Learn about electric charging and batteries

Charging Electric Vehicles

There are many questions people are asking about how to charge electric vehicles. We’ll put some of those questions to rest.


Can you charge a hybrid car?

No, a hybrid car has an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The electric motor accelerates the car from standing start, to speeds up to approximately 25mph. At that point the petrol engine kicks in. The battery recharges itself through a process called regenerative braking or by using power generated by the engine.


Can hybrid cars be charged at home?

You can’t charge a hybrid vehicle. But you can charge both an electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid using mains electricity from your home. The best time to charge is at night when electricity is that bit cheaper. Get into the habit of hooking it up every night, that way it’s always ready for the next day. You can also lobby your council about getting a streetlamp outside your home converted into a charging point.

Electric Vehicle Charging Life

Find out how long an electric vehicle battery will last, and if you ever have to replace it, how much it might cost you.


How long does a hybrid battery last?

It depends on how much mileage you do and how well you look after your vehicle – it can vary from as little as five years to over ten years. It’s the same for electric vehicles and plug-in electric vehicles.


How often does the hybrid battery pack need replacing?

The chances are you won’t have to. Most hybrids, EVs and PHEVs have batteries that are warrantied for eight years or 100,000 miles.


Is it true that battery replacements cost as much as the car itself?

No, that’s a common myth. Over the years, hybrid vehicle batteries have improved and now last much longer. In the unlikely event that your hybrid battery does need to be replaced, you should expect to pay around £5,000.


Will the hybrid battery become damaged in the winter?

No. Hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles have batteries that are all designed to operate within the same temperature range as an ordinary car. But, just like your phone, electric and hybrid car batteries do drain more quickly in cold weather, so you'll get slightly fewer miles in the winter. Some manufacturers even claim that their batteries will operate in temperatures as low as minus 22 degrees.


When do hybrid cars use petrol and when do they use the battery?

A hybrid car uses the electric motor for pulling away and at low speeds (to reduce engine wear and emissions) the petrol engine then kicks in. However, with a plug-in hybrid you can choose to drive in either petrol or electric mode, or the vehicle can select it automatically. A pure electric vehicle (EV) doesn’t use petrol at all.

Further reading

We answer your questions on other electric topics.