Hybrid cars: advantages and disadvantages


Dacia hybrid

What are the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid vehicles?


With a notable  increase in hybrid car sales in recent years,  it’s worth exploring the benefits and drawbacks of this powertrain type.


But before we delve into that, let’s quickly revisit how hybrid vehicles work.


What is a hybrid vehicle?


How it works


The term “hybrid car” refers to vehicles that combine a combustion engine with an electric motor. Essentially, a hybrid vehicle consists of:


  • an internal combustion engine (usually a petrol engine);
  •  an electric motor;
  •  and a traction battery.


These elements enable it to alternate between three types of propulsion while driving: 100% electric, where only the electric motor activates the wheels; hybrid, where the electric motor assists the combustion engine; and traditional 100% combustion, relying solely on the petrol engine (or diesel, although diesel-electric hybrids are rare and less efficient than petrol-electric hybrids).


The switch between traction types is handled automatically by an onboard electronics system. This system considers factors like terrain, accelerator pedal pressure and the level of charge in the traction battery, which stores electrical energy.


What are the differences between a full hybridand a plug-in hybrid?


The most common types of hybrid vehicles on the automotive market are full hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Their main difference lies in the charging mode.


In both these vehicle types, the traction battery recharges during deceleration through regenerative braking, converting kinetic energy into electrical energy.


This means electric recharging happens automatically, without any input from the driver during driving phases.


Full hybrid vehicles rely solely on the two charging methods mentioned earlier, earning them the name “self-charging hybrids”.


In contrast, plug-in hybrids offer an extra charging option: manually plugging the battery into a public or home charging station (hence the term “plug-in”).


FYI: Another hybrid vehicle type, known as a mild hybrid, operates differently. In mild hybrids, the petrol engine runs continuously and is assisted by an electric alternator-starter during energy-intensive driving phases like starts or accelerations.


How do hybrid cars differ from 100% electric models?


The major difference lies in their propulsion systems. A hybrid vehicle employs three distinct types of traction (100% electric, hybrid, 100% combustion engine) by combining two types of motors (a combustion engine and an electric motor).


In contrast, a fully electric car has only one motor, relying entirely on electric traction for propulsion.


The main advantages of hybrid powertrains


Compared to 100% combustion engine vehicles   


  • Hybrid vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions when operating in electric mode.


  • When the vehicle is running solely on electric power, drivers experience some unique benefits such as quicker acceleration, smoother handling and quieter operation.
  •  During electric traction, the combustion engine remains entirely inactive, and during hybrid traction, it is less engaged compared to a 100% combustion engine vehicle. In both scenarios, this means that components last longer. 


  • A hybrid vehicle consumes up to 40% less fuel than a combustion-powered car. This means you’ll need to refuel less frequently.

*Dacia’s latest combustion engines come equipped with technologies that minimise pollutant emissions (diesel) and particulate matter (petrol). This adaptation aims to better address environmental concerns with 100% combustion engine vehicles. For more information, please refer to “New names for new diesel and petrol engines”.


Compared to 100% electric vehicles


  • Hybrid vehicles boast a longer driving range than their 100% electric counterparts, thanks to the combined autonomy of their combustion and electric motors. Even if the electric motor ceases operation because the battery is fully drained, the car can still continue running using 100% combustion engine power.
  • For drivers used to diesel or petrol cars, self-charging hybrid vehicles require a less significant adjustment, if any, compared to fully electric vehicles, as no effort is required to recharge the battery.


The main disadvantages of hybrid powertrains


Compared to 100% combustion engine vehicles


  • On average, when comparing two vehicles of similar range and body style, a hybrid tends to be pricier upfront than a combustion-powered car. (However, remember that this price disparity can be recouped over time through savings in usage—such as maintenance and fuel costs, as mentioned earlier.)
  • In some hybrid models, having the traction battery in the boot can limit available space. However, this drawback is becoming less common in newer vehicles. Take the new Jogger Hybrid, for instance—its battery is located beneath the boot floor, preserving all available space.


Compared to 100% electric vehicles


  • A 100% electric car emits no tailpipe emissions while driving. These advantages apply to hybrid cars only during 100% electric traction, which isn’t continuous.

How to choose between a hybrid and a 100% electric


Both of these powertrain options are worth considering if you’re looking to move away from conventional combustion-powered vehicles. They each offer, to varying degrees, ecological and economic advantages.


To make your decision, think about your typical usage, the distances you usually travel, your driving environment (city, motorway, etc.), and most importantly, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a professional car dealer. Dacia experts at the dealership will steer you towards the solution that best fits your needs.

What is the main difference between a full hybrid and a plug-in hybrid?


The plug-in hybrids boast a longer electric driving range than a full-hybrid , but requires regular charging of its battery at a public or private charging station to make use of full electric capability.



On the other hand, the non-rechargeable or self charging hybrid, also known as a full hybrid, offers a convenient and hassle-free option. Drivers can enjoy the perks of a hybrid powertrain without needing to schedule charging.


FYI: Mild hybrid vehicles constantly rely on the petrol engine and thus offer fewer advantages than full hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

The advantages of Dacia hybrids


Dacia’s hybrid range consists of self-charging full hybrid models. Like all full hybrids, they recharge while driving, without any intervention from the driver.


Explore Dacia’s hybrid technology and models


Key takeaways


Although the purchase price for hybrids is generally higher than traditional combustion-engine vehicles  they can offer  savings in daily usage.

Choosing the right powertrain involves weighing up the pros and cons of each option, considering your budget and your daily driving needs.