How Does a Plug-In Hybrid Luxury Vehicle Compare to a Fully Electric Luxury Vehicle?

April 18th, 2022 by

It seems like the luxury electric vehicle market is changing by the minute. Just three or four years ago, plug-in hybrid luxury cars were scarce and full electric ones were nearly nonexistent. Now, world-renowned prestige automakers such as Audi and Porsche are offering a growing variety of luxury electric models, including both plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles. 

While this means buyers now have unprecedented levels of choice in luxury electric vehicles, they also have a lot to compare, starting with the basics – the types of power source. Like everything else about luxury cars, which one is best is a highly individual choice. At Ray Catena Auto Group, our highly knowledgeable staff can help you make that decision. Both plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicles have distinct characteristics and advantages, and one will be better suited to your wants and needs.

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How Do Plug-In Hybrids and Electric Cars Work?

Audi TFSI Plug In HybridBy definition, a hybrid car relies just on gasoline for fuel, but has an electric motor that acts like a generator. As the motor turns, it stores power in a battery, which allows the gasoline engine to sometimes turn off in order to save fuel.

A plug-in hybrid car is a subtype of hybrid vehicle that has both a gasoline fuel tank and an electric power input to charge a battery. These cars are powered in the opposite way as ordinary hybrids. Their primary source of energy is their large onboard rechargeable batteries, meaning they function as an electric vehicle first. The gasoline fuel tank is only used as a reserve, if the battery runs low on power.

A fully electric vehicle, of course, only has electric charging as its fuel source. This often necessitates an even larger and more efficient battery than a comparable plug-in hybrid vehicle might have.

What is Fueling Up Like?

A plug-in hybrid luxury electric vehicle is about the most convenient car to fuel up imaginable. The dual power sources mean that even if you can’t find a charging station, you can just head to any gas station, putting a suitable grade of gasoline in your car as you would for a standard luxury car. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever fully avoid using the gasoline engine, and for practicality’s sake, you should still charge the vehicle overnight when you have it parked at your home. The partial reliance on gasoline means that a plug-in hybrid vehicle will still have tailpipe emissions, even though they are greatly reduced compared to a standard car.

A fully electric luxury car, by contrast, is totally reliant on regular charging. Of course, the battery capacity of luxury electric vehicles with this power source is designed to be very high. Most cars in this category have at least a 250-mile range per full charge. However, although public EV charging stations are becoming ever more common, they are still not as easily found as gas stations, and may be totally absent depending on the area. Fully electric vehicles boast zero tailpipe emissions, of course, but access to stations with fast-charge capabilities may be necessary for best performance, particularly on longer trips. At Ray Catena Auto Group, we can show you your LEV charging options in your area and help you plan your initial driving experience.

What is the Driving Experience Like in a Plug-In Hybrid vs an Electric Car?

Infiniti Q50 Plug In HybridDriving a plug-in hybrid luxury vehicle offers a both-worlds approach. Naturally, they combine elements of the overall feel of a traditional gas-fueled luxury vehicle and an all-electric luxury car. When the gas engine kicks in, you’ll still get to feel it roar as in a classic luxury car. But a plug-in hybrid still captures the quiet, smooth, almost futuristic sensation of a fully electric car when in the normal battery-powered mode. However, two different energy sources take up a lot of space. The powertrain of a plug-in hybrid vehicle is much larger than either that of a gas-powered or a fully electric vehicle, and thus you may find that the amount of space, design features, or overall heft of the car are lacking.

In a fully electric luxury vehicle, you’ll typically get a more uncompromised level of space and a fully realized design in terms of luxury features and atmosphere, and driving under electric power offers a very smooth and silent ride. But you may also find that this is somehow un-car-like, and would prefer something closer to a traditional overall feel.

How Do They Compare Overall?

All in all, both plug-in hybrid and fully electric luxury cars are capable of offering the high performance and comfort you’d expect from the top luxury auto brands. However, as you may expect, plug-in hybrid luxury electric vehicles add in both some of the advantages and some of the drawbacks of a gasoline-fueled vehicle to the overall electric vehicle package.

Ray Catena is the New York/New Jersey area’s top luxury electric vehicle dealer. Visit your local Ray Catena dealership to view our huge selection of LEVs and plug-in hybrid luxury cars

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