Hybrid vs. Plug-in Hybrid: What’s the Difference?

2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Driving Off-Road


If you’re interested in giving your daily Bloomington, Morton, Peoria commute an eco-friendly upgrade, you might be considering a hybrid car. These were once expensive, hard-to-find vehicles, but these days just about every automotive brand offers a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or electric option. Although hybrid and plug-in hybrid sound similar–and they do have a lot of similarities–they aren’t exactly the same. It’s important to know the distinctions before you commit to one or the other. 

So what’s the difference between hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles? We’ll go into more details below, but the major distinction boils down to the name–standard hybrid vehicles have smaller batteries that recharge themselves, while plug-in hybrids have more powerful batteries that can be charged using a household or 240-volt unit. There are benefits and drawbacks for each option, and Sam Leman Automotive Group has all the details in the guide below. Read on, then check out our new hybrid inventory to see what we have available!

Hybrid vs. Plug-in Hybrid – Perks of Hybrid Vehicles

  • Conventional hybrid vehicles are simultaneously powered by gasoline and electric power, giving you seriously improved fuel economy and heavily reduced gas prices on the roads.
  • Conventional hybrids have batteries that can recharge themselves as you drive, which means you’ll never have to stop and charge the battery yourself. This makes for a bit more efficient ride without having to add any new automotive habits to your day.

Hybrid vs. Plug-in Hybrid – Perks of Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles

  • Plug-in hybrids work a bit differently than their conventional counterparts. Although they both rely on gasoline and electric power together, the way that energy is distributed is different.
  • Rather than using gasoline and electric power equally, the plug-in hybrid’s larger and more powerful battery allows it to run primarily on electric power before resorting to the gasoline engine as a sort of “backup plan.”
  • With a PHEV you can drive for quite a while solely on electric power–depending on the size of the battery, you may be able to make quick trips around without ever having to use a drop of gasoline.
  • Plug-in hybrids also differ from conventional hybrids in that their batteries need to be charged using either a 120-volt or 240-volt outlet so you don’t run out of electric power. Although this can be seen as an extra step or a hassle, the increased efficiency and decreased cost of gasoline more than makes up for it.

Explore the Difference Between Hybrid & Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles With Us Today!

If you want to learn more about hybrids and plug-in hybrids, contact our office or stop by one of our dealerships to talk to a member of our team! You can also reach out with any questions about what we’ve discussed above, and we’ll be happy to help you. If you want to see how one of our available hybrid models handles on the roads, we’ve got you covered, just give one of our teams a visit. If you’re looking to get a jump-start on the process of bringing a new ride home, our finance centers are a great resource.

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