MHEV vs PHEV – What Is The Difference?

If you are looking at purchasing a new electric vehicle and are confused about some of the abbreviations, then you have come to the right place.

We have covered fully electric vehicles vs hybrids before, but even within the hybrid market, there are differences.

A Hybrid electric vehicle can go by many names including MHEV and PHEV. But what do they really mean? What is the difference between a PHEV and MHEV?

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The main difference between a PHEV and MHEV is that mild hybrid electric vehicles only use their electric motor to boost the engine’s power, whereas a PHEV can drive on either its electric motor or engine.

What is A MHEV?

MHEV stands for Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle and is used to define a car that uses an electric motor and battery to store a small amount of energy normally lost during braking or deceleration. This battery power is then used to accelerate the car giving the standard internal combustion engine a boost.

This helps improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions but is a far cry from a PHEV or battery electric vehicle.

What is a PHEV?

Toyota Rav4 PHEV 2021

PHEV stands for Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle. These full hybrid electric car models have far larger batteries and are designed to run on both electricity and fuel.

The benefit this provides is the ability to choose, while still reducing fuel consumption most of the time and never worrying about the range. A common complaint of full battery electric vehicles.

Comparison of MHEV vs PHEV

Mild hybrid electric vehicles are a small improvement over a standard petrol engine in that they help reduce waste. This is done by harnessing and storing the lost power by using regenerative braking.

PHEV vehicle models on the other hand are the next best thing to battery electric vehicles like a Tesla that are 100% electric. You can almost always use the electricity only by keeping their large battery pack fully charged and only using the gas engine when you have to, like on longer trips.

Purchase Price

The heavier battery and the overall complexity of PHEVs means they are both far heavier and more expensive than mild hybrids.

However, much of these costs can be offset by the longer-term savings in running costs of a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Running Costs

Owing to the fact that a mild hybrid electric vehicle only uses fuel, the costs are always going to be higher to run the vehicle each week.

Plug-in hybrids on the other hand benefit from the reduced costs of using the electric motor to run your vehicle. Of course, at the moment fuel prices are extremely high. However, electric prices are rising too. However, running an electric car on electricity alone is always cheaper in almost every case.

Environmental Costs

This is a no-brainer. PHEVs are significantly better when it comes to the environment as they produce way less CO2.

Are mild hybrids a con?

Mild Hybrids are certainly far from ideal, but they do save a little bit of fuel compared to having no battery at all. If you have to pay a lot of extra money for this option, then it is certainly questionable. But I would not go as far as to call it a con.

What is better PHEV or MHEV?

Overall, a PHEV is way better than an MHEV for both the environment and running costs. They might cost more upfront, but in the long run, you will save money on fuel/electricity and be doing the right thing for the next generation.

What Are Some MHEV Cars?

Many manufacturers have or have had versions of a Mild Hybrid over the last decade. Honda has had the Honda Insight, Honda Jazz, Honda Civic, Honda Accord, and CR-Z with its Integrated Motor Assist. Toyota sold the Crown Sedan on the Japanese market. Audi MHEV’s include A series and Q series have also had some versions of MHEV. As has Mercedes and many others.

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