Torque shop

Can you tell me the difference between a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and an electric car?

A hybrid describes a car that runs on two power sources - most commonly, a petrol or diesel engine paired with an electric motor.

The motor gets its power from on-board batteries that are charged when the car is on fuel mode, braking or coasting.

A plug-in hybrid is a hybrid car, except that its batteries can also be charged via an electrical outlet. This makes it even more efficient as it does not depend solely on the combustion engine or braking to charge up.

An electric car is a plug-in vehicle, except that it does not have a combustion engine. Its batteries are charged via an external power socket.

However, there are some electric cars that are equipped with a range extender, in the form of a small combustion engine that generates power to charge drained batteries.

This engine is not connected to the wheels, which are driven solely by electric motors.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2017, with the headline 'Torque shop'. Subscribe