What Is The Difference Between PHEV And MHEV?

The main difference between PHEV and MHEV vehicles is that the latter can run electrically and without any gas, unlike the former. However, there are also other variations between these two car models. Read on to find out more.

Being a car lover, a mildly interested or hobbyist driver can be extremely exciting. The current marketplace has many hybrid and electric automobiles. Among these motor vehicles, PHEV and MHEV stand out as the most popular group. So, what makes the difference between the two?

Irrespective of your choice – a mild hybrid, full hybrid, full EV, or plug-in hybrid, the guideline remains the same: these cars emit all or a few built by the usual combustion engine towards a battery-run motor.

The use of battery-driven vehicles in the place of combustion engines is increasingly on the rise. This post delves deeply into various PHEV and MHEV terminologies revolving around the electrically driven vehicle marketplace.

The MHEV Car Models
An MHEV (mild hybrid electric vehicle) is a combination of a full hybrid and traditional gas. In essence, the hybrid model operates on a much smaller battery assisted by a motor generator with the ability to generate power to support the gas engine’s performance. Yet, MHEV cars are not electrically capable of running.

Whenever the car requests more power, the engine motor generator utilizes the reserve electricity for torque application to the motor; hence, enhancing the output without expending additional fuel.

When cruising or drifting, the fuel engine twirls the motor-generator to generate power for reviving the battery. In simple terms, you can easily stop the gas engine and spare fuel.

The PHEV Car Models
Riding in a PHEV is interesting as it is more or less the same as the full EV and hybrid models. In a real sense, the PHEV works more or less like an ordinary hybrid, though with notable modifications to the battery.

In comparison, the PHEV battery is more powerful than that of an ordinary hybrid. Besides, the onboard generator cannot fully charge the battery, and therefore you will need to set it at the charging station or via an electrical outlet.

The most puzzling terminology about the PHEV vehicle models is the Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV).

Still on the same, although similar to a hybrid model, PHEV comes with an additional battery power limit for extended full electric driving.

A PHEV vehicle can typically drive for, say, between 25 and 50 kilometers on the reserve battery power with a fully charged battery. And upon reverting to the use of fuel, it can cover additional 80 km. The car operates similarly to an ordinary hybrid the moment this range is used until you recharge it again.

When you make a short trip, you will realize that your PHEV’s performance is more or less the same as that of an EV, burning no fuel at all. Contrary to the electric car model, a PHEV vehicle can move back to its original hybrid upon exhausting its EV range. At this point, it utilizes the self-generated power and gas for some kilometers of extra distance covered.

PHEV drivers take advantage of the all-electric functionality on shorter drives and excursions and a full hybrid distance range after that. Irrespective of whether you’re unable to recharge your PHEV car battery fully, the car will continue to run akin to a normal hybrid. While it isn’t mandatory, charging a PHEV lowers its fuel consumption.

Once your PHEV is fully charged and the fuel tank is full, its driving range matches a conventional car model.

The Difference between MHEV and PHEV
To come up with a sound conclusion when considering MHEV or PHEV model options, you need to make the difference first. The PHEVs (plug-in hybrids) exclusively run on a large battery system and contain no gas engine. The MHEVs (mild hybrids) aided by electric motors add a certain speed level, recover when braking, and provide lubrication for stop-start components or long-range EVs and a big battery.

The Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi 48V is one good example of an MHEV vehicle model. It applies a 2.0-L capacity diesel engine along with a 48-volt MHEV system to generate a range of electrification. On the contrary, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV accounts for fifty percent of PHEV sales in the UK. With the ability to cover approximately 30 miles by only using its electric power, the PHEV model comes with a 2.4-L petrol engine connected to the electric motors and a big battery pack including a charging system.

The list below includes the various pointers you should consider before choosing your PHEV or MHEV.

Advantages and Disadvantages of MHEV Models


  • It can power various electrical systems of the car
  • The stop-start system helps to save fuel when not moving
  • Lower complexity
  • It can decrease turbo lag through the filling of torque until the engine is boosted.
  • Lower cost
  • It is lighter than other electric-powered vehicles


  • The full-EV mode is absent
  • High complexity and cost compared to the internal combustion-only car engine models.

Advantages and Disadvantages of PHEV Models


  • Lower buying costs than the BEVs
  • They come with enhanced range over BEV (battery electric vehicles) attributed to their range-extending gas engines.
  • Operational costs are lower than that of the series hybrid.


  • High complexity compared mild hybrids
  • More costly than mild or series hybrids
  • They are heavy, attributed to their huge battery pack.

The Economic Impact between MHEVs and PHEVs

PHEVs work like part-time electrically-powered vehicles, assuming that your daily movements remain fully or mostly within the e-zone. Their electric activities have zero emissions, unlike their competitors, which are seldom non-emission car models.

With their 48-volt battery systems, the PHEVs can do at least a mile at reduced all-electric drive rates. However, they run on half EV mode assisted by their gasoline engines.

More so, a PHEV vehicle can move back to the ordinary hybrid once it exhausts its electric reserves. Thus, you should compare and contrast your everyday estimated range to establish whether the vehicle is a good fit for you. PHEVs are known for their ability to save fuel and extreme emissions when fully charged.

On the contrary, MHEV (Mild hybrids) paired with their electric motors include a certain speed, recover during rest-time, and offer some lubricant for stop-start devices – or long-range EVs and large batteries. Though not a much huge save, it is a positive step.

The Cost of Operation for Both Models
While the plug-in operates on both electricity and gas, the plug-ins works mostly on less costly electricity ignoring the charged battery. They are availed with a key metric EPA estimated range; likewise, their efficiency is kwh/100 miles or “MPGe,” and various ways of evaluating the EPA.

Notably, plug-in cars operate on two aspects – gas prices and electricity costs. Electricity may vary from free for employer-supplied charging or certain public, to essentially free for domestic solar installation paid back over the years, or the amount you remit to your local service.

Anyhow, being reliant on electric power for your everyday trips is cost-effective regardless of the high utility costs. The moment the PHEV’s battery power runs low, it reverts to the normal hybrid mode – save for the ELR and Volt, which commence charge sustaining.

For the plug-in varieties like the Toyota Prius, their EPA mileage is more or less the same as that of the non-hybrid plug-in. On the other hand, the Honda Accord model drops by 1 mpg once the reserve grid energy is exhausted. On its part, the Ford Fusion reduces by 4 mpg.

The trickiest part of the MHEVs is their daily gas consumption. Bearing in mind your daily travels, you can save more, particularly in urban areas with the presence of heavy traffic, courtesy of the electric motors and regenerative braking.

The maintenance cost of the PHEVs is fairly low due to minimal usage of the engine. It calls for patience to comprehend this car model’s basics, but when you get used to it, you will discover its cost-effective nature.

To be precise, hybrids combine two powertrains – some have worked poorly or better, yet the history is fairly convincing, and PHEV should work out better as well.

PHEVs are only two to three years old in the market, there exists no case sample of the high-mileage models, and their large lithium-ion battery system is non-existent. However, automakers are more cautious when it comes to reliability and battery life.

While the mild hybrids work like ordinary combustion cars, they are more efficient, though not as the plug-in hybrid electric or standard hybrids.


For an ordinary hybrid, you are only required to refill the gas at the filling station. Toyota has made a name just for articulating that it has supportive crossbreeds. They don’t need you to learn new ideas, and it has released a variety of plug-in EVs for undelivered energy components, which also are “filled up” at the station.
Yet, EV – and PHEV – clients find the chance to connect their car during evening hours decent and easily, boasting of an assigned parking area or carport. More so, they can easily plug in at their place of work or along the way to expand and maximize the e-benefits.

Talking of the Volt and the 11-mile Prius PHEV, or the 19-mile-goEnergikin, drivers can also stay away from the filling station. Also, the fact that electric car models do not require refilling at the station is a plus.

By taking all the above comparisons, you can now choose which type of vehicle model suits your lifestyle. You can either go for the MHEVs or the PHEVs, provided it lives up to your life dreams.

Jacquelin Burkhammer

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