Hybrid Cars - Main Advantages and Considerations

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Hybrid Cars - Main Advantages and Considerations

Main advantages and disadvantages of Hybrid vehicles

What are hybrid cars and what are the advantages and disadvantages? Find out about these cars need in our useful guide.

A hybrid car uses more than one means of propulsion, combining a petrol or diesel engine with a battery-powered electric motor.

One of the main advantages of owning a hybrid car is that it consumes less fuel and emits less CO2 than an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) petrol or diesel-engined car. 

Driving a hybrid car is almost exactly the same as driving a regular car, so there is not much compromising on performance, even though part of the driving is electric.

Most hybrids can be driven in different power modes, ranging from eco to power, which can enable the driver in choosing maximum efficiency or performance depending on the driving conditions.

A self-charging hybrid will also have less range-anxiety connected with it compared to fully-electric cars as you are not forced to go to a charging point because they can charge up their own batteries.

Although the tax benefits of hybrid ownership are not as big as they used to be, you will still pay less Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) tax compared to petrol or diesel car drivers. 

There are four main Hybrid configurations:

  • Full-Hybrid (Self-Charging)

  • Mild-Hybrid

  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

  • Range-Extendable (REX) Hybrid

Hybrid car owners also get other benefits as seen below:

Main Advantages of Hybrid Vehicles

  • Consumes up to 30% less fuel with up to 60% of EV mode being used

  • SEAI Electric Vehicle Grant Scheme up to €5,000 for BEV’s or PHEV’s

  • VRT Relief up to €5,000 for Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

  • VRT Relief up to €2,500 for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

  • Maximum Combined Subsidy (Grant + VRT relief) of €10,000 for BEV’s

  • Maximum Combined Subsidy (Grant + VRT relief) of €7,500 for PHEV’s

  • Lowest Motor Tax rate at €120 per annum

  • Company vehicles 0% per cent BIK (extended to 2022)

  • Toll savings of up to €500 per year

  • SEAI Home Charging Point Installation Grant (New and Used Electric Vehicles) €600

  • Self Charging (None Plugin Hybrids)

  • Significantly Greener, emitting less CO2

  • Hybrids are quiet and cause less noise pollution

  • Hybrids have an advantage of less wear on the engine which is not always used

  • Higher re-sale value

  • Stepping-stone to full-electric

  • Cheaper than all-electric

  • Less expensive charging solutions 

  • You will not get stranded if you don’t find a charging station

Main Disadvantages of Hybrid Vehicles

  • Comparatively expensive

  • Future ban on diesel & petrol engines by 2040

  • As of October 23, 2019, the Government has ended the €3,800 grant for businesses purchasing electric cars or plug-in hybrids (BIK seen as an adequate incentive to growth in this sector)

  • The €3,800 grant will continue for companies purchasing electric vans

  • Less power. (Smaller engines. Combined power often less than ICE equivalent)

  • Poorer Handling. (Lighter engine. More weight. Less space with battery pack installed)

  • Higher maintenance. (Technologies can make it difficult for mechanics)

  • Presence of High-Voltage, Inflammable Batteries. 

Which Hybrid Configuration Should You Choose?

A hybrid car is a partially-electric vehicle that has a traditional combustion engine which means it has two or more means of propulsion. Generally, it is a combination of a petrol engine with a complimentary electric motor.

The majority of hybrids are automatics and will usually have a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) gearbox, which is designed to maximise economy and deliver torque or pulling power when you need to accelerate fast.

Most Full Hybrids are Self-Charging without any intervention from the driver. These vehicles use Regenerative Braking. In this configuration, the energy wasted during braking and through coasting can be captured, recycled and utilised through kinetic-energy to charge the battery, which powers the motor and driving the wheels.

Hybrid Configurations

Full-Hybrid (Self-Charging)

  • Fully drives wheels under its own electric power

  • Fully drives wheels under its own ICE power

  • Drives wheels in a seamless combination of both ICE and EV

  • More powerful and bigger battery capacity

  • Engine power recharges the electric battery

  • Braking power recharges the battery through kinetic energy transfer


  • Cannot drive under electric power alone

  • Electric Powertrain only as assistance to ICE drive acceleration

  • Braking kinetically recharges the electric generator

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

  • Fully drives wheels under its own electric power

  • Must be plugged-in to charge EV battery

  • Does not self-charge

  • Smaller battery power and capacity than BEV’s

  • ICE only engaged when the battery is low or depleted

Range-Extendable (REX) Hybrid

  • Electric motor always drives the wheels

  • ICE only ever used as a generator to charge EV battery (BMW i3 REX, Chevrolet Volt, Vauxhall Ampera)

  • ICE is only a subsidiary to the electric power-train

  • Sometimes called Series-Hybrid

Diesel-Hybrid Van option

The diesel-hybrid melds hybrid technology with the economic advantages of diesel. If diesel fuel is more economical than a petrol engine car, there can be cost-benefits on fuel with a diesel-hybrid.

The Diesel-Hybrid van offers the benefits of a regular diesel van with the added advantage of fewer NOx and PM emissions making them a far cleaner option.

  • Greater life span

  • Efficient fuel economy

  • Lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) 

  • Greater low-end torque which is much better for towing

  • Cheaper than all-electric

  • Less expensive charging solutions 

  • You will not get stranded if you don’t find a charging station

  • The diesel engine can charge the battery before entering future LEZ’s (Low Emission Zones)


The Diesel-electric combo can have an advantage for those who mainly drive long interurban distances and regularly find themselves driving into urban traffic. 

This is where a company can see the advantage of the Diesel-Hybrid Light Commercial Vehicle option. 

A diesel-hybrid could be relatively expensive. On average a diesel engine costs about 15 per cent more to manufacture than a petrol engine with the same output.


Because petrol engine cars can be more efficiently tuned than a diesel engine, they can give a more maximum power output when combined with the battery-electric technology. The only drawback is very low torque at low speeds.

  • Petrol engines produce torque at a higher speed than diesel

  • Diesel engines produce torque at a lower speed than petrol

  • Hybrid power through battery-electric produces high-torque at 0 rpm

  • Petrol engines convert 25 to 30 per cent of fuels energy into forward-motion

  • Diesel engines convert 30 to 35 per cent of fuels energy into forward-motion

The highly efficient tuning that occurs with a Hybrid-Petrol far outclasses that of a Hybrid-Diesel. 

Why you should choose Petrol-Hybrid over Diesel-Hybrid?

  • Most hybrids are based on petrol engines, especially the ones manufactured by the market leaders like Toyota and Ford

  • International move away from diesel fuel

Future Value

Hybrid vehicles, in general, are presently exhibiting a lower depreciation rate when compared to the equivalent petrol or diesel vehicles.

The international move away from diesel will have a major effect on residual values and it is expected that Hybrid-Petrol vehicles will have a higher residual value that their Hybrid-Diesel.


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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