Hybrid vs. Plug-In Hybrid vs. Electric. What’s The Difference?

Hyundai Ioniq Lineup


When purchasing a new vehicle there is a lot to consider. Do you want a car or an SUV? Is towing capability important? All-Wheel Drive or Front Wheel Drive? Maybe fuel economy or environmental factors are important, in which case you might be considering a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or an electric vehicle for your next purchase. If that’s the case, there are a few different options to choose from, all of which offering their own benefits. In this post, we are going to look at the pros and cons of each of our available alternative powertrains to help you determine which efficient powertrain and/or vehicle will suit you best.


The Hyundai hybrid powertrain uses a combination of both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor to offer some of the most fuel efficient vehicles in the industry. The vehicle will seamlessly switch between gas power, electric power, or both to optimize power and fuel efficiency depending on multiple factors including speed, acceleration and driving style. For example heavy acceleration would require the use of both power sources while light acceleration can be powered by the electric motor alone. 

Parts of a Hybrid Vehicle

There are many benefits to the hybrid powertrain system, the most significant of which being they offer utmost efficiency without the requirement to be plugged in. Instead, the vehicle will use a combination of the internal combustion engine, regenerative braking which uses power from slowing down and converts it into electricity for the battery, or in some vehicles a solar roof to provide power to the electric motor without the need to charge the vehicle or install an at-home charger.  

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Charging System

In addition to Hyundai’s 5 year/100,000 KM warranty program, Hyundai extends that warranty to 8-year/160,000 kilometer powertrain warranty for their alternative powertrain vehicles with a 5-year 100,000 KM comprehensive limited warranty and roadside assistance program.

Hyundai hybrids vehicles include the Tucson Hybrid, Santa Fe Hybrid, Sonata Hybrid, and the IONIQ Hybrid which is Canada’s most fuel efficient car with a combined fuel economy rating of 4L/100 km and a range of 1,125 kilometers per tank of gas. 

Plug-In Hybrid 

With a hybrid vehicle, you will still be required to make trips to the gas station, although less frequently than with an internal combustion engine. If you’re looking for even more efficiency with even less trips to the gas station you may want to consider a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles have a larger battery than a traditional hybrid which enables the vehicle to travel further on just electric power alone. Once the electric power has been depleted, the vehicle will function as a traditional hybrid using a combination of the internal combustion engine and the electric motor. Like the traditional hybrid, the battery will gain power from the engine and regenerative braking. 

Hyundai Plug In Hybrid Dash

Unlike a traditional hybrid, and like the name suggests, a plug-in hybrid can also be charged by plugging the vehicle into a power source to recharge the battery. Due to the size of the battery, regenerative braking and power from the engine alone will not be enough to fully power the battery to drive in electric mode.

The advantage of a plug-in hybrid is the ability to drive on fully-electric power so you aren’t using any gasoline as well as the extended range the electric motor provides you. With a full charge, the plug-in hybrid can reach distances of up to 45km using just the electric motor alone. Not only does this lower your greenhouse gas emissions but it gives you the option of driving shorter distances on just electric power. This is great for local city driving because the start and stop nature of city traffic typically uses more fuel but with a plug-in hybrid you can use just electric power no matter what the driving conditions are. 

Hyundai IONIQ Plug-In Hybrid

The challenges that face the plug-in hybrid is the fact that it needs to be plugged in to enable full-electric mode. As more and more plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles appear, there are more charging stations for people who drive these vehicles to utilize. There are also a number of smartphone applications and websites available that let you know where your nearest charging station is. Public charging stations are typically level 2 or level 3 charging stations which means they charge your battery at a rapid rate for fast and easy power. A level 2 charger can fully recharge a battery in under three hours while a level 3 charger could fully charge the battery in under an hour. There are currently 17 charging stations in the Peterborough area with more being added and we have one available at Peterborough Hyundai.

There is also the option of charging the vehicle at your home. This can be done in two ways, you can install an at-home level 2 charging station that will charge the vehicle in under three hours or you can use a level 1 standard 3-prong outlet. The downside to using a level 1 charger is that it significantly increases the amount of time it takes to fully recharge the vehicle with charge times reaching up to 8 hours. Although this is a convenient option because there is no installation involved, you may find the charge time takes too long depending on how often you use the vehicle.    

Hyundai Charging Station

Not only are there fuel efficiency perks of driving a plug-in hybrid but there are also incentives from the Ontario government including up to $2,500 in incentives. You will also get an Ontario Green Vehicle license plate which gives you unrestricted access to high occupancy vehicle (HOV) and high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes regardless of number of passengers. As with hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids also get the extended 8-year/160,000 km warranty.

Hyundai’s plug-in hybrid model is the IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid that starts from $32,649 and gets 1,001 kilometers on a single tank of gas. 


For those looking to avoid the gas stations once and for all Hyundai offers two vehicles that run on pure electricity alone that offer outstanding range, zero emissions, and lots of fun with the instant torque that the electric motor provides.

One of the most common questions about fully-electric vehicles is how far their range is. For Hyundai, this number differs depending on the vehicle. The IONIQ Electric gets a range of 274 kilometers per charge while the Kona Electric gets a range of 415 kilometers per charge. As mentioned previously, you can recharge these vehicles at one of the many charging stations in the surrounding Peterborough area or you can charge your vehicle at home. Charging costs can vary but a helpful tip for owners is to charge their vehicles during off-peak hours to reduce cost. If you have a charger at home then you can charge your vehicle overnight so not only are you saving money during off-peak hours but you can do so from the convenience of your own home.

Hyundai Kona Electric Charging Screen

Like plug-in hybrids, charging times can vary depending on the type of charger you use. A Level 3 or 4 charger can charge a fully-electric car battery to 80% in 54 to 75 minutes. A Level 2 charger can provide a full-charge in approximately 9.5 hours and a Level 1 charger/standard household outlet can provide a full-charge in approximately 48 hours.

Maintaining an electric vehicle is different from a traditional gas vehicle, typically resulting in less trips to the shop. With fewer moving parts in an electric engine, there are less parts that can wear out and maintenance such as oil changes are not required. Brake service, tire rotations, and other maintenance services are still important and will help to maintain the life of the battery but overall less engine maintenance is required. 

The largest challenge to an electric vehicle is that you have to be able to charge it and there is no gas engine to provide power if the battery runs out. Similar to a plug-in hybrid, you either need access to a public charger, have a Level 2 charger installed in your home, or use a Level 1 charger at home which can take up to 2 days to get a full charge. Although there are many savings involved in owning an electric vehicle such as government incentives, fuel, and maintenance services, there may be an initial cost of setting up an at-home level 2 charger so you can conveniently fully charge your vehicle in up to 9 hours when you are at home.

Hyundai Kone Electric at a Public Charging Station

Similar to plug-in hybrids, there is up to a $5,000 government incentive in Ontario and you will also get an Ontario Green Vehicle license plate which gives you access to the HOV and HOT lanes regardless of number of passengers. The extended 8-year/160,000 km warranty is also included on fully-electric Hyundai vehicles.   

Currently there are two Hyundai vehicles that come in a fully-electric powertrain. There’s the IONIQ Electric which starts at $41,599 and then the Kona Electric which starts at $44,999.


No matter which alternative powertrain you choose Hyundai has you covered with the largest selection of alternative powertrains in Canada. There are many benefits to purchasing an alternative powertrain vehicle not only for you but for the environment as well. These vehicles produce less to no emissions while you drive, reducing your environmental footprint. All while saving you money on trips to the gas station and the shop. 

If you have any questions regarding our hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or electric vehicles contact us at (705) 876-1224 and our team of experts will be able to assist you.