Electric Vehicle vs Hybrid Vehicle - 101 Comparison

Electric Vehicle vs Hybrid Vehicle - 101 Comparison

Wed, 03/01/2023 - 10:15

Not too long ago, the major difference in car engines was what kind of fuel you put in it – gas or diesel. But today, concerns about the environment and the desire to reduce dependence on fossil fuels mean more and more electric and hybrid vehicles are hitting a local dealer’s lot. 

As an auto mechanic, it’s important to have a complete understanding of the differences and similarities, between hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles, but first, it's important to understand the major components of a hybrid vehicle vs an electric vehicle and how they work. 

Hybrid Vehicle  

Combining the benefits of gas-powered engines and electric motors, hybrid vehicles use a conventional internal combustion engine but also use an electric motor and battery to supplement the vehicle’s power. Using both types of engines means that hybrid vehicles deliver better gas mileage and have fewer emissions than a traditional gas-powered car. 

Hybrids not only use the auto start and stop and regenerative braking that EVs use to maximize fuel economy, but also electric power assist. The hybrid’s electric motor delivers power to help the engine when it needs a boost while accelerating, climbing hills or passing another vehicle. With this assist, manufacturers can use a smaller gas engine that is more efficient. 

There are 3 types of hybrid vehicles which must be explained. Firstly, the most notable idea of a hybrid is the full hybrid (FHEV) is that it operates fully by the ICE, fully on electric motor, or a combination of the two. Secondly, the mild hybrid (MHEV) is that the vehicle cannot be solely powered by the electric motor. Thirdly, the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) like the full hybrid except that the battery can be charged externally by plugging into an external source. 

Schematic of a Hybrid Vehicle
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Hybrid Vehicle Main Components  

Batteries: Batteries power the electric motor in hybrid vehicles. Additionally, the batteries can recover energy from the electric motor. This is one method to extend their lives. 

Electric Motor and Gasoline Engine: Hybrid vehicles are powered by electric motor and gasoline. The gasoline is used to power the internal combustion. 

Generator: Converts the gasoline into electrical energy for the motor and the battery.  

Transmission: The transmission drives the wheels mechanically by transferring power from the engine and/or electric traction motor. 

Electric Vehicle  

Concerns over the future availability of gas as well as the environmental impact of the internal combustion engine has led vehicle manufacturers to a race to be the first to develop an electric vehicle that enjoys widespread adoption by the driving public. Electric vehicles rely upon batteries to power the motor and move the vehicle down the road. 

While you can’t typically tell the difference between a gas-powered vehicle and an electric vehicle, one look under the hood and there is no question which type of vehicle you’re looking at.

Schematic of an Electric Vehicle
Main Components of an EV











Electric Vehicle Main Components  

Auxiliary Batteries: Auxiliary batteries supply power to electric vehicle accessories. If the main battery fails, the auxiliary batteries will keep the vehicle charged. 

Charge Port (Only for PHEV): The electric car connects to an external supply through the charge port. The charge port is the gateway that enables charging to the battery pack. Typically, it is located near the vehicle's front or rear. 

Controller: The controller determines how the electric vehicle is operated. It regulates the flow of electricity from batteries to electric motors. The speed of the car and the frequency of voltage variation input to the motor are determined by the pedal set by the driver. The controller also regulates the torque generated. 

DC-DC Converter: The DC-DC converter distributes the battery's output power to the required level. It further supplies the voltage that is required to re-charge the auxiliary battery. 

Electric Motor: This is a major part of an electric vehicle. Electrical energy is transformed into kinetic energy by the motor. This energy turns the wheels of the vehicle. The major element that sets an electric vehicle apart from conventional vehicles is its electric motor.  

Onboard Charger: The onboard charger converts the alternating current power from the charge port to direct current power. The on-board charger is installed and is located within the vehicle. It monitors various battery characteristics and controls the current that flows through the battery pack. 

Power Inverter: The power inverter is what converts the batteries' DC power into AC power. Additionally, it transforms the AC current created by regenerative braking into DC current. The batteries are also recharged with this.  

Transmission: Transmission is what transfers mechanical power from the electric motor to the wheels via a gearbox. Electric vehicles have the advantage of not requiring multi-speed transmissions. To avoid power loss, transmission efficiency should be high. 

Thermal System (Cooling): The thermal management system oversees maintaining a constant operating temperature for the main components of an electric vehicle, such as the electric motor and controller. It also operates while charging to ensure peak performance. It makes use of thermoelectric, forced air, and liquid cooling. 

Below is a chart of the major differences in characteristics between an HEV and EV: 


Characteristic Hybrid Vehicle Electric Vehicle
Maintenance With several mechanical parts in the cars and with two sets of engines powering the hybrids, the maintenance continues to be on the higher side. Only trained auto technicians can repair a hybrid car. EV’s require minimal maintenance—no tune-ups, oil changes, spark plug replacements, belt repairs, and so forth. The routine maintenance on EV's consists of tire care, air conditioning servicing, occasional brake cleaning and fluid testing, and engine coolant flushing
Fuel Costs Hybrids are the most gasoline efficient of all cars - they typically get 48 to 60 mpg (claimed). Not bad, but only about 20% to 35% better than a fuel-efficient gasoline powered vehicle EV’s are far cheaper to “fuel” than any other type of car. This is true regardless of state, electricity provider, and car size. Fuel savings are maximized by the features of smart charging.
Driving Range Battery power alone between 10-50+ miles with the capability of 300+ miles in gasoline-electric hybrid mode Electric vehicle (EV) driving range and electric car mileage per charge varies, but typically drivers can expect an average of 250 miles in a single charge
Recharge/Refilling Time 4-6 hours to fully charge because it switches gasoline at higher speeds, utilizing the electric battery less than a fully electric vehicle

       120-Volt Plug home charging can take more than a day to charge the EV.

140-Volt Plug home charging can take about overnight to fully charge the EV

A regular public charger station can take 7 to 11 hours to charge the car entirely.

Charging stations that offer a higher voltage charger can reduce the electric charging car time to 4 hours

Environmental Impact Combustion engine will always release CO2. Burns gasoline for power when not using the electric engine

      Pure electric cars run solely on electricity and don't release any emissions, so driving one will reduce your carbon footprint

Power/Fuel Source Electricity and Fossil Fuel (Petrol and Diesel) Electricity through Battery Pack (DC)
Engine Rely on the combustion engine to burn gas and send power to the wheels, barely relying on the electric engine for power  Rely only on the electric motor powered with electricity. 
Fuel Efficiency Combination of ICE and Battery Range Depends on Battery Range

As an Auto Technician, understanding the differences, advantages and disadvantages of EV and hybrids is important to your career. If want to learn more and build your knowledge and expertise in the exciting and rapidly expanding EV, please contact our Program Consultants toll-free at 1-888-553-533 or by email at info@gbctechtraining.com  


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