What is A self-Charging Electric Car?
We’ve already looked at how hybrid cars work, and the different types of hybrid cars that are available. One of these it’s what’s known as a self-charging hybrid, or a self-charging electric car. So, we thought we’d take a specific look at how a self-charging hybrids work.
As with all hybrid cars, self-charging hybrids have both an electric motor and a petrol or diesel engine to power the wheels. However, unlike a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or an electric vehicle (EV), you don’t need to plug in a self-charging hybrid to charge its battery. As the name suggests, they self-charge.
Because of this, self-charging cars are a great option for people who are unable to charge their cars at home or work.
But how do they work? What are the benefits of owning one? And which hybrid would suit you best, a plug-in hybrid or a self-charging hybrid?
To help you decide, we’ve asked our EV experts to give us the lowdown on self-charging cars.
How Does a Self-Charging Car Work?
Just like other hybrid cars, self-charging hybrids use both an engine that runs on fuel and an electric motor to power their wheels. So, you still need to put fuel in the car, but it will also use electricity.
It’s worth noting that the term self-charging doesn’t mean that you can leave your car overnight and expect it to be fully charged in the morning. In fact, self-charging cars charge as you drive them. They do this by either using power from the engine or their regenerative braking system.
If you’re wondering what a regenerative braking system is, here’s a quick breakdown of how they work.
When you step on your brake, friction is created to slow the car down. This generates energy. A regenerative braking system takes this energy and uses it to recharge a car’s battery. So, after you brake and start to accelerate, the electric motor will kick in and help the car gain speed. This makes the petrol engine’s job easier and helps to improve the fuel economy of the car.
When there’s enough charge in the battery pack, most self-charging cars can pull away just using electricity. They can also travel for short distances at low speeds using no fuel at all. This is especially helpful in traffic jams, where you’re stopping and starting a lot.
For most of the time, and on longer journeys, the engine and the electric motor will be working together.
What Are The Benefits Of a self-charging Car?
Research has shown that 100%-electric cars are better for the environment than petrol and diesel cars. And, while they still need fuel, because hybrid cars also use electricity, they’re better for the environment than petrol and diesel cars too.
Another benefit of buying a self-charging hybrid is the fact that they’re perfect for short journeys at low speeds.
While getting stuck in city-centre traffic jams might be annoying for us, it’s great for self-charging hybrids. All of that stopping and starting means that they’ll use more electric power and less fuel. This not only means fuel savings for you, but also a quieter driving experience and less CO2 emissions in urban areas.
You can work out fuel savings based on your own usage in our handy fuel-cost comparison calculator at the bottom of this blog.
As well as saving on fuel, you’ll also save on the installation of a home charging unit, because you won’t need one.
And, because of their combination of engine and electric power, self-charging hybrids are great for towing caravans and trailers. Find out more about towing a caravan or trailer with an electric car.
What’s best, a Plug-In Hybrid or a Self-Charging Hybrid?
Different people have different needs when it comes to a car of any kind. So, it’s impossible to say whether a plug-in hybrid is better than a self-charging hybrid car, or vice versa. It all comes down to personal preference and driving habits.
However, there are a few factors that might mean a self-charging car suits your needs better than a PHEV.
As we’ve mentioned, self-charging hybrids are perfect for short journeys at slower speeds, because that’s when the electric motor will kick in. So, if that’s how you tend to use your car, you could see some immediate savings on your fuel costs.
Also, because you don’t have to plug in a self-charging hybrid, you won’t have to pay for the installation of a home-charging unit. And, for some properties, it may not even be possible to a install a home-charging unit.
When it comes to electric cars, some people have what’s known as “range anxiety”. This is a concern about how far you can drive in an electric car. With battery sizes getting bigger, the range of electric cars increasing and more charging points planned on the roads in Wales, range anxiety is less of a worry.
However, if range anxiety is still a concern, hybrid cars offer a stepping-stone for some people on their journey to buying an electric car. A self-charging hybrid is a great way to test out the driving experience of an electric car without having to commit to a plug-in hybrid or 100%-electric car.
Choosing the right Hybrid for you
If you’re thinking about buying your first hybrid car, and you want to know more about plug-in hybrids and self-charging hybrids, our EV experts are here to help.
Drop us a question in the “Ask our EV Experts” form or come and see our fantastic range of electric vehicles for yourself at our Cardiff and Bridgend showrooms.