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HomeRenault info & support‘Classic’ hybrid car VS plug-in hybrid car

What is the difference between a ‘classic’ hybrid car and a plug-in hybrid car?

The big difference is the battery capacity. The battery of a 'classic' hybrid car called 'full hybrid' has a capacity of approximately 1.2 kWh while the battery of a rechargeable hybrid car (PHEV or Plug-in) has a capacity of approximately 9.8 kWh. This allows the plug-in hybrid car to drive a longer distance in 100% electric mode than the ‘classic’ hybrid car.
Hybrid cars use two motors: a combustion engine and an electric one.


In the case of a ‘classic’ hybrid car, the two motors work together like a dynamo thanks to two different energy sources. Both motors put their power to work when the car accelerates. When the vehicle is running at full throttle, the highly stressed internal combustion engine is assisted by the electric motor. When the car decelerates, the electric motor takes over while recharging its battery using the kinetic energy captured. With a ‘classic’ hybrid car, there is no need to recharge the vehicle, you fill up with fuel as usual, and you are ready to hit the road


  • Lower consumption and CO2 emissions, compared to a thermal equivalent (gasoline).
  • No need to recharge at an electric terminal.
  • 80% of travel time in town in “all electric”.
  • Automatic transmission.
  • Softness/ease of use in the transition between electrical and thermal energy.
  • Energy recovery during braking, in particular with “Brake” mode.


  • Smaller trunk size.

Plug-in hybrid

A plug-in hybrid car, however, has a more powerful electric motor, a larger capacity battery and above all an external charging socket. These characteristics allow it to drive at higher speeds, over greater distances in 100% electric mode, and to choose the origin of the electricity consumed. On board, the driver can select an all-electric or hybrid driving mode via a simple command. When the battery is empty, the thermal automatically takes over. This can even be chosen to preserve the battery charge in order to switch to electric driving at the chosen time. It is important to plug your car in every day in order to recharge it and to be able to take full advantage of all its advantages, because its weight is, on the other hand, more substantial. Therefore, without recharging, fuel consumption can become excessive, by only using the internal combustion engine.


  • Combination of the performance of a real electric vehicle and a thermal vehicle in a single car.
  • Sufficient autonomy to make all daily journeys and cross cities in 100% electric mode.
  • Extremely low fuel consumption depending on the driving mode, from 1 l/100km. Fuel consumption varies greatly depending on route, mode and driving attitude.
  • All-in-one car: more than 800 km in hybrid mode for long journeys, 60 km in 100% electric mode for common journeys.
  • Driving comfort of an electric vehicle.
  • Choice in the origin of the electricity consumed by the vehicle.


  • During long journeys at high speed on the motorway, the electric motor is almost never in operation, so it is overweight and can generate overconsumption.
  • Smaller trunk size due to battery size.

Discover our hybrid models now for your next trip to Europe.

‘Classic’ hybrid models:

  • 5-seater Compact SUV - Renault Captur Hybrid Automatic GPS
  • 5-seater Family SUV - Renault Arkana Hybrid Automatic GPS
  • 5-seater Family SUV - Renault Austral Hybrid Automatic GPS
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