Hybrid Vehicle Types and Their (Business) Benefits

December 8, 2022
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Author: Gifford Carr Insurance Group | Resources Sourced: Motor Lease, Government of Canada

Hybrid vehicles have become increasingly popular over recent years. As consumers continue to show interest in decreasing emissions, the rise in fuel costs has many commuters weighing the benefits of a hybrid vehicle. And, for good reason! The Government of Canada continues to support consumers’ desire to adopt hybrid vehicles through the iZEV Program.

The iZEV (Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles) and tax write-offs for businesses are helping to make it more affordable for consumers to adopt clean technology. TheiZEV Program provides incentives designed to offset the higher upfront purchase cost of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs), and tax write-offs help businesses save money while they drive forward their sustainability goals.

Currently, there are two incentives available to consumers:

  • Battery-electric, hydrogen fuel cell, and longer-range plug-in hybrid vehicles are eligible for up to $5,000;
    • longer range plug-in vehicles have an electric range equal to or greater than 50 km.
  • Shorter range plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are eligible for up to $2,500;
    • shorter-range plug-in vehicles have an electric range under 50 km.

The iZEV program offers point-of-sale incentives for consumers who buy or lease a ZEV vehicle. Only the vehicles listed on the Government of Canada’s web page are eligible for an incentive when they’re purchased or leased for at least 12 months, on or after the eligibility date. 

Source: Transport Canada

With these current incentives available, the prospect of owning or leasing a hybrid vehicle may be of interest to consumers. If you are currently looking to upgrade to a hybrid vehicle, or are just beginning to do your research, getting to know the various types of hybrid vehicles on the market is an ideal place to start. Outlined below, you can begin to understand the three main types of hybrid vehicles so you can make the best lifestyle decision.

hybrid vehicle

Types of Hybrid Vehicles

Mild Hybrids

One of the newest innovations in hybrid technology is a “mild” hybrid system. As the name implies, a mild hybrid system typically isn’t going to propel the vehicle on electric power alone. Instead, the system is used to give a small boost to the vehicle’s gasoline engine, typically upon acceleration from a dead stop, and to assist in removing the burden of power-hungry systems, such as air conditioning, on the gasoline engine. Normally found in the form of 48-volt electric systems, mild hybrids do not need to be plugged in. Instead, the batteries are recharged through a combination of power from the gasoline engine, and energy recovered when the vehicle brakes (also known as regenerative braking).

Full Hybrids

With a standard gasoline engine and an electrical component, full hybrids use both a gasoline engine and an electrical component to operate independently. Unlike mild hybrids, the electrical component in a full hybrid vehicle is capable of handling far more of the workload than that of a mild hybrid. Most full hybrids can operate for some distance solely on electric power. This typically happens at lower city speeds but is one reason why you may see a full hybrid’s City MPG rating higher than its Highway MPG rating (whereas in standard gasoline-powered vehicles, the opposite is true).

There are two main types of powertrains in full hybrid vehicles: Parallel and Series.

A Parallel hybrid can use both the engine and the electric motor at once, or in parallel with one another. This type of hybrid would be most useful if one wanted to save on fuel while driving.

A Series hybrid uses a part-electric, part-gasoline motor that operates in tandem with an automatic transmission. Unlike Parallel hybrids, this system powers the wheels solely through an electric motor. The gasoline engine provides auxiliary power for the electric motor but does not power the wheels.

Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles

Unlike mild and full hybrid vehicles that charge their battery source exclusively through internal means, plug-in hybrid vehicles combine the best of both worlds. They have gasoline engines like conventional vehicles, and they can recharge their batteries using an external charger as well as using their internal combustion engines. As a result, plug-in hybrids have a greater electric-only range than full hybrids, but less of a carbon footprint than pure electric vehicles. This is beneficial for many consumers who wish to operate on full-electric mode for in-city driving, but do not want to commit to a fully-electric vehicle at the moment.

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