In the past, only a few drivers who wanted to go green and save money were interested in a hybrid vehicle or an electric vehicle (EV). So manufacturers focused on efficiency and practicality. Today, hybrid and EV technology improvements have spurred greater demand, causing a steady growth in sales. This boom in popularity has led several manufacturers to declare their intention to stop producing gas-powered vehicles in as little as 10 years.
Many drivers want the performance, technology, and comfort features they’re used to in traditional gas-powered vehicles, all while paying less for vehicle maintenance. Hyundai has listened to consumers and developed hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions for nearly every SUV and sedan it makes. And all-electric vehicles, such as the KONA Electric, IONIQ 5, and IONIQ 6, offer impressive performance and style with the efficiency and range you’ve come to expect.
But what’s the difference between a hybrid and an EV? And which one should you choose? Read below as our experts at Huffines Hyundai Plano explain how these powertrains work and the pros and cons of each.
Hybrid Powertrain Technology
To understand their differences, you must know how a hybrid vehicle and an EV work. A hybrid powertrain operates as the name implies, blending the power of a gas engine and an electric motor to propel the vehicle.
For example, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid has a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine. Its lithium-ion battery also powers a 44.2 kW electric motor to increase horsepower and improve efficiency. As you drive around Plano, the gas engine recharges the battery.
Plug-In Hybrid Technology
A plug-in hybrid vehicle takes the technology to the next level. As the name suggests, you plug in the battery to an external power source to recharge it. Typically, plug-in hybrid vehicles have a larger battery and electric motor. For example, the Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid has a 13.8 kWh battery and a 66.9 kW electric motor.
The plug-in hybrid powertrain allows you to drive in electric-only, gas and electric, or gas-only mode. You get more driving range in electric-only mode, better efficiency in dual mode, and increased horsepower and torque for improved performance. Unfortunately, the gas engine can’t completely recharge the larger battery as you drive, requiring you to plug it in to recharge it completely.
A plug-in hybrid can give you the security of knowing you can refuel at a gas station should the battery get depleted. This ability to fall back on the gas engine can make the plug-in hybrid attractive if you’re concerned about public charging accessibility.
The Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid can drive 30 miles using only electric power. Statistics show that the average American’s commute is 41 miles round-trip. So you could save up to 75% on fuel costs with an average commute. And if you have access to a charging station at work, you can recharge your vehicle during the day and never have to use the gas engine, saving you more money.
An EV doesn’t have a gas engine. Instead, it relies on a much larger battery and multiple electric motors to propel the car. For example, the 2023 Hyundai IONIQ 5 has two powertrain options. First, a rear-wheel-drive configuration uses a single 168 kW electric motor. Or, if you opt for an all-wheel-drive model, a 165 kW electric motor drives the rear wheels, and a 74 kW electric motor powers the front wheels.
A Hyundai EV has a regenerative braking system that captures the energy from braking and returns it to the battery, extending your driving range. But you’ll still need to recharge the battery for the maximum driving range.
Considering a vehicle’s driving range is important when shopping for an EV. Advancements in battery technology mean you can travel over 300 miles on a single charge with a vehicle like the Hyundai IONIQ 5. With that kind of driving range, you won’t have to be as concerned about where to recharge the battery, even on long road trips.
You must recharge a plug-in hybrid vehicle and an EV. You can use a standard 120-volt outlet and a Level 1 cord to charge a plug-in hybrid because it has a smaller battery. But a larger EV battery will take much longer to recharge at Level 1.
Most EV owners prefer to install a Level 2 charging station at home. A Level 2 charging station requires a qualified electrician to install a box with an outlet like what you see on a clothes dryer. Level 2 chargers operate at 240 volts, drastically reducing the charging time.
Over the last five years, the number of public charging stations has increased, making it easy to recharge your vehicle. Plano alone has hundreds of stations, and Dallas boasts over 1,100. And these public stations offer quick charging capability that your IONIQ 5 can tap into, adding up to 80% capacity in as little as 18 minutes. And now, Hyundai gives you two years of complimentary 30-minute charging sessions at any Electrify America station.
You don’t always have to pay at public charging stations. More businesses have installed free charging stations as a courtesy to customers and a benefit to employees. You can find free stations at your favorite restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, and grocery stores. Imagine having your Hyundai KONA Electric recharged for free while eating dinner or shopping.
Test-Drive a Hybrid or Electric Hyundai in Plano Today
At Huffines Hyundai Plano, we understand drivers want efficiency, performance, comfort, and technology from their cars. So we stock an expansive inventory of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles at competitive prices.
If you want to elevate your Plano commute with a fun-to-drive vehicle that saves you money at the pump, we invite you to shop our virtual inventory. Once you find a car you want to take a closer look at, stop by our dealership at 909 Coit Road for a test drive.