Basics of EVs, PHEVs and Hybrid Vehicles + Green Chevy Models

October 20th, 2016 by


Last week we discussed the 2017 Chevy hybrids, PHEVs and EVs , but all of that can seem like a lot of “talk” if you don’t really know the differences between each of those systems or the benefits to owning a “greener” vehicle. In addition to just saving you money in annual fuel costs, vehicles powered by alternative fuels also have fewer emissions and a new way of measuring fuel economy.

First, it is important to understand the difference between hybrids, PHEVs and electric vehicles.

A hybrid is a vehicle that can run on battery, gas, or a combination of both. They are usually equipped with a gas engine, electric motor, and battery.

Chevy’s available hybrid is the Chevy Malibu Hybrid. You can search out Chevy Malibu inventory here.

A plug-in electric hybrid, or PHEV , is equipped with a gas engine, electric motor, and battery. Like a hybrid, a PHEV can also run on only electric, only gas or a combination of both, but the battery in PHEVs is larger so it can power the vehicle on electricity much longer than hybrids, but the larger battery needs to be plugged-in to be recharged.

Chevy’s available PHEV is the 2016/2017 Chevy Volt. You can search our Chevy Volt inventory here.

An electric vehicle, or EV , runs purely on an electricity that is supplied by a battery. It needs to be plugged-in to be recharged.

Chevy has two EVs, the Chevy Spark and the all-new 2017 Chevy Bolt, which will be available in late 2016. You can search our Chevy Spark inventory here.


There are two terms to know when dealing with batteries in hybrids and EVs — voltage and kilowatt-hour. Voltage refers to how much potential energy a battery holds, and kilowatt-hour (KWh) helps someone determine how efficiently the battery’s electricity is used to power the vehicle.

MPGe, MPG, Electric Range

Though MPG has been the industry standard for describing a vehicle’s fuel economy, PHEVs and EVs have new terms to describe their fuel efficiency. MPGe is in reference to PHEVs and EVs and it means mile per gallon equivalent. Basically, what the electric equivalent of MPG. Additionally, electric range is important to PHEVs and EVs as it describes how far a vehicle can go on purely electric power.

To Put It In Perspective

Here is the average combined city and highway fuel economy of these vehicles.

2017 Chevy Bolt (EV)

238 miles electric range and 119 MPGe city/highway


2017 Chevy Volt (PHEV)

53 miles electric range and 106 MPGe city/highway

2017 Chevy Malibu Hybrid

46 MPG city/highway

2017 Chevy Malibu (non-hybrid)

30 MPG city/highway


Emissions are the amount of greenhouse gases and CO2 a car releases. Electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions and do not contribute to air pollution. However, there are typically greenhouse gases released to get the electric power that is used to charge the battery, but the amount of emissions released in this process depends on how the electricity is produced. This means that EVs do some emit greenhouse gases, just not during the driving process like other cars and it is significantly less emissions than gas-powered vehicles.

To Put It In Perspective

Here is the energy impact estimates in a year of driving from the U.S. Department of Energy.

2017 Chevy Bolt (EV)

0 tons of tailpipe emissions per year and consumes .2 barrels of petroleum

2017 Chevy Volt (PHEV)

0.8 tons of tailpipe emissions per year and consumes 2 barrels of petroleum

2017 Chevy Malibu Hybrid

3.2 tons of tailpipe emissions per year and consumes 7.2 barrels of petroleum

2017 Chevy Malibu (non-hybrid)

4.8 tons of tailpipe emissions per year and consumes 11 barrels of petroleum

Interested in more specs of all of these vehicles, we have all of the information here .

Want to test drive any or all of these vehicles?

Check out our Miami Lakes Automall Malibu and Volt inventory here, and follow us on the Miami Lakes Automall Facebook or Miami Lakes Chevy Facebook for more updates and release information regarding the release of the all-new 2017 Chevy Bolt.

Photo source: Shutterstock

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