Self-rechargeable, non-rechargeable or full hybrid car, three names for the same technology

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A hybridization has by nature several sources. In cars, hybridization is mainly defined by the combination of a combustion engine with one or more electric motor(s). With the announced transition to all-electric, it takes on the role of a stage, that of progressive electrification. For vehicles that are not electric, the word “hybrid” is displayed everywhere, almost like a passport to their acceptance in the market. So, it has to be admitted, certain uses of the term turn out to be somewhat abusive. Sometimes, a simple “Start & Stop” system for automatically cutting and restarting the engine is enough for the manufacturer to qualify its model as “hybrid”.

The case of mild hybridization

We can begin a little more precisely to speak of a hybrid model with “light” or “micro-hybridization” hybridization. In this case, the system which cuts the engine when stationary is associated with a small additional 24 volt or 48 volt battery, sometimes making it possible to cut it off while driving with switching to automatic “freewheel” mode, supplying the electronics on-board while the thermal block is stopped and relieving the latter during the start-up and acceleration phases by providing a slight surplus of power. But the vehicle can still not run on electricity alone.

Among the different types of hybridization, there are therefore three general levels:

  • mild hybridization
  • non-rechargeable hybridization
  • rechargeable hybridization.

But then, what is a “self-charging” hybrid vehicle, as presented by several manufacturers?

Self-rechargeable, non-rechargeable, matter of perspective

Illustration photo – Renault CapturCredit Photo – Renault

In a car that runs entirely or partially on electricity, there is a battery. So you have to recharge it at some point. For a 100% electric car or a rechargeable hybrid, recharging is associated with the action of connecting a cable connected to the electrical network (or to a generator).

This is why a so-called “rechargeable” hybrid car always has a charging socket. Models with mild hybridization or “non-rechargeable” hybridization therefore do not have a dedicated charging hatch. But since it is necessary to recharge them nevertheless, this action is managed by the vehicle itself.

The electricity that powers the battery is therefore produced in two ways:

  • During braking and slowing down, the weight of the vehicle drives the electric motor(s) which, like any electric motor, in turn creates current
  • By the rotation of the heat engine, which is connected to the main electric motor or to a smaller additional electric motor whose main role is to produce electricity (on the same principle as an alternator).

These are the two methods that hide behind the term “self-recharging”. Yet all electrified cars are self-charging, whether they plug in or not, whether they are micro-hybrid or 100% electric.

When talking about self-charging or non-recharging hybrids, these formulations may therefore seem overused. They both designate a hybrid vehicle capable of driving in 100% electric mode without having a charging socket. Therefore, the choice of these two imprecise names serves more to distinguish this type of hybridization from “rechargeable” hybrids, mainly powered by cable.

More precise English terms

In the end, the fairest thing is to rely on English terms. These do not in fact mention the notion of load. Plug-in hybrids are thus called “plug-in hybrids” (PHEVs), literally “plug-in hybrids”.

They are therefore opposed to “mild hybrid” (MHEV) as well as “full hybrid” (FHEV), respectively “moderate hybrid” and “complete hybrid” in good French.

Note that “FHEV” hybrids are sometimes referred to as “HEV”, simply “hybrid” vehicles. The letters “EV” always stand for “Electric Vehicle”, considering that a hybrid car is in a sense also an electric vehicle.

What are the “full hybrid” models on the market?

Illustration photo - Toyota Yaris Cross

Illustrative photo – Ford MondeoPhoto Credit – Ford

Here is the current list of “full hybrid” FHEV models on the market, therefore “self-rechargeable” or “non-rechargeable”, at your convenience:

The Ford hybrid vehicle range

  • Ford Kuga Hybrid FlexiFuel FHEV E85
  • Ford Kuga Hybrid I-AWD FHEV
  • Ford Mondeo Hybrid

Hybrids in the Honda catalog

  • Honda Jazz e:HEV
  • Honda Jazz Crosstar e:HEV
  • Honda HR-V e:HEV
  • Honda Civic e:HEV
  • Honda CR-V e:HEV

Hyundai cars equipped with hybrid technology

  • Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
  • Hyundai Kona Hybrid
  • Hyundai Tucson Hybrid
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid

Kia hybrids

  • Kia Niro Hybrid
  • Kia Sportage Hybrid
  • Kia Sorento Hybrid

The hybrid range at Lexus

  • Lexus UX 250h
  • Lexus NX350h
  • Lexus ES300h
  • Lexus RX450h
  • Lexus RX L 450h
  • Lexus LS500h
  • Lexus LC500h

Only one hybrid Mazda in the catalog

Nissan cars equipped with a hybrid engine

  • Nissan Juke Hybrid 143
  • Nissan Qashqai e-Power 190
  • Nissan X-Trail e-Power 204
  • Nissan X-Trail e-Power 213 e-4ORCE

Renault’s hybrid range

  • Renault Clio E-Tech Hybride 145
  • Renault Captur E-Tech Hybride 145
  • Renault Arkana E-Tech Hybride 145
  • Renault Austral E-Tech Hybride 160
  • Renault Austral E-Tech Hybride 200

Subaru hybrids

  • Subaru Impreza e-Boxer
  • Subaru XV e-Boxer
  • Subaru Forester e-Boxer

Suzuki hybrid vehicles

  • Suzuki Swace 1.8 e-CVT Hybrid
  • Suzuki Vitara 1.5 Dualjet Hybrid
  • Suzuki Vitara 1.5 Dualjet Hybrid AllGrip
  • Suzuki S-Cross 1.5 Dualjet Hybrid
  • Suzuki S-Cross 1.5 Dualjet Hybrid AllGrip

Toyota’s hybrid models

  • Toyota Yaris 116h
  • Toyota Yaris Cross 116h
  • Toyota Yaris Cross 116h AWD-i
  • Toyota C-HR 122h
  • Toyota C-HR 184h
  • Toyota Corolla 122h
  • Toyota Corolla 184h
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports 122h
  • Toyota Corolla Touring Sports 184h
  • Toyota RAV4 218h
  • Toyota RAV4 222h AWD-i
  • Toyota Camry 218h
  • Toyota Highlander 248h AWD

to summarize

Our journalist-tester explains and deciphers three different names to define the same technology on board our cars: the self-recharging hybrid, non-recharging and full hybrid.

Quentin Cazergues

MenLife: the everyday man’s network

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