How Do Hybrid Cars Work?

This green Lexus UX-250h is driving in the city.

Hybrid electric technology has taken a major leap forward in just a few short years, making hybrid cars a realistic and affordable option for Cerritos drivers. At Lexus of Cerritos, we carry a wide range of mild hybrid and hybrid-electric vehicles — all with the capability to rival traditional gas-powered models. If you’re new to the world of hybrids and EVs, you’re probably curious about how hybrid cars work. Find out with the guide below from Lexus of Cerritos, and then explore our extensive hybrid inventory today!

Parallel Hybrid vs. Series Hybrid Vehicles

Whether you’re driving a Lexus RX Hybridor Lexus ES Hybrid, hybrids are a great choice for improving fuel economy. Just what is a hybrid car, and how does it work under the hood? A hybrid vehicle actually has two power sources: a traditional internal combustion engine, and an electric battery. In hybrid systems, the two work in concert to minimize fuel consumption. Here’s how hybrid cars work in their two most common configurations, parallel and series:

Parallel Hybrid

Most hybrids on the market today are parallel hybrids. In these vehicles, both the electric motor and the gasoline engine are connected to the transmission, whether it’s an automatic, manual, or CVT system. They work by blending both power sources.

Series Hybrid

Series hybrids also use an electric motor paired with a gasoline engine, but only the electric motor is paired with the transmission. In these vehicles, the electric motor is the sole source of power and the gasoline engine acts as a generator for the electric motor.

How Do Hybrid Cars Work Compared to Plug-In Electric Vehicles?

We went over how hybrid cars work above, but keep in mind that hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles are two distinct categories. So, how do hybrids and EVs differ? While hybrid vehicles run on the combined power of a gasoline engine and electric battery, EVs use electric power only. However, newer vehicles are beginning to blur the lines between the two. Some brands now offer plug-in hybrids, which combine the benefits of both:

  • With their increased battery packs, plug-in hybrids can go further on electric power alone. 
  • For short distances around Long Beach, you can use a plug-in hybrid much like you’d drive an EV—relying on 100% electric power all day and recharging at night.
  • If you’ll be heading out on a longer trip that exceeds the electric driving range, you can fill up on gasoline like you would with a conventional powertrain.
  • Because they don’t rely solely on electricity, hybrid plug-in vehicles take between 1 and 4 hours to fully charge.

Discover Hybrid Power with Lexus of Cerritos 

Now that you know more about hybrid and electric technology, you’re likely left with one question: how do hybrid cars work for my drives? With the number of gas-electric and plug-in electric options growing every day, it’s easier than ever to find one that suits your needs and budget! We’re happy to tell you everything you need to know so you can decide if electric power is the right solution for your Torrance drives. Contact the team at Lexus of Cerritos to get started today.


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