Hybrid vs Electric Cars- How Are They Different?

Audi plug-in hybrid car lineup. Hybrid vs electric cars is an ongoing debate among those in favor of green mobility.
Audi MediaCenter

Want to get behind the wheel of a hybrid, PHEV, or EV, but don’t know where to start? We’re here to help! Find out the difference between a hybrid vs electric cars, as well as PHEVs, and decide which one is best for you.

There are many reasons why you should start driving an EV, PHEV, or a regular hybrid. These vehicles are not only better for the environment, but can also quickly prove to be more fuel efficient and convenient. Not to mention their outstanding performance!

Let’s get back to basics, however, and distinguish the key differences between a PHEV, EV, and a hybrid.

We’ve broken this guide down into the following sections to make navigation easier. Click one of the links below to quickly jump to each section.

Plug-in Hybrid, Hybrid, and Electric Cars- The Basics

Generally speaking, hybrids and electric cars can be broken down into three types: PHEV or plug-in hybrids, hybrids, and EVs or fully electric cars. The key difference between all three being the drivetrain itself.

Plug-in Hybrids or PHEVs

PHEVs, also known as plug-in hybrids, have gained lots of popularity in the last years. One could even argue that they provide the perfect balance between gas and electric drivetrains. A PHEV features a regular gas-powered motor combined with an electric battery pack. Most can be driven in electric mode, though the fully-electric range is typically under 100 kilometers (60 miles).

As the name suggests, you can plug an PHEV to charge it. The ability to charge at home is extremely convenient and cost-efficient, especially for short trips. Longer trips may require the use of the car’s gas powerplant.


The drivetrain that powers a hybrid is virtually the same as the one found in a PHEV. Hybrid cars rely on the car’s gas engine as well as an electric drivetrain. Regular hybrids, however, typically have an electric motor that’s much smaller than the ones found in plug-ins.

As a result, regular hybrids aren’t able to drive anywhere near as far using electricity. In fact, some hybrids cannot be driven in fully electric mode at all!

Another difference between regular hybrids and PHEVs is the charging. Ever wondered how a regular hybrid charges the electric powertrain, since it cannot be plugged into external charges? In reality, hybrids are charged through regenerative braking, as well as help from the internal combustion engine.

Electric Cars or EVs

Electric cars are powered purely by electricity. Unlike PHEVs and hybrids, EVs do not have an internal combustion engine at all.

One of the key perks of driving an electric car is the fact that you can charge it for free at home. Since an EV is only powered by its electric drivetrain, the batteries are larger than the ones found in PHEVs.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look into the key differences between these car types!

Impact On The Environment

Naturally, electric cars take the cake here. This is all because, unlike PHEVs and hybrids, electric cars do not have an internal combustion engine at all. As a result, they do not burn any fossil fuels. While both PHEVs and hybrids generate some pollution, the figures are a lot lower than regular gas-powered cars.

Let’s not forget that the transportation industry is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US (source). Swapping your gas-powered vehicle for an electric car can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint and positively impact the envrionment.

Did you know you can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint while traveling? Use the GoGreen filters when browsing rental cars at Rentalmoose. That way, you will be able to filter only EVs and plug-ins. In addition, we plant a tree for every booking made with our platform!

Cost Efficiency

Curious about hybrid vs electric cars when it comes to cost efficiency? It should come as no surprise that electric cars remain the most cost efficient to drive. After all, EV owners can charge their vehicles at home, or make the most of extensive charging networks worldwide. Many chargers are free to use, too.

Since plug-in hybrids can be charged at home just like EVs, they can be equally cost efficient. It all boils down to how much of the driving is done in the car’s fully electric mode. If the car remains in electric mode only, it can be just as inexpensive to drive as an EV. This is not possible with regular hybrids that require support from the gas motor at all times.

It’s also crucial to note that even if a plug-in hybrid is only driven in electric mode, it’s highly recommended to have some gas in the tank. Driving a PHEV with no fuel in the gas tank can cause irreversible damage to the vehicle!


Automakers have continuously been increasing the range of their electric vehicles for the past years. This is a much needed step to convince more buyers to go either fully electric or switch to a hybrid or a PHEV.

According to a report by InsideEVs, the median electric car range has surpassed 250 miles (400km) in 2020. In comparison, that same figure was at under 100 miles (160km) just 5 years earlier. It can safely be assumed that this number will only continue going up in the next years.

If you’re planning to go on a long road trip, a plug-in hybrid may be the best pick. Strictly when it comes to range, that is. That brings us to the next point.

Charging Time

This is unarguably one of the most controversial points about driving EVs and plug-in hybrids. The truth is that, even with the introduction of fast superchargers, it still takes at least half an hour to charge an EV. That’s why plug-ins are simply the most convenient, at least in terms of the charging time. After all, you can simply fill up the gas tank and be on your way in just a few minutes.

The reality is that having to stop for at least half an hour for every few hours of driving isn’t too convenient. Especially considering that a gas-powered car can be filled up in just a couple minutes. Charging your electric car using a regular wall socket can take well over half a day.

Audi Q5 charging. Hybrid vs electric cars- which is best and what are the differences? The charging time is one of the key benefits of a PHEV over an EV.
Audi MediaCenter

For this very reason, most owners of EVs and plug-in hybrids prefer top-up charging. Instead of waiting for the battery to run out completely, EV owners prefer to tup the car up at work or overnight. The same way you’d charge your phone- most of us plug it in at night no matter if the battery is completely empty or not. That way, you can make sure that your vehicle is always charged when you need it.

Plug-in hybrids tend to have a much shorter range than EVs. A 2021 Audi Q5 plug-in, for example, has a range of just 20 miles in fully electric mode. While this can be enough for the daily commute, it won’t cut it for longer trips.

Charging time is not applicable at all when it comes to regular hybrids, however. As we already mentioned, they are charged through regenerative braking and/or the car’s gas engine. No external charging needed here!


You have probably heard that electric cars are famous for their physcis-defying acceleration. The Tesla Model S Plaid is powered by a monstrous electric drivetrain rated at over 1 000 horsepower. As a result, it can accelerate to 60 miles per hour (a little under 100km/h) in less than 2 seconds, making it the quickest EV as well as the quickest production car ever. That’s nearly a second quicker than a Lamborghini Huracan EVO, too.

The reason why modern electric cars are absurdly quick is actually quite simple. Electric powerplants are able to generate a lot of power virtually instantly. This means that the driver can access all the car’s power as soon as they put the pedal to the metal. In comparison, an internal combustion engine does require some time to reach peak power.

In terms of performance, it really is a no-brainer. Electric cars are the clear winner, followed by PHEVs and then hybrids.

Hybrid vs Electric Cars- Which One Is Best

It really depends. As you can see, there’s a variety of different factors that you need to consider before deciding whether to use an EV, PHEV, or hybrid. While a PHEV may be tempting for the daily commute, the 250mile+ median range of an EV can be the better pick for a long trip.

The choice between hybrid vs electric cars boils down to personal preference, as well as how much you value of the factors mentioned above.

Don’t forget to book your next EV/PHEV/Hybrid via Rentalmoose. Check out our platform to browse rental cars at over 15 000 locations worldwide. You can also tick the GoGreen checkbox to filter only electric and plug-in hybrids. Reduce your carbon footprint when traveling by car with Rentalmoose.

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform!

How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Car?

Blonde woman charging Jaguar electric car with a level 2 charging point- which is one of the quickest ways to charge an electric car.

Different types of electric car charging points nad kW ratings may seem a little overwhelming at first. Naturally, you’ll want to know how long it takes to charge an electric car before hopping behind the wheel of one.

No matter whether you’ve never driven an electric car before, or simply wonder what the different ways of charging an electric car are, this quick guide is for you!

For maximum convenience, this blog post is broken down into 5 different sections. Click the links below to quickly jump between relevant parts of the article.

How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric Car

To be completely honest, it depends on a few different factors. Charging an electric car can take as little as 20 minutes, or as long as an entire day in worst cases. What causes these figures to be so far apart? Continue reading to find out.

What Affects The Charging Speed of An EV

The time it takes to charge an EV all boils down to just 5 different factors:

  1. Battery Size- a larger battery pack will take more time to charge than a small one.
  2. Charge Level- naturally, the less charge your battery has the longer it will take to fill up
  3. Maximum Charging Speed Of The Car- some electric cars will charge faster than others. Most EVs are able to utilize rapid charging points, unlike plug-in hybrids. Make sure that the maximum speed of the charger is either equal or larger than the rate of the eletric car.
  4. Maximum Charging Speed Of The Charger- this is just as important as the maximum charging speed of your EV. For example, a Tesla Model 3 can gain up to 330 miles (530km) of range in just 30 minutes of charging. However, that can only happen when the car is plugged into a 150kW rapid charger. A slower charger will restrict the maximum charging speed, even if the car itself is capable of charging at a faster rate.
  5. Outside temperature- you probably noticed that your phone’s battery does not perform well in the cold. The same goes for electric cars and their batteries. The range of an EV will be reduced in cold weather, and the charging time may be extended too.

Can You Charge An Electric Car At Home?

Yes! One of the great things about driving an electric car is that you can charge it right at home. Virtually all EVs come with adapters that let owners charge them from regular outlets.

Note that using your regular power plug is the least efficient way to charge your electric car. An EV may gain just a couple of miles of range per every hour of charging this way. In practice, this means that fully recharging the battery pack may take over a day, depending on the battery capacity. Nonetheless, it’s still a great way of top up charging an EV. What does that mean exactly?

Top Up Charging Explained

As the name suggests, top up charging is all about topping up the battery whenever possible. It proved to be more convenient for owners of electric cars, as opposed to only charging the car after letting the battery run out.

For example, an EV owner will often charge their car at the garage overnight or at their workplace, regardless whether the battery is empty or not. Continuously topping up the battery, as opposed to only charging it after it runs out all the way, is top up charging. Slower charging points are ideal for this.

Different Types Of Electric Car Chargers

As we have already mentioned, there are a few different types of electric car charging points. We can sort them by their maximum charging speed. Let’s start with the slowest one, which is a regular power plug.

Charging At Home- Level 1 Charging (The Slowest Option)

Range- roughly 5 miles (8km) / hour

Charging at home using a conventional socket is great for top up charging, or whenever you want to gain a bit of range over the course of a few hours. Afterall, it’s quite convenient to increase the range of your electric car if it’s going to be parked in one spot either way. It is, however, the slowest way to increase the range of an EV.

If the battery on your EV is completely drained though, you may want to reconsider charging the car using a standard plug at home. It can take well over a day to fully recharge, especially if the battery has a high capacity.

Luckily, there is a way more efficient solution for charging your EV at home!

Charging At Home & Public Stations-Level 2 Charging

Range- up to 40 miles (65km) / hour

Charging at home using a dedicated wallbox is a lot more convenient than a regular plug. You can expect to gain up to 40 miles, or 65 kilometers, of range per hour. An EV left to charge overnight is guaranteed to be topped up in the morning.

Many public charging stations utilize this type of connection, rated at between 6 and 20 kW.

The only downside is that a wallbox has got to be professionally installed at your home. If you’re on the go in a rental electric car, you can always double-check whether the hotel you’re staying at offers a level 2 charging point.

Fun fact: Tesla offers one of the most efficient charge-at-home wallboxes on the market. A 22kW home charger that comes with the Model 3 is able to add as much as 40 miles (65km) of range per hour!

Rapid Charging- Level 3

Range- fully charged in around an hour

Level 3 charging points are as close as EVs can get to gas-powered cars in terms of the filling-up time. A drained electric car battery should take no longer than an hour to become fully recharged. Level 3 charging stations are rated at anywhere between 50kW and 350kW. Naturally, the latter will charge even quicker.

If you drive one of the latest Tesla cars, however, there is an alternative that’s even quicker.

Tesla Superchargers (Also Level 3)

Range- fully charged in 40 minutes

Tesla Superchargers are undoubtedly the quickest way to fill up an electric car so far. It takes just 40 minutes to go from a drained battery to a full one. Most Superchargers deployed today are rated at between 150kW and 350kW, though even more powerful ones are expected to roll out in the near future.

Can non-Tesla electric cars use Superchargers?

Yes! Tesla recently made Superchargers available to other makes and models. That’s right, the network of 30 000+ Superchargers worldwide can be accessed by EVs of all kinds, and not just Tesla products.

Check the official website for more details. All you need to do to access a Supercharger in a non-Tesla EV is download the Tesla app.

BONUS- Rent An Electric Car

Curious to see what it’s like to drive an electric car? Look no further!

Go to Rentalmoose and browse rental cars in over 15 000 locations worldwide. Select the GoGreen filters to see EVs and plug-in hybrids in your desired location.

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

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