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

Zapping Autonews Green One-on-one with car design genius Henrik Fisker

By nature, a hybridization has several sources. In cars, hybridization is mainly defined by the combination of an internal combustion engine with one or more electric motor(s). With the announced transition to all-electric, it assumes the role of a stage, namely progressive electrification. For non-electric vehicles, the word “hybrid” appears everywhere, almost as a passport to their market acceptance. So it must be admitted that certain uses of the term turn out to be somewhat abusive. Sometimes a simple “Start & Stop” system to automatically cut and restart the engine is enough for the manufacturer to qualify its model as “hybrid”.

The case of mild hybridization

We can start a little more precisely by talking about a hybrid model with “light” or “microhybridization” hybridization. In this case, the system that shuts down the engine when stationary is connected to a small additional 24 volt or 48 volt battery, which sometimes allows it to be shut down while driving with a switch to automatic “freewheel” mode that supplies the on-board electronics while the thermal block is stopped and relieves the latter during the start-up and acceleration phases by providing a small surplus of current. But the vehicle still cannot run on electricity alone.

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

  • easy hybridization
  • non-rechargeable hybridization
  • rechargeable hybridization.

But what is a “self-charging” hybrid car, 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 involves connecting a cable connected to the electrical network (or to a generator).

Therefore, 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 port. But since it is still necessary to recharge them, this action is controlled by the vehicle itself.

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

  • During braking and deceleration, the weight of the vehicle drives the electric motor(s), which, like any electric motor, in turn create power
  • By rotating the heat engine, which is connected to the main electric motor or to a smaller auxiliary electric motor whose main role is to produce electricity (on the same principle as a generator).

These are the two methods behind the concept of “self-recharging”. Still, all electrified cars are self-chargers, whether they’re plugged in or not, whether they’re micro-hybrid or 100% electric.

When talking about self-recharging or non-recharging hybrids, these formulations can therefore seem overused. They both designate a hybrid vehicle capable of running 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 expressions

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

They are therefore opponents of “mild hybrid” (MHEV) and “full hybrid” (FHEV), respectively “moderat hybrid” and “complete hybrid” in good French.

Note that “FHEV” hybrids are sometimes referred to as “HEV”, just “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 MondeoImage credit – Ford

Here is the current list of “full hybrid” FHEV models on the market, therefore “self-rechargeable” or “non-rechargeable” as you like:

Ford’s hybrid car range

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

Hybrids in Honda’s 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 program

  • Renault Clio E-Tech Hybrid 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 cars

  • Suzuki Swift 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-charging hybrid, non-recharging and full hybrid.

Quentin Cazergues

MenLife: the everyday man’s network

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