Electric vehicles have been on the market for more than 25 years- around the same time the internet began to be used in homes, if you’re looking for a frame of reference. Today, with climate change as the defining issue of our time, the popularity of electric vehicle sales has surged, as electric vehicles emit fewer greenhouse gases and air pollutants than gas-fueled vehicles. In the last year alone, sales of hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or fully electric cars have doubled to a new record of 6.6 million. Despite this popularity, many don’t know enough about these vehicles, key differences in vehicle types, and the technology behind them. We’re breaking down some essential facts and stats below to help guide your next vehicle purchase.

PHEV vs Electric

Depending on vehicle type and how far you drive, most electric vehicles can be charged by being plugged in at home. Fully electric vehicles are very efficient and offer the farthest range on a single charge. This is why they typically tend to be the most expensive type of electrified vehicle and need a significant amount of time to charge if you aren’t using a fast charger. PHEV’s offer a greater range than a mild-hybid thanks to a larger battery and electric motor. PHEVs also offer zero-emission driving in pure-electric mode. Volvo’s Recharge line-up of electrified vehicles, which includes any of their vehicles that have a plug, were designed in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint and become carbon neutral by 2040.

For fully electric vehicles, the range in miles varies considerably depending on model and driving style, which is the main reason many are reluctant to make the leap. PHEVs are generally considered to be more popular for that reason. Volvo Recharge vehicles provide up to 60 km range when driven in pure electric mode on a single full charge.

The decision between PHEV and fully electric vehicles often comes down to your lifestyle and how you intend to use your vehicle: for short distances in the city and for cost efficiency, electric vehicles seem like the right choice. However, for those who want to maximize fuel efficiency and who take the occasional trip out of the city or commute regularly, PHEV might be the right choice.

What You Need To Know About PHEV

Simply put, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is a battery pack car that can be recharged internally AND externally. An internal combustion engine and an electric motor powers the car, using energy stored in batteries. Once the battery is eliminated, these vehicles switch to gasoline to power them. PHEV’s can charge using any household 120-volt outlet for power, which eliminates another concern for potential purchasers about having to install a fast charger in their home. Volvo Recharge vehicles can charge batteries from 10% up to 80% in about 40 minutes.

PHEV’s are the bridge between traditional mild-hybrids and fully electric cars. Regenerative braking can extend the battery range, and the gas power and electric motor switch back and forth as needed. This provides good fuel economy after the electric range is depleted. For many concerned about making the move to an electrified vehicle, charging anxiety or range limitations are among the big worries. With PHEV, those concerns are eliminated.

What is regenerative braking?

Both mild-hybrids and PHEV cars use regeneration to recharge the battery: rather than braking by friction, brakes are used to run a generator to recharge the battery in the vehicle. For that reason, start-stop driving, typical of city driving, is better for PHEVs.

Do PHEV use gas?

Yes. Batteries are the main energy source, however, when the battery is empty, gasoline is your backup plan so you can “go electric” without having to worry about charging along the way.

What choice is right for you?

The choices in the electrified vehicle market have never been as extensive as they are now. We recently spent some time driving the Volvo XC60 Recharge plug-in hybrid. The mid-sized luxury crossover is perfect for city living. Tastefully styled exterior and a clean minimal, yet functional and spaciously modern interior. Coming equipped with Google Maps, Google Assistant and Google Play built-in, the XC60 Recharge also supports Apple CarPlay, and features a handy little charging pad in the middle console. With 15 Bowers & Wilkins high-fidelity speakers spread through the cabin along with an innovative fresh-air subwoofer that delivers an impressive surround-sound experience that you can feel. Driving never sounded so good.

The XC60 Recharge also goes the distance, as a plug-in hybrid you have the ability to be charged at a public charging station or easily at home via 110- or 220-volt outlets and also charges the battery with energy generated from the SUV’s gasoline engine when needed. This gives you a lot more flexibility to charge when it’s convenient for you and extended range, especially for the stop-and-go nature of city driving. That tank of gas will last for what feels like an eternity which also makes it great for longer distance road trips too, and what makes a PHEV truly the most valuable car on the road.

For more information on the Volvo XC60 Recharge, head to Volvo.ca now!