Hybrid vs. Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles: What's the Difference?

Ferrari SF90 Stradale steering wheel and dashboard

Electric Ferrari sports cars are on the way, and today’s lineup already includes several staggeringly powerful plug-in hybrid vehicles—including the SF90 Stradale and the 296 GTB. But what is a plug-in hybrid, exactly, and is the setup a fitting one for the one and only Prancing Horse? We think that the specs speak for themselves, but if you really want to know if a PHEV is right for you, you’ll need to understand the difference between hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. 

Let’s get the basics out of the way:

  • The batteries in hybrid vehicles are charged as you drive; those in plug-in hybrid vehicles need to be connected to an external charging unit.
  • Plug-in hybrids have larger batteries than conventional hybrids, and this allows PHEVs to drive for short distances using nothing but electric power.
  • Since electric motors deliver instantaneous torque, they perform exceptionally well on the track—and thanks to their larger batteries, PHEVs have an advantage here as well.

Ready to compare hybrid vs. plug-In hybrid vehicles in greater detail? We’ve got you covered.

Hybrid vs. Plug-In Hybrid: Benefits of Hybrid Models

Conventional hybrids have been around for a while, and they’ve been designed to do one thing in particular: maximize fuel economy without requiring any lifestyle changes. Since the battery that powers the motor is charged automatically as you drive, you’ll refuel a hybrid in the same way that you’d refuel a gas-powered vehicle—at the pump.

If you’re not using your PHEV’s electric range, you’ll likely find that a conventional hybrid is the more efficient option. However, if you primarily drive short distances or want to minimize your time spent refueling, you’ll find that a PHEV is more versatile.

Hybrid vs. Plug-In Hybrid: Benefits of Plug-In Hybrid Models

Plug-in hybrid models serve as a middle ground between gas-powered vehicles and EVs to an even greater extent than traditional hybrids. If you’re looking for a taste of what it’s like to own an EV, taking home a plug-in hybrid can give you a pretty good lay of the land.

We’ve already touched on the performance advantages offered by PHEVs: with a large battery and a potent electric motor, you can accelerate exceptionally on the highways between Indianapolis and Milwaukee.

Anyone comparing hybrid vs. plug-in hybrid vehicles should also keep in mind that PHEVs offer more flexibility:

  • You can start in electric mode, run the battery until empty, and then switch to gas. If you charge up at the end of every day, you’ll most likely use very little gas as the days and weeks go by.
  • To maximize your range or your average gas mileage, switch into hybrid mode! Here, a PHEV functions almost exactly like a traditional hybrid. (However, thanks to its larger battery, a PHEV can travel further than an otherwise-comparable hybrid on a single tank of gas.)

Find a Ferrari Plug-In Hybrid Sports Car at Continental AutoSports Ferrari

If you’re ready to upgrade your drives with one of the plug-in hybrid Ferrari models currently offered by the brand, all you have to do is let us know. We can help you place an order for a new model or find the perfect pre-owned option in our inventory. Still exploring your options? You’ll find even more to get excited about when you explore our other Ferrari feature guides from home.

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