6 Reasons to Buy a Plug-in Hybrid

 By Matt DeLorenzo 08/12/2021 8:00am

2021 Mini Countryman PHEV

Electrification is here to stay with a growing number of cars, trucks, and SUVs available. Even though EVs represent less than 5% of annual sales, most automakers and the federal government are endorsing the goal that half of all new vehicles sold by 2030 use an electric drivetrain.

While an electric vehicle may not meet everyone’s transportation needs, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is one way to enjoy the benefits of an electric while still retaining the convenience of a conventional gas-powered vehicle.

Unlike a conventional hybrid with no plug, a PHEV employs a larger battery that takes a charge from an outside source and can operate in a pure electric mode up to 50 miles or more.

Types of EVs.

Here are six reasons why you should buy a plug-in hybrid:

1. It’s a Good Gateway to Driving Electric

A plug-in hybrid introduces you to the EV driving experience. You’ll find that electric power is instantaneous, which means good acceleration off the line. It’s almost silent in low-speed operation. The only noise you hear at highway speeds in electric mode might be some motor whine along with ordinary wind and tire noise.

2. You Want to Rely on a Single Vehicle

Not many of us have the luxury of owning several cars, including a daily commuter. If you rely on your car for work and play, a plug-in hybrid is a good solution. It can provide clean, electric power for regular use and stand ready for that weekend road trip.

You’ll also be able to drive much further than most EVs in a single day without having to find a quick-charging station. And even if you do, most EVs require 20 to 30 minutes to restore 80% of usable range.

3. You Don’t Need a Home Charger

Since the battery on a plug-in hybrid is smaller than a pure electric’s, it will recharge much more quickly on a Level 2 charger. But you don’t need to go to that extra expense of a 240-volt home setup and can usually get a full charge on a standard 120 outlet overnight.

4. Your Purchase is Eligible for Tax Credits

While plug-in hybrids may cost more than their non-plug-in counterparts, federal tax credits and local incentives may lessen or eliminate that difference. Because of their ability to recharge using outside power sources, PHEVs are eligible for at least a $2,500 tax credit or more depending on the size of the battery and electric range.

Some PHEVs, like the Toyota RAV4 Prime and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, are eligible for the full $7,500 tax credits. Only two manufacturers, Tesla and General Motors, are no longer eligible for those credits, but neither sell a PHEV.

5. You’ll Have More Range and Better Mileage

Hybrid technology delivers superior mileage to conventional gas-powered vehicles. Often they’ll deliver upwards of 40 mpg.

Add in the bonus of 30 to 50 miles of pure electric operation, and the range of a plug-in hybrid can be 500 or 600 miles per tank of fuel. In addition to being more efficient, plug-in hybrids have lower emissions than standard cars.

6. A Plug-in is Still Usable in a Blackout or Gas Shortage

Versatility is a big selling point of plug-in hybrids. Because you are not dependent on a single energy source, you’ll still be able to get around. Unlike electric car owners in California during rolling blackouts, you’ll still be able to drive thanks to the PHEV’s conventional gas powertrain.

Conversely, during a situation like the Colonial Pipeline shutdown that caused shortages and higher pump prices, you’ll still be able to get places in electric mode.