Can hybrid cars run on electricity only?

Nearly all hybrids these days can run in specific electric modes which technically means that they can drive on electricity alone, but most of them are unable to drive without the combustion engine intervening. This means that you ought to have a working combustion engine even when not in use.

Some modern-day hybrids with large high voltage batteries can run up to 150 miles in EV mode, but they have to have a working combustion engine in the background. However, if such hybrids don’t have a working combustion engine, you will not be able to drive them at all.

Be that as it may, some hybrids like the Chevy Volt or the Toyota Prius can actually drive without an operational combustion engine, but this is not recommended because it can cause severe harm to the hybrid powertrain.

Most hybrids these days can do a few dozen miles in electric mode only, but the combustion engine should intervene whenever the car needs more pulling power. This is because the combustion engine and the electric engine depend on each other in order to achieve improved efficiency ratings.

Hybrid cars electric mode

The BMW i3 REx is a German hybrid hatchback that can run up to 130-ish miles in electric mode only. This means that the 42.2 kWh battery offered in the i3 is actually closer to a full-blown EV than it is to a regular combustion engine car.

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However, the i3 is one of only a few hybrids that can offer such an impressive electric range, most of them fall into the 10-50 mile electric range category. To be exact, hybrids aren’t even designed to run in EV mode exclusively, they are developed to use both the electric engine and the combustion engine to achieve impressive efficiency.

The hybrid car electric mode can solely be used in stop-and-go traffic, and it’s more or less useless for highway driving where a combustion engine is still far superior. The Toyota RAV4 is one of the most famous hybrid SUVs on the planet, and Toyota reckons you can drive the RAV4 at lower speeds for up to 42 miles.

Another read for you: Can a Hybrid run without a battery?

Driving a hybrid without gasoline

As stated previously, most hybrids are unable to run without gasoline because they are built in a way in which the combustion engine and the electric engine work together. They are built to fill each other’s gaps and to always be readily available to pitch in.

However, some cars like the Toyota Prius are built on an entirely different platform named the ‘’Parallel Hybrid System’’. The parallel system means that the combustion engine and the electric engine are not so closely intertwined which enables them to work without each other.

Although you can drive a Prius with no gasoline in the tank, this should only be used if completely necessary. This means that you should only drive the car if you need to find a safe spot to pull over, or to reach a service shop.

Electric cars vs hybrid cars

It’s safe to say that hybrids are indeed impressive, but if you want to drive your hybrid in electric mode only, then you should just buy an electric car. Even though hybrids and EVs are closely matched, there are a few instances where they differ substantially, and this could prove crucial when shopping for a new daily driver.

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An electric car does not need a combustion engine because the whole point of an EV is to run without one. This means that an EV is going to be the most environmentally friendly of the bunch, and if you want to take care of our beloved planet, you should opt for an EV.

However, if you are unable to charge your car every single day, a hybrid is a better option. Besides being more convenient, hybrids are the turning stone towards complete electrification. This means that if you are not 100% sold on electric vehicles, you should maybe start off with just an EV.

An EV future is inevitable, but now is not yet the time to transition completely, and as such, a hybrid might be a better idea. It is worth mentioning though, that an EV is a far more interesting option as the vast majority of hybrid cars out there are fairly boring and rather slow.

FAQ Section

What are the benefits of a hybrid car?

Hybrids are designed to save you money in the long run if you can fully utilize the hybrid powertrain. They are far less polluting when compared to combustion cars and they are usually smoother and quieter. Furthermore, hybrids tend to be safer because they offer advanced safety technologies and additional weight.

Besides being unbothered by ‘’range anxiety’’ hybrids might as well be the best powertrain option to buy right now. EVs are not there yet, and it seems like they will not be there any time soon, especially if you live in a country that does not yet offer an advanced charging infrastructure.

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 What are the drawbacks of a hybrid car?

Hybrids tend to be up to 20% more expensive when compared to regular combustion cars. Besides being more expensive to buy, they are potentially also more expensive to maintain and repair. Moreover, they also cost more money to insure because they offer additional components which are delicate in design.

Buying a hybrid means that you want to save some money on fuel while not polluting as much as a conventional car would. However, hybrids are only good at urban stop-and-go traffic, and to be frank, you don’t even need a car in large metropolitan areas anyway.

Should I buy a hybrid car in 2021?

It depends on you being able to use it for what it’s for. If you truly do intend to charge it whenever necessary and you also tend to spend the majority of your daily driving duties in the city, you should buy a hybrid car because it is likely going to save you money in the long run.

On the other hand, if you are unable to use a hybrid for what it’s made for, then don’t bother and just wait until you are able to use it as such. It is highly likely that in a decade or two, all of us are going to be using hybrids and EVs anyway.

Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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