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The automotive industry is steering towards a greener future, and car manufacturers worldwide are expanding their range of electric vehicles. So, if you’re contemplating changing your car, it could be time to switch to an eco-friendly electric option.


If you’ve never driven an electric car before, entering the market for the first time can be daunting. With so many choices available and all the technical jargon, it’s easy for newbies to be left feeling slightly baffled.


To pick the right electric vehicle for you, you first need to get to grips with all the available types, how they work, and their pros and cons. Once you’ve got that figured out, you can decide which one fits your family’s needs and your lifestyle best.


In the world of electric cars, there are two main types: electric and hybrid. Fully electric cars are pretty self-explanatory: they’re powered by electricity rather than petrol and emit zero emissions. However, the hybrid variant might need a bit more explanation. So, if you’re wondering what exactly a hybrid car is and how it works, we’re here to answer all your questions!


In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about self-charging hybrids and how they work – helping you to determine if a hybrid car is right for you.


What is a self-charging hybrid car?

Hybrid cars are popular with people new to the electric vehicle market. A hybrid vehicle may be a good stepping stone if you’ve never driven an electric car before and have reservations about range or charging. They offer some of the same benefits as an electric vehicle without the hassle of having to charge them.


As the name suggests, hybrid cars can run on both fuel and electricity. They contain both a traditional combustion engine and an electric motor. There are a few different types of hybrid cars: the plug-in hybrid, the self-charging hybrid, and the mild hybrid.


A plug-in hybrid can be plugged in at an electric car charging point, whereas a self-charging hybrid cannot. Instead, it generates its own electricity. A mild hybrid is a type of self-charging hybrid, but it cannot run on electricity alone. Instead, it uses the electric power it generates to assist the combustion engine and increase fuel efficiency.


How do self-charging hybrids work?

Self-charging hybrids generally run on electric power at low speeds and in start-stop traffic, and then when the electric power has been drained, they seamlessly switch to the fuel-powered engine. This means there is no need to worry about the car’s electric range or stopping at charging points on long journeys.


So, if you can’t plug a self-charging hybrid in – where does it get its electricity from? This is where things get really clever. Self-charging hybrids use something called a regenerative braking system to capture the energy generated through braking and coasting that would otherwise be lost and store it in the car’s battery. They can then be powered by electric power alone, fuel power alone, or a blend of the two working together.


Combining a combustion engine with electric power enables self-charging hybrids to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions significantly.


How far can a self-charging hybrid drive?

A key concern that many drivers have about switching from a traditional fuel-powered engine to an electric vehicle is that the car won’t be able to travel far before it needs to be charged. Because self-charging hybrids cannot be plugged in and switch seamlessly between the battery and the engine, the total driving range of hybrid cars is usually comparable to a traditional fuel-powered vehicle.


However, it’s important to note that self-charging hybrids can only travel very short distances on electric power alone as they are equipped with relatively small batteries primarily designed to assist the petrol or diesel engine. Usually, they can only travel about 20-30 miles on electric power alone, after which time the fuel engine kicks in.


The exact driving range of self-charging hybrids varies from one car to the next, depending on the size of the fuel tank, the size of the battery, and the car’s fuel efficiency. However, it’s safe to say that most modern self-charging hybrids can go for hundreds of miles before they need to stop and refuel.


How reliable are self-charging hybrid cars?

Self-charging hybrids are modern cars benefiting from state-of-the-art technology and are renowned for their reliability. Because they have both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine, the engine suffers less wear and tear as it is used more lightly, potentially extending the vehicle’s lifespan.


What are the pros and cons of self-charging hybrids?

With the ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ on the horizon, now is a great time to switch to an electric vehicle. The question is – what type? Is a self-charging hybrid the right option for you? Let’s weigh up the pros and cons carefully to help you decide.


Self-charging hybrid pros


  • Reduce emissions – By using electric power for parts of the journey, self-charging hybrids emit fewer emissions than a traditional petrol or diesel car, making them more environmentally friendly.
  • Increase fuel efficiency – By recovering energy through regenerative braking and alternating between using this recovered electric power and the fuel-powered engine, self-charging hybrids can increase fuel efficiency.
  • No charging required – Self-charging hybrids get all their electric power from their regenerative braking system, so no charging points or infrastructure is required!
  • Reliability – When you combine an electric motor with a petrol or diesel engine, there is less wear and tear to the engine, which can result in lower maintenance costs and higher reliability.


Self-charging hybrid cons


  • Limited electric-only range – Self-charging hybrids have small electric batteries compared to fully electric cars or plug-in hybrids, meaning they can only drive small distances on electric-only power.
  • Higher initial cost – All-electric vehicles, including self-charging hybrids, tend to cost more than their fuel-powered counterparts. However, they often make up for this initial outlay in the long term with fuel savings and tax incentives.
  • They still produce emissions – Although self-charging hybrids produce fewer emissions than petrol or diesel cars, they still produce emissions. So, while they’re a step in the right direction, they’re not as environmentally friendly as a fully electric car.
  • Weight and space – Self-charging hybrids need to house a battery, an electric motor, and an engine. This can add extra weight to the car and take up space that could have otherwise been used for passengers or cargo.


The best self-charging hybrid cars

Now we’ve answered the question, how do self-charging hybrids work? Let’s look at some of the most popular makes and models of self-charging hybrids available in 2024.


LetsTalk Leasing offers car leasing deals on today’s most popular and high-performance self-charging hybrids. When you choose to lease rather than buy, you enjoy all the benefits of driving a hybrid without the cost of buying one. Instead, you pay one affordable fixed monthly cost to lease the car. It also eliminates the burden of depreciation.


Let’s look at some of the best self-charging hybrid cars available to lease from LetsTalk Leasing.


Suzuki Swift Hatchback

The Suzuki Swift self-charging hybrid is a compact but stylish hatchback with a lightweight Dualjet engine that delivers excellent fuel economy.


Available to lease from LetsTalk Leasing from £178.46 (exc. VAT) per month.


Kia Sorento SUV

The 7-seater self-charging Kia Sorento is a spacious and practical all-rounder with a huge boot, making it an ideal family car.


Available to lease from LetsTalk Leasing from £507.43 (exc. VAT) per month.


Honda Civic Hatchback

Packed with the latest tech, the elegant Honda Civic hybrid was named “outstanding in almost every area” and pronounced Car magazine’s best self-charging hybrid.


Available to lease from LetsTalk Leasing from £398.62 (exc. VAT) per month.


Renault Clio Hatchback

The Renault Clio e-tech hybrid is a smart supermini with excellent handling, remarkable fuel efficiency, and a plush interior.


Available to lease from LetsTalk Leasing from £238.59 (exc. VAT) per month.


Ford S-Max Estate

The Ford S-Max hybrid is a powerful but practical family car with a spacious, comfortable interior that can seat up to seven people.


Available to lease from LetsTalk Leasing from £478.28 (exc. VAT) per month.


At Let’s Talk Leasing, we aim to make car leasing as simple as possible. We are transparent with our fees and provide a clear, intuitive, and hassle-free process. Browse our range of hybrid car lease deals online.


Contact us today by calling 0330 056 3331 to learn more about any of the deals on our website or for help choosing a self-charging hybrid that suits your needs.


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