WAV stands for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. This means you can travel in the vehicle while seat in your wheelchair
A public chargepoint, with a woman and her car in the background

Hybrid cars

These combine two different energy sources to power your car: electric and petrol or diesel fuel.

The three types of hybrid

All three types of hybrid have a combustion engine and a battery, but these vary.

Most hybrids kick in seamlessly. Others you can put into ‘hybrid mode’ yourself, or manually override.

You can find all three of these on the Motability Scheme.

How three types work

Watch our video to learn the basics behind each of the three hybrid types, and a little about electric cars too.

Mild hybrid (MHEV)

These are very similar to a normal petrol or diesel car, except they have a battery which can power some features of the car.

You’ll always use your combustion engine alongside your battery with these, as the battery is not big enough to power the car by itself.

It helps the combustion engine along instead, which reduces the amount of fuel you’ll need.

It also powers the stop/start cycle, seamlessly switches the engine off during coasting and automatically starts it again when you need to accelerate.

Most mild hybrids also have ‘regenerative braking’, which means it uses the the power produced when you’re braking to charge the battery.

These run similar to a petrol or diesel car. You do not need to charge them. So you can run one without a driveway, garage, or home chargepoint, or making any lifestyle changes.

Some great benefits

  • A little more efficient than a petrol car

  • You do not need to charge them or make lifestyle changes

  • You can get them in manual or automatic

Full hybrid electric vehicle (FHEV)

These offer a smoother, more economical drive.

Often called a 'self-charging hybrid', or sometimes a ‘parallel hybrid’, they have a combustion engine and a battery, and they can run solely on one or by combining the two.

The battery is charged from the combustion engine or from regenerative braking, which uses the power produced when you’re braking.

The electric energy is normally used for the start of journeys, at low speeds or steady cruising, then the petrol or diesel engine kicks in when it’s needed.

These run similar to a petrol or diesel car. You do not need to charge them. So you can run one without a driveway, garage, or home chargepoint, or making any lifestyle changes.

Some manufacturers offer variations where the battery drives the car all of the time instead of just some of the time. Speak to your dealer to find out more about the specific differences between makes and models.

Some great benefits

  • More fuel-efficient than a standard petrol or diesel car

  • More environmentally friendly

  • Smooth to drive

  • You do not need to charge them or make any lifestyle changes

  • All of them are automatic

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)

These are the stepping stone towards a fully electric car.

They use all of the technology of a FHEV, but they have a larger battery and range. You’ll need to charge and top up the battery using a chargepoint to make the most of this technology.

It’s the most environmentally friendly hybrid, as they can drive for up to 40 miles using just electricity, which means fewer emissions.

You’ll only see the benefit if you’re able to regularly charge your car, so make sure you have somewhere to charge it. If you do not plan to charge often, consider choosing a different hybrid instead.

These tend to have a higher Advance Payment because of the combined technology, and fully electric cars are more efficient.

Some great benefits

  • The most environmentally friendly hybrid

  • Efficient, if you charge it often

  • A good step towards electric

What are the benefits of a hybrid car?

Environmentally friendly

A hybrid car does not need as much fuel as a combustion engine to run, which means fewer emissions and cheaper running costs.

PHEVs are a good environmental stepping stone on your journey to switching to electric, when you’re ready.


Using electric energy helps increase how fuel efficient your car is, overall.

FHEVs are the most fuel-efficient hybrid that you do not need to charge. PHEVs are efficient too, but only if you charge them often.

Looking for a fully electric car instead?

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs or EVs) are pure electric cars which have no petrol or diesel engines. They run solely on battery power instead. They’re all automatic and they can travel much farther on a single charge than a PHEV.

Explore our electric cars