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Plug-In Hybrids

A plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) operates using a petrol engine or battery powered electric motor to drive the wheels. It can operate in pure electric mode like a battery electric van, however due to a smaller battery the mileage available in electric mode is much less. Once the battery has depleted, the petrol engine starts and the vehicle operates in a similar way to a normal hybrid vehicle. Plug-in hybrid vans are classed as ultra-low emission vehicles.

Fit for Purpose

  • A plug-in hybrid van offers the same functionality as a conventional van as it can operate on petrol when the battery depletes.
  • Maximizing the electric-only mileage is key to reducing costs and maximising the environmental benefits.
  • Payload is normally reduced due to the additional weight of the batteries and electric motors, but load space is unaffected.
  • Fleets would normally return back to base to recharge. The growing number of fast and rapid public charging stations also allow top-up charging during the day - links to charging station maps are provided in the 'What to do next?' section at the end of the Low Emission Van Guide (available to download on the right of the page).

Ideal operation

  • City, suburbs and occasional motorway. Back to base to facilitate high electric mode utilisation.
  • Has a typical range of around 30 miles in pure electric mode, plus a standard size petrol tank.
  • Electric battery has a standard recharge time of 5 hours using a standard charger; using a rapid charge point will restore 80% of the battery in 30 minutes.

Environmental performance

  • The PHEV is a zero emission vehicle when operating in electric mode.
  • The reduction in fuel and engine use means the PHEVs are good for air quality.

Compared to diesel:

  • Tailpipe CO2: 100% saving when operating in electric mode.
  • Fuel Life Cycle CO2: 35% operating in electric mode.
  • Very good for air quality.
  • Low noise.