What is a Hybrid Car?

Find out everything you need to know with our 2021 Hybrid Car Guide

A hybrid is a car with two motors – one Petrol or Diesel and one Electric. A battery stores energy, which powers the electric motor. At higher speeds, the internal combustion engine takes over and drives the wheels.

In town or at lower speeds, the hybrid typically uses the electric motor to move the car along. When you need to go faster, the internal combustion engine kicks-in to power the car. Sometimes hybrids use a combination of both motors together - cleverly and seamlessly moving between power sources automatically. In this way, the Hybrid maximises energy efficiency.

See Hybrid Cars

Why should I buy a hybrid car?

Personal transport is changing. Environmental protection, reducing emissions and saving natural resources are increasingly important. That’s why manufacturers have been developing innovative energy-efficient hybrid cars or more than a decade.

Advanced power options such as hybrid cars are the future of driving. Not only do they take a responsible stand on cleaner motoring, but they also give you the advantage of saving money on fuel costs.

And with some hybrid cars giving over 200 mpg, you’re sure to reduce your weekly fuel bill as well as reducing emissions and pollution. There are three main types:

Mild Hybrid
Self Charging Hybrid
Plug in Hybrid

What are the advantages of a hybrid car?

Hybrid cars are easy to own and run, being a step towards the eco-conscious future of low emissions and clean motoring. The best hybrid SUV and best hybrid cars offer energy efficiency and significant fuel savings without compromising performance.

Here are the advantages you can expect:

• Fewer trips to the Service Station forecourt • Access to instant torque from stationary • Smooth power delivery • Reduced emissions • Reduced road tax • No London congestion charge (depending on category) • Improved mpg • Find out more about Government policy on low emissions vehicles

Take a look at this comparison of the stated consumption and emissions performance between a hybrid and an older car.

We’ve taken one of the best hybrid SUVs, the Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid and a 2008 model SUV of equivalent engine capacity and dimensions:

​208 SUVKia Niro Plug-in Hybrid
​Combined Fuel Consumption (mpg)​39.2​201.8
Combined CO₂ (g/km)​179​31

That’s a big improvement, by any standards.

If you had a daily 20-mile, round trip commute, over a week you’d save over 9 litres of fuel and reduce CO2 emissions by over 2 kg.

Of course this could mean hundreds of litres of fuel and kilograms of CO2 per year difference, depending on your mileage. Over the lifetime of the vehicle this adds up to a significant difference in both cost savings and pollution reduction.

And this is for just one vehicle. Reducing the environmental impact of motoring is a collective effort and everyone has their part to play.

What is a Self-Charging Hybrid Car?

A Self-Charging Hybrid has both an electric motor and a Petrol (or Diesel) engine which recharges its battery on the road autonomously. The electric motor can power the car alone at slower speeds. On faster roads the petrol motor automatically takes over to power the car.

Most hybrids also use a system called regenerative braking which recovers kinetic energy created while slowing down to recharge the battery. And because these cars have hybrid systems that are completely autonomous, they are known as self-charging.

There’s no need to recharge the car by plugging it in. Self charging hybrid cars have an unlimited range just like traditional cars, but with better fuel economy and lower emissions.

Browse self-charging hybrid cars:

Kia Niro Self-Charging Hybrid

Honda CR-V Hybrid

Renault Clio E-Tech Hybrid

The environmentally friendly crossover hybrid


Taking to new levels of energy efficiency.


Superb driving pleasure and optimal fuel efficiency in this iconic Renault hatchback.


Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz Crosstar

Honda HR-V

Spacious and fun with a smooth hybrid drivetrain.


All the fun of the Jazz with a tough, muscular style. And it’s a hybrid.


Coming soon is the brilliant new HR-V, now all hybrid too.


Renault Arkana E-Tech Hybrid

A dynamic and sporty SUV with F1-inspired hybrid technology.


How does a self-charging hybrid car work?

When you drive in engine power mode, some of the power from the motor continuously charges the battery which, along with energy saved from regenerative braking, keeps it charged at optimum levels.

Smart innovation seamlessly controls the car’s energy use in the most efficient way. In town, you’ll benefit from practically silent motoring, making your journey serene and relaxing.

When accelerating, the electric motor will assist the petrol motor for less engine strain and quieter driving. And when required, the engine will contribute to the recharging of the battery pack. Even when the battery levels are at their lowest, there’s no danger of getting stranded, as the petrol motor will take over.

And if you’re wondering about the self-charging hybrid price, you may want to take a look at our best new car offers at Brayleys. We have some of the best Hybridcars for sale in North London, Hertfordshire, Romford, Essex, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Middlesex.

What is a Plug-in Hybrid Car?

A Plug-in Hybrid has both a battery-powered electric motor and a petrol engine. But the plug in hybrid, as its name suggests, can be charged up from the mains electricity. 

Usually abbreviated to PHEV – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, these cars have an electric-only range which is often enough for most people’s everyday commute – up to 36 miles in some cases. With some plug-in hybrids, you can expect emissions as low as 29g/km CO2 and fuel consumption up to an incredible 201.8 MPG.

Regenerative braking technology returns kinetic energy to recharge the battery pack while coasting or braking. Sophisticated technology informs drivers of the energy expenditure on the road. This helps you reduce consumption and emissions even further by suggesting energy-saving driving techniques. Some systems even use satellite navigation to anticipate the most efficient power source.

What about charging a PHEV?

There’s no need to worry about electric range in a PHEV. When the battery is low, the petrol or diesel engine will automatically take over. Then when it’s convenient, simply hook up your PHEV to an electricity supply using the cable provided with the car and recharge the battery. This could be an ordinary domestic power socket, a home charging station, a charging station where you work or a public charging station. These are springing up everywhere now at the rate of some 600 a month, as hybrid and electric cars become more popular. Already, there are some 24,000 charging devices, offering over 41,000 connectors – find where the public charging points are in your area or check out the government data on public electric vehicle chargepoints.

Browse our selection of the best Plug-in Hybrid cars for sale:

Renault Captur E-Tech plug-in hybrid

Renault Megane Sport Tourer plug-in hybrid

Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid

Dynamic and efficient, with an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on the traction battery.


An all-electric range of 30 miles and 188.3mpg make this the best Sport Tourer ever.


Low emissions and superb fuel economy in a modern crossover package.


Kia XCeed Plug-in Hybrid

Kia Ceed Sportswagon Plug-In Hybrid

All-new Sorento Plug-In Hybrid

This sporty, crossover coupé comes with more ground clearance and stunning style.


Lots of space inside and an athletic exterior coupled with advanced hybrid technology.


Up to seven seats, designed for space, style and comfort, with a commanding presence.


What is a mild hybrid car?

A Mild Hybrid car has an electric motor and battery system which assists the regular Petrol or Diesel engine but isn’t designed to power the car alone.

Energy created during slowing down is automatically recuperated. The mild hybrid assists the internal combustion engine to augment power and reduce engine load. You can expect modest gains in fuel efficiency and emissions reductions with no need to recharge and an unlimited range.

How Does a Mild Hybrid Car Work?

A mild hybrid uses a generator motor to recuperate energy when you slow down. This energy is transferred to a 48-volt battery pack. Seamlessly and automatically, the car uses the battery power to help the main engine power the car, particularly during acceleration. The battery also enhances the Stop-Start system to function more smoothly and allows the engine to be switched off more often.

What are the advantages of Mild Hybrid Cars?

• Lower in cost than full hybrid cars due to the smaller electric motor and battery • Lower emissions • Lower running costs thanks to increased energy efficiency • Improved performance with enhanced engine power • Reduced engine load resulting in less noise

Browse Mild Hybrid Cars

Kia Sportage 48-Volt Mild-Hybrid

New Kia Stonic Mild-Hybrid

New Kia Rio Mild-Hybrid

The more economical SUV with EcoDynamics+ technology for better acceleration and less emissions.


Better fuel efficiency and more fun with the mild hybrid version from GT-Line upwards.


Now Rio style comes with advanced mild-hybrid technology for low-emission driving.




Mazda CX-30

M Hybrid brings a smooth, sporty driving experience with improved efficiency.


A work of art combined with all the science of M Hybrid – looks great, feels better.


SUV toughness teams with coupé beauty and the efficiency of M Hybrid technology.


What’s the difference between a hybrid and an electric car?

Unlike the dual power cars, electric cars rely solely on an electric motor, powered by a battery.

EV’s from Honda, Mazda, Kia and Renaultthe exciting achievement of the dream of zero emissions motoring with long ranges and fast charging. Find out more about electric cars here.

Should I buy a hybrid car?

You should definitely consider a hybrid for your next new car this year. The full EV may be the ultimate in low-emission personal transport, however hybrids are a popular and practical choice towards clean motoring. It’s an exciting future packed with innovation and technology designed to provide fun, economical and environmentally considerate driving.

At Brayleys, we’re at the forefront of new technology and innovation with the best hybrid cars from Kia, Honda, Mazdaand Renault. Take advantage of our best new car deals with Brayleys hybridcar offers. Find out what it’s like to /drive a hybrid car on the road by arranging a test drive today.

Brayleys: Hybrid cars for sale in your area

To find out more about hybrid cars or to take advantage of our latest new car offers, call or please send us an email