Category - Ev Chargers
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Paul Holdsworth, Engineer

29 Feb : Updated 15 Mar ● 7 min read

What is a hybrid car? Everything you need to know

The technology of cars is ever-evolving, and hybrid technology is becoming increasingly popular. Hybrid cars have emerged as a solution to the challenges we're all facing, such as climate change and our carbon footprints.

But what is a hybrid car? And how do they differ from conventional cars with petrol engines or diesel engines?

In this guide, we'll cut through the jargon and dive into the mechanics, benefits, and prices of hybrid cars so you know what a hybrid car is and can decide whether they’re right for you.

What is a hybrid car?

A hybrid car is a combination of two different types of vehicles: a petrol or diesel car and an electric car. The majority of hybrids have petrol engines (but some can be diesel), just like the cars most of us are used to, but they also have electric motors and big batteries.

Here's the best part: the cars can switch between the internal combustion engine and the electric motor or even use both simultaneously. This means a hybrid car uses less petrol or diesel, making it more fuel-efficient and better for the environment.

So, in simple terms, a hybrid car is a smart mix of fuel and electricity that saves you money on petrol while being kinder to the planet.

How do hybrid cars work?

As we mentioned above, hybrid vehicles have a combination of two power sources: a petrol engine and an electric motor.

The petrol engine works just like any regular car engine, and it kicks in when you need more power, like when you're accelerating on the motorway.

The electric motor, on the other hand, is powered by a battery and is great for slow driving or idling. It saves energy by turning off when the car is at a stop or travelling at low speeds.

Hybrid cars actually choose which power source to use and when. They can switch between them or even use both at the same time, all to make your car super fuel-efficient, meaning you use less petrol getting from A to B.

So, in short, a hybrid car knows when to use electricity and when to use fuel to save energy and reduce emissions.

How much are hybrid cars?

The price of a hybrid car can vary widely depending on its make, model, size, and features. On average, hybrid cars tend to be slightly more expensive than conventional petrol or diesel cars due to the added cost of the hybrid technology.

You can find smaller hybrid models starting at around £15,000 to £25,000. Larger and more advanced hybrid vehicles, especially SUVs and luxury models, can cost significantly more, ranging from £30,000 to well over £50,000 or even more for premium options.

According to the experts at car review site Carwow, the UK's favourite hybrid cars are:


Approximate price (new)

Honda Civic


Ford Kuga


Kia Niro Hybrid


Lexus NX Hybrid


Toyota Corolla


Lexus LC


Toyota Yaris


Renault Clio


Honda HR-V


Toyota RAV-4 Hybrid


Are hybrid cars cheaper than petrol cars?

Hybrid cars tend to be slightly more expensive upfront when compared to traditional petrol cars due to the added cost of hybrid technology. For example, a pure-petrol Clio TCe 90 starts at £17,795, whereas the full-hybrid Clio E-Tech will cost you at least £20,795.

However, they can be cheaper to operate in the long run due to their higher fuel efficiency and potentially lower maintenance costs.

The cost-effectiveness of a hybrid depends on factors such as your driving habits and fuel prices, so it's essential to consider both upfront and long-term expenses when making a decision.

Are hybrid cars cheaper than electric cars?

Yes, hybrid cars are generally cheaper upfront than electric cars. That's because hybrids have a smaller battery and can use petrol or diesel. For example, if you’re after a mid-size SUV, the hybrid Hyundai Tuscon can start at around £30,500, whereas the fully-electric Kia EV6 starts at around £43,000.

Electric cars tend to cost more because they rely solely on electricity, have bigger batteries, and have more advanced features such as adaptive cruise control, one-pedal driving, and remote starting. However, electric cars can be cheaper to run over time due to lower fuel and maintenance costs.

So, if you want something more affordable upfront, a hybrid may be a better choice, but electric cars can save you money on fuel in the long run if you can afford the higher initial price.

Do you have to pay car tax and congestion charges if you own a hybrid car?

All cars in the UK must be taxed, including hybrids and plug-in hybrids. However, the amount of road tax you’ll have to pay is calculated on the emissions your car produces and when it was registered. 

The older a car is and the higher the emissions, the more you have to pay. Hybrid cars have lower CO2 emissions, so they can save you money on road tax that way.

As for congestion charges, hybrid car drivers are now liable to pay the same flat fee as drivers of petrol or diesel-powered vehicles.

Are hybrid cars worth the investment?

Whether a hybrid car is worth the investment depends on your individual circumstances, priorities, and driving habits. Here are some factors to consider:

Fuel efficiency 

Hybrids are known for their superior fuel efficiency, which can help you save on fuel costs, especially if you do a lot of city or stop-and-go driving.

Environmental impact

Hybrids produce fewer emissions than traditional cars, making them a more eco-friendly option. RAC reports that hybrid cars use up to 30% less fuel per mile than conventional vehicles. 

Maintenance costs

Hybrids often have lower maintenance costs because they rely more on electric power, which puts less strain on the engine and brakes.

Resale value

Hybrids tend to have a better resale value compared to regular diesel and petrol cars due to their reputation for efficiency and environmental benefits.

Driving habits

Consider your typical driving patterns. A hybrid's electric mode may be advantageous if you primarily drive short distances or in traffic. However, if you frequently drive long distances, a hybrid might not have the same level of benefits for you.

Charging point availability

If you're considering plug-in hybrid cars, consider the availability of charging stations in your area.

Plug-in hybrids are very similar to hybrid cars, but unlike hybrids, which can be used like conventional cars, plug-in hybrids need regular charging. They’re designed to run solely off electricity until the battery power runs out, which is when the petrol engine takes over.

Alternatively, you can have an EV charger installed at home. ​Having an EV home charger is by far the most convenient way to charge your electric car. There’s no need to wait at a public charging point for hours or queue to use an electric car charger.


Evaluate your budget and compare the upfront cost of a hybrid with potential long-term savings in fuel and maintenance.

Hybrid cars make a lot of financial sense if you're a driver who wants to prioritise fuel efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint. However, the exact value of the investment depends on your specific needs and preferences.

The automotive services specialist, RAC, advises buyers to research and compare different models and whether they’re likely to retain their value and assess their driving habits to see whether a hybrid car is right for them.

Choose EV charger installation from BOXT

If you take the leap on a plug-in hybrid car or electric vehicle, you shouldn't have to drive around looking for an available public EV charging point any time your charge is running low. With a fast charger installed at home, you'll always be ready to go.

Here at BOXT, we provide top-of-the-range EV chargers with our professional installation included at no extra cost. Simply answer a few questions, and we'll recommend EV chargers so you can choose the most suitable one for you.

All of our home EV chargers come with a 3-year guarantee to give you total peace of mind.

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