Uses electricity or gasoline Uses electricity or gasoline

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

This car has both an electric motor and an engine that runs on gas. What makes a plug-in unique is that you can charge it with electricity, fill it with gas, or both. Plug-ins are ideal for people who need more driving range and have easy access to a power outlet or charging station.

Popular Models of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Check your local dealership for prices and availability for new and used vehicles.

2020 Ford Fusion

2020 Ford Fusion

2020 Honda Clarity

2020 Honda Clarity

2020 Chrysler Pacifica

2020 Chrysler Pacifica

Charging

Travel Distance

Clean Air Benefit

Cost

Uses electricity only

Battery Electric Vehicle

Charging

These vehicles don’t need any gas, they only run on electricity. You’ll need a place to charge the battery, either at home, at work, or at a public charging station.

Travel Distance

Most models built after 2016 can travel more than 100 miles on a single charge. Newer models can go more than 200 miles on a single charge.

Clean Air Benefit

Because these vehicles do not use gas, they are the best at keeping our air clean.

Cost

These vehicles cost more up front. But because maintenance and charging cost less than gas, they'll save you more money over time.

Uses gasoline

Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Charging

These cars do not require any charging. They run on gas, but use an electric motor to improve the car’s gas mileage.

Travel Distance

If there is gas in the tank, then the car can drive. Since it’s more fuel efficient, you’ll stop at the gas station less frequently.

Clean Air Benefit

This type of car is more polluting than the other types of electric vehicles, but cleaner than a traditional gasoline vehicle because it uses less gas per mile driven.

Cost

You’ll pay less for this car up front but it will cost more in gas over time.

Uses electricity or gasoline

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Charging

These vehicles can run on both gas and electricity. When the battery runs out of charge, the car switches to use gas.

Travel Distance

When the battery runs out of charge, it uses gas as a back-up. Most models built after 2016 can travel for more than 20 miles on a single charge. Once the charge runs out, the gas engine kicks in and you can drive until your tank is empty.

Clean Air Benefit

These vehicles are much less polluting than regular gas cars, especially when they are running on electricity only.

Cost

This type of car has slightly higher up-front costs than a regular hybrid car, but it can save you more money over time. If you can use the all-electric mode often, then cost savings will be higher.

Photo of family standing next to their electric car.

What a wonderful program! I’m absolutely stoked to have gotten this support to afford an electric-powered car (with the gas-powered generator for long trips)."

— Eli, Oakland

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I charge my electric car at home?

Battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars come with a charging cord that plugs into any standard electrical outlet in your garage or house. This cord will typically provide 3-4 miles of driving range per hour of charging. Charging overnight can give you 30-45 miles of driving range. If you are buying a used car, make sure it comes with charging equipment. For faster charging, you can use what's called a "Level 2" charger. This type of charger uses a plug that is similar to what’s used for electric clothes dryers. If you own your home you may be able to have one installed, and many of the programs on this website will help you pay for it. 

How much does a Level 2 charger cost?

The cost of buying and installing a charger at home ranges from $1,500 to $2,000, or more if you need an electrical panel upgrade. Many of the programs on this website can help you cover the costs of installing an at-home charging station, and your utility company may offer rebates as well. Find out if you can get help paying for a level 2 charger by using our benefits finder.

I live in an apartment building (or other place without a charger). How do I charge my car?

Most apartment buildings do not have electric charging stations. If you can’t charge your plug-in hybrid car at home, you can use public charging stations to avoid using gas. There are thousands of public charging stations all over the country, with more being built every day, and some of the programs on this website offer credits for public charging.

Find your nearest charging stations here: PlugShare Charging Station Map →

Is a plug-in hybrid car cheaper to drive than my gas-powered car?

Yes. While the exact cost varies based on the price you pay for electricity, driving on electricity is significantly cheaper than driving on gasoline. With a plug-in hybrid, you get the cost savings of electricity plus the long driving range of gasoline.

Are plug-in hybrid cars as safe as my old car? 

Plug-in hybrid cars are safe. These cars must meet the same level of safety standards as all other cars. This means that a plug-in hybrid car is just as safe as a standard gas-powered car. 

How long will the battery last?

Electric car batteries are designed to last more than 10 years. California law requires electric cars to have at least a 10-year or 150,000 mile warranty. 

Will my insurance costs go up with a plug-in hybrid?

Insuring an EV is just like insuring a gas car. The price of insurance will depend on the cost of the car, combined with other factors like your driving record, where you live, how much you drive, and your deductible. Insurance for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles tends to cost a little more because the cars are more expensive. You can get quotes from your insurance company before you make the decision to buy.