How Do Hybrid Electric Cars Work?

By Chris Hardesty 07/11/2023 4:00pm

Key components of a hybrid electric car

A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) uses an internal combustion engine and an electric motor to propel it along the road. Gasoline powers the engine, and the motor uses energy stored in a battery pack. The propulsion or traction battery in an HEV charges through regenerative braking, which generates electricity as the car slows down and transfers the energy back to the battery pack. It does not use a charging cord like a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The electric motor in an HEV provides extra power that might allow for a smaller, more fuel-efficient gas engine in the car.

The marriage of a gas engine and an electric motor makes HEVs popular. Drivers can save money because of better fuel economy without sacrificing performance. HEVs let owners take a small step to reduce their carbon footprint with fewer emissions and not face range anxiety on long trips.