Mild Hybrid Cars Explained: What are they? And should I get one?

Natalie McGinness 4 minutes Published: 08/11/2022

Considering taking to the roads with something a little more environmentally friendly? But with so many options perhaps you’re finding yourself confused?

At Lease Fetcher we want to help clarify the differences between the huge range of hybrids. With the car market offering up self-charging, plug-in and mild hybrid, it’s easy to be overwhelmed when making a decision on which one is best for you.

In this article, we’re going to help you fully understand what a mild hybrid (MHEV) is, and whether you should get one. 

So whether you’ve got a petrol guzzling SUV in the drive or a nippy city car, we’re here to help you understand what a mild hybrid is, to help make your transition to low emission that little bit bit easier.

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What is a Mild Hybrid car?

Hybrid cars have become huge players in the low emission game, especially for drivers who need a mild transition into the electric car world. 

Compared to a full hybrid, mild hybrid cars are powered by a battery-powered electric motor. It helps support the traditional combustion engine to help improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions - which is why they’re a great choice.

This may sound hugely similar to a self-charging hybrid, especially as mild hybrids also use regenerative braking to charge the battery whilst driving. However, unlike a self-charging hybrid, a mild hybrid’s electric motor is not powerful enough to power the car on its own. 

The battery-powered electric motor is only powerful enough to assist the engine, hence why it is called “mild”. However, a seamless integration of the electric motor with the combustion engine uses any stored energy to provide extra torque. So it may be mild by name, but rest assured it’s not mild by nature.

How does a Mild Hybrid work?

Much like a regular hybrid, a mild hybrid works by offering electrical assistance to the engine, only at a much gentler speed and range. 

The key difference between mild hybrid cars and other hybrid variations is that a full, self-charging or plug-in hybrid has a powerful enough motor to power the car and provide pure electric range, whereas a mild hybrid doesn’t. This means that every time you drive, you will always use the combustion engine alongside the electric battery

Internally, the mechanics of a mild hybrid operate the same as any other hybrid, with a battery that uses regenerative braking and charges each time you brake. This eliminates the need for any plug-in charging like a plug-in hybrid or electric car

Do Mild Hybrid cars need charging?

Charging time can certainly be a determining factor when purchasing a hybrid or electric car. So, if you’re wondering if mild hybrid cars need charging, quite simply no, mild hybrid cars do not need charging. 

The technology that powers a mild hybrid car works on regenerative braking, which is where wasted energy used to brake and slow down is recycled back into the car. Therefore, as the energy comes from simply driving the car there is no need to plug in and charge the car up.

The only thing mild hybrid cars need you to do (other than drive them) is to fill them up with the fuel that powers them. 

What kind of journey’s are Mild Hybrids best suited to?

Range anxiety is a huge deciding factor in the electric car buying journey. Whether it’s the fastest electric car available or the most stylish EV on the market, if the electric range is poor, you’ll struggle to get your money’s worth.

Since mild hybrid cars essentially have an electric range of zero, as they simply assist the combustion engine (electrically), you will never experience range anxiety. Therefore, mild hybrids are suited to any and every journey, no matter the distance!

Are mild hybrids worth it? Should I get one?

If you’ve reached the end of our article and still find yourself asking “are mild hybrid cars worth it?” Please read on. 

We can’t give you a definitive answer to the question of course. As like anything else, it depends on your needs and what you’re looking for. 

Mild hybrid cars definitely make a great choice, as they offer better fuel economy and lower fuel emissions than a traditional petrol or diesel car. Whilst you don’t get the complete emission free pride that you do with an electric car, it’s certainly a step in the right, environmentally-friendly direction. 

Plus, as the electric motor assists the combustion engine, many mild hybrid drivers say they experience a smooth ride as the torque isn’t compromised and the engine doesn’t need to work as hard.  

Some of the most popular mild hybrid models include the Fiat 500, Ford Puma, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson - each collectively amassing numerous industry awards.


After a mild dive into mild hybrids, we hope we have given you a strong enough explanation of what they are to help you make your decision.

Mild by name and mild by nature. Yes, they may provide the smallest electric capabilities out of all the low emission options currently available, but it is certainly a greener choice than pure petrol or diesel. 

Their lack of requirement for charging, reduces any potential range anxiety and eliminates the need to source a public car charger or install an electric car charger at home - another win!

Either way, whether mild hybrid cars are for you or not, we hope we have educated you!

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