What is the difference between a self-charging hybrid and a plug-in hybrid?
Plug-in hybrid cars use a mix of traditional fuel and an electric battery. Their main source of power is the fuel, however by using the battery to assist with aspects of driving they significantly reduce the amount of fuel you use. This can save you money at the petrol station while also lowering your car’s carbon emissions.
To charge a plug-in hybrid car, you’ll either use a slower charging cable that plugs into a domestic socket, a specific charging station fitted at your home, or one of many that are appearing across the country. Typically they can only travel around 30 miles on electricity alone, although fuel will be doing the bulk of the work.
They’re more economical than a fuel-only car, especially if you regularly plug them in.
Self-charging electric cars, however, can’t be plugged in. They charge themselves up as you’re driving, using the power generated by traditional fuel to fill up your electricity levels. This electricity is then used to help with things like breaking, indicating and accelerating, adding to your car’s efficiency.
However, due to the small battery size of a self-charging car, they can only travel around a mile on electricity alone, and are much less economical than their plug-in alternatives.
Are self-charging cars any good?
That really depends on what you use your car for, and how forgetful you are. In the electric and hybrid car family, self-charging cars are the least fuel efficient and offer the lowest electric driving distance. They also produce more carbon than their alternatives, meaning you’ll end up in a higher tax bracket.
However, they are good for a number of reasons.
If you aren’t eligible for an electric charging point at your home, self-charging cars could be a good compromise as they still lower your carbon footprint. Electric wall chargers usually require a drive or garage, as you can’t trail their charging cables over any public footpath or road.
If you don’t have off-road parking, a self-charging electric car could be your best bet.
They’re also good for acceleration, as that’s when the battery is its most effective. Expect to go faster from a standing start, while also benefiting from reduced braking times and tighter steering.
Finally, you don’t need to remember to charge them up. You can go home and park up, safe in the knowledge that they’ll be good to go the next morning.