The Hybrid life: How often do I need to charge a Hybrid or Electric car
Hybrid and electric cars offer exceptional benefits in the form of reduced CO2 emissions, lower fuel costs and savings in other running costs. But a common concern for drivers is how and when these cars need charging or – in the case of a hybrid model with a fuel tank – filling up.
The good news is that several hybrid and electric models have a range comparable to that of cars with traditional engines. Improvements in the technology behind them mean that range capacities are constantly increasing – but of course it’s important with any car to know how it’s refuelled, no matter how often this is needed.
If you’re considering buying an electric car, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of how frequently it may need refuelling, alongside how and where this is done. This varies across different types of hybrids and electrics.
Hybrid and electric car batteries
Hybrids have electric batteries and traditional internal combustion engines, which work alongside each other in a number of ways (learn more about how here). Electric cars have only a battery, meaning they only ever use electricity and are always zero-emissions.
The bigger the battery, the longer a car will take to charge – but the more electric power it stores and therefore the further it can drive on electricity alone.
Do hybrid cars need to be charged?
All hybrids and electric cars contain a battery that requires charging. However, some types of hybrid car use their internal combustion engine to generate electricity that refuels the battery, while other hybrid models can connect to an external power source to charge up.
Both hybrids and electrics may also employ regenerative braking to help recharge the battery – harnessing the energy lost during braking to store it in the battery. This helps deliver that energy-efficient performance the cars are known for.
Mild hybrids (mHEVs) like the Ford Puma have a small electric battery that assists driving but never powers it completely, relying mainly on the internal combustion engine. They therefore have a comparable range to cars with conventional engines. They recharge the battery internally and only need their fuel tank filling up to refuel.
Standard hybrids (HEVs) have the smallest electric batteries of all vehicles capable of driving on electricity alone; this means they have the shortest electric-only range (up to two miles). This benefits driving in cities and in slow traffic, where the electric motor can power stop-start driving and low speeds as the car pulls away. A smaller battery means that standard hybrids don’t need to be manually charged from an external power source – the internal combustion engine charges the battery once the petrol engine takes over to power the car’s forward motion.
The range capacity of a hybrid depends on the size of its fuel tank and its average miles per gallon, just like any car with a traditional engine. For example, have a 53L fuel tank alongside their electric battery, with a range of 1-2 miles powered by electricity alone but a total range of around 765 miles before the tank runs empty.*
Plug-in hybrids can drive local distances on purely electric power, and are capable of charging both while on the move and through a connection to an external power source. The has an electric range of 35 miles, with a 45L fuel tank for driving further distances. Battery charging (from 0-100%) takes approximately 3.5 hours through a Wallbox, or six hours through a standard domestic socket**.
How to charge hybrid and electric cars
Most owners find it easiest to charge their car at home, plugging in overnight like a mobile phone so they start the day with full power. Charging with a Wallbox is quick and effective, but Ford models can also be connected to standard domestic plugs.
Public charging points for hybrid and electric cars exist in accessible locations around cities and at motorway service stations. There are more than 18,000 public charging points in the UK – though you’ll need to register your car with some service providers – and the FordPass app provides a convenient way to quickly check the state of your battery. Map your drive with Ford’s to identify convenient charging points along the way.
Discover TrustFord’s range of new hybrid and electric models, or search online for a used car near you.