID.4, Nissan Leaf, etc.

EV vs. hybrid; which should you buy from Century Motors Fresno?

There are several factors that help you decide which to buy between hybrids and BEVs. For example, if you drive long distances regularly, stopping to charge a BEV when the battery depletes may be frustrating. BEVs do not offer the long driving ranges ICEs are capable of, and charging the massive batteries may take up to an hour. You may be better served by a hybrid, which offers longer ranges and quickly fills up the gas tank.

However, if most of your driving is your work commute and a few errands, you can use an electric car comfortably. You can even tackle the occasional long trip by planning your route to include as many public chargers as possible.

If you regularly tow with your car, you may consider a hybrid. This is because your BEV has to be certified for towing or you risk voiding the warranty. In addition, towing severely cuts the driving range of electric cars, meaning you will have to stop more frequently to charge on the road.

In terms of maintenance, BEVs are better because they do not break down as much as gas-powered cars. Also, electricity usually costs less than gas, and the prices are more stable.


Electric cars are a plus to the environment because they help reduce carbon emissions from transportation. BEVs do not produce emissions at all. However, when you purchase a hybrid, the amount of pollution you generate by burning fossil fuel reduces, which is still a win for the environment.

If you need more information about electric vehicles, please reach out to us at Century Motors Fresno and one of our EV Experts will be happy to help you.