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Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 07/12/2023

You may be familiar with Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs). These vehicles integrate a traditional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) with a battery and an electric motor. You might have also heard of Electric Vehicles (EVs) that run solely on electricity and have no tailpipe emissions. But have you heard of PHEV cars in India that offer the features of both?

PHEV's full form is a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles. It is a hybrid vehicle category that lets you connect to an external power source to charge its battery. Unlike a conventional hybrid, it can drive in pure electric mode for a certain distance, depending on the battery capacity.

Unlike a pure electric vehicle, a PHEV converts to hybrid mode when its battery is exhausted, using the ICE as a backup power source. This way, a PHEV can achieve lower emissions, higher fuel efficiency, and a longer range than a conventional hybrid or a pure electric vehicle.

Let’s learn about this vehicle in detail.

Types of PHEV Cars in India

PHEVs can be classified into three different types based on the configuration of the powertrain, which is the system that transfers the power from the engine and the motor to the wheels.

The types of PHEV cars in India:

Series PHEV

In this configuration, the ICE powers a generator that produces electricity for the motor and the battery rather than being directly connected to the wheels. The motor is the only source of power for the wheels.

This type of PHEV has a simple and efficient powertrain but requires a large battery and a powerful engine.

An example of a series PHEV is the Volvo XC90 Recharge, which has an 11.6 kWh battery and a 65 kW motor.

Parallel PHEV

In this type, the ICE and the motor are both connected to the wheels, either separately or together. The ICE can power the wheels directly or charge the battery through a regenerative braking system.

The motor can also power the wheels directly or assist the ICE. This type has a complex and flexible powertrain, requiring a sophisticated control system and a transmission.

An example of a parallel PHEV is the BMW 7 Series, which has a 9.2 kWh battery and an 83 kW motor.

Power-split PHEV

Here, the ICE and the motor are connected to the wheels through a power-split device, such as a planetary gear set. The power-split device can vary the power ratio from the ICE and the motor to the wheels depending on the driving conditions. This PHEV has a balanced and versatile powertrain but requires a complex, expensive power-split device. An example of a power-split PHEV is the Toyota Prius PHEV, which has an 8.8 kWh battery and a 53 kW motor.

Components of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles in India

Electric Motor

As briefed before, it is a crucial component of the electric powertrain. It propels the vehicle into electric mode, using the energy stored in the battery pack. It can also assist the engine in hybrid mode, providing extra torque and power. The electric motor is located either near the wheels or the transmission.

IC Engine

It comes into play when the battery runs out of charge. The IC engine may also power the electric motor or charge the battery in some cases. This engine can be of different types, such as gasoline, diesel, or biofuel. The IC engine is under the hood of the vehicle.

Battery Pack

It stores your car's electricity to power the electric motor or other accessories. Charging the battery pack is possible by attaching it to an external energy source, like a charging station or a wall outlet. This battery pack is under the vehicle's floor or the trunk.


Near the battery pack or the electric motor, this inverter converts direct current (DC) from the battery pack into alternating current (AC) for the electric motor. It also controls the speed and torque of the electric motor.

Control Module

It is the brain of the PHEV. The control module monitors and regulates the electric powertrain and IC engine operation. It also communicates with the driver and other systems of the vehicle, such as the dashboard, the brakes, and the steering.

Drive Train

This system transfers the power from the electric motor or the IC engine to the wheels. The drive train can be of different types, such as front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. It consists of various components, such as the transmission, the differential, the axle, and the driveshaft. Manufacturers place them under the vehicle's chassis.

Fuel Tank

The fuel tank is the container that stores the gasoline or other fuel for the IC engine. The fuel tank can vary in size and shape, depending on the vehicle design and the fuel efficiency.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles in India

Pros of Plug-in Hybrid Cars in India

When running in electric mode, PHEVs produce zero emissions, reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

  • They are more fuel-efficient than conventional vehicles, especially at slow speeds, where the electric motor assists the engine.

  • PHEVs have a similar driving range to traditional vehicles, as they have a backup fuel source for longer journeys.

  • They can be charged at home or public charging stations, reducing the dependency on petrol or diesel.

Cons of Plug-in Hybrid Cars in India

  • Due to the complex and advanced electric powertrain and battery pack, they are more expensive than regular hybrid or conventional vehicles.

  • Depending on the vehicle, PHEVs have a limited electric driving range, usually around 60 km.

  • They have to be plugged in more often to recharge the battery, which may not be convenient for some users.

  • PHEVs are less efficient than Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) due to the added weight of the engine and the dual drive systems.

How Can I Charge the PHEV Cars in India?

You can charge this type of car by adhering to the following steps.

  • You must have a compatible charging cable and a suitable power outlet to charge a plug-in hybrid car. The charging cable usually comes with the car or can be purchased separately. The power outlet can be a regular household socket or a dedicated charging point.

  • To start charging, park your car near the power outlet and turn off the engine. Then, connect one end of the charging cable to the car’s charging port, usually located on the front or rear bumper. Next, plug the other end of the cable into the power outlet and switch it on.

  • The charging time and cost depend on the battery size, the power output, and the electricity tariff. Generally, it takes about 4 to 6 hours to charge a plug-in hybrid car fully from a household socket and about 2 to 3 hours from a fast-charging station.

  • Switch off the power outlet to stop charging and unplug the cable from both ends. Then, store the cable safely in the car’s boot or trunk. If available, you can check the battery level on the car’s dashboard or a mobile app.

Best Plug-in Hybrid Cars in India

There are several upcoming plug-in hybrid cars in India. But the ones available in the market include the following:

Volvo XC90 Recharge

This luxury SUV comes with a spacious and comfortable cabin, a host of safety and convenience features, and a powerful performance. The Volvo XC90 Recharge has a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine alongside an electric motor that generates a combined output of 300 bhp and 420 Nm of torque. The Volvo XC90 Recharge can deliver a fuel efficiency of 36 kmpl and a driving range of 809 km.

BMW 7 Series

This premium sedan has a refined design, a luxurious and spacious interior, and a smooth and agile ride. The BMW 7 Series features a 3.0-litre turbocharged engine coupled with an electric motor, generating a total output of 375 bhp and 520 Nm of torque. The BMW 7 Series can deliver a fuel efficiency of 39.53 kmpl and a driving range of 937 km.


PHEVs are a smart choice for Indian drivers, as they offer lower emissions, higher fuel efficiency, and longer range than conventional hybrids or pure electric vehicles. PHEVs come in different types, such as series, parallel, or power split, depending on the configuration of the powertrain. You can power its battery from an external energy source, such as a wall socket.

PHEV cars are costly. Therefore, it is essential to secure these cars with a car insurance policy. Insurance for four-wheelers protects your car from unfortunate incidents like car theft or damage. Insurance for 4-wheelers also safeguards you financially if your vehicle damages another person or their property.

To get the best deal on motor insurance, use a car insurance calculator and compare quotes from various insurers.


Is a PHEV better than a hybrid?

A PHEV is better than a hybrid if you want to drive more on electric power and reduce fuel consumption and emissions. A PHEV has a larger battery pack than a hybrid.

What is the meaning of PHEV?

PHEV's full form is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

What is the difference between EV and PHEV?

The difference between an EV and a PHEV is that an EV is a fully electric vehicle that runs only on battery power, while a PHEV is a plug-in hybrid EV that can run on both battery and gasoline power.

What is a hybrid PHEV?

A hybrid PHEV is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with an ICE and an electric motor.

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