Learn the facts: Hybrid-electric vehicles

What is the issue?

Hybrid vehicle technology is becoming increasingly prominent in passenger vehicles as automakers respond to progressively more stringent greenhouse gas regulations and consumer demand.

What do I need to know?

Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) – or hybrids – use both a conventional internal combustion engine and an electric motor to achieve greater overall fuel efficiency. HEVs use innovative strategies to improve vehicle efficiency such as:

  1. capturing the energy otherwise lost during braking and storing it in the battery for future use
  2. propelling the vehicle by using either the conventional internal combustion engine or the electric motor or both
  3. turning off the conventional internal combustion engine when the vehicle is stopped
  4. reducing the vehicle’s weight and rolling resistance
  5. improving aerodynamics
  6. reducing the size of the conventional internal combustion engine
  • Innovative strategies used in HEVs make them more energy-efficient than gasoline-only vehicles. The HEV uses regenerative braking technology to recover energy that otherwise would have been wasted as heat during braking. The HEV also turns off the internal combustion engine when it is not needed, instead using only the electrical system for operations such as deceleration and initial acceleration and for operating auxiliary components while the vehicle is stopped.
  • An HEV combines a small conventional propulsion system with an electric propulsion system to maintain the performance of a conventional vehicle. The electric propulsion system also helps to reduce noise and vibration, providing a smoother driving experience.
  • When operating in electric-only mode, the HEV emits no carbon dioxide (CO2) or other emissions.
  • Hybrid vehicle choices are growing. Automakers now offer a larger selection of hybrid vehicles, with over 30 models in Canada as of the 2016 model year. Although automakers use different approaches and varying degrees of hybridization, all HEVs have battery packs that are charged with electricity generated by the vehicle, either through regenerative braking or the internal combustion engine. HEV battery packs are not charged from the electric grid, therefore these hybrids have no plug-in charger.

How can I help?

  • Consider purchasing a hybrid vehicle if:
    • You want to improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.
    • You want to lower the fuel costs of your vehicle.
    • You want to lower your CO2 emissions.
  • Be a knowledgeable buyer! 
    When you purchase a vehicle, ask about existing and planned hybrid vehicle options. Ask for a cost, environmental and performance comparison and decide whether a hybrid makes sense for you.

What are the savings and benefits?

Hybrid vehicles offer the greatest benefits over a longer period of time. The higher purchase price of a hybrid can be recouped through lower fuel costs. The following table provides comparisons between hybrid and non-hybrid models. The hybrid option offers fuel savings and CO2 reductions of 25% on average. Actual savings depend on the specific vehicle and its operating conditions.

The table provides comparisons between hybrid and non-hybrid models.
Make and model City fuel consumption rating
(L/100 km)
Highway fuel consumption rating
(L/100 km)
Combined fuel consumption rating
(L/100 km)
Annual fuel consumption Annual CO2 emissions Reduction in fuel
consumption and CO2 emissions
ACURA RLX 11.9 7.7 10.0 2,000 L 4,700 kg -
ACURA RLX HYBRID 8.0 7.5 7.7 1,540 L 3,600 kg 23%
AUDI Q5 QUATTRO 12.0 8.5 10.4 2,080 L 4,880 kg -
AUDI Q5 HYBRID QUATTRO 9.8 7.9 8.9 1,780 L 4,180 kg 14%
BUICK LACROSSE FFV 13.7 8.6 11.4 2,280 L 5,360 kg -
BUICK LACROSSE eASSIST 9.6 6.5 8.2 1,640 L 3,860 kg 28%
BUICK REGAL 11.4 7.9 9.8 1,960 L 4,620 kg -
BUICK REGAL eASSIST 9.6 6.5 8.2 1,640 L 3,860 kg 16%
CHEVROLET MALIBU 8.7 6.3 7.6 1,520 L 3,580 kg -
CHEVROLET MALIBU HYBRID 5.0 5.1 5.1 1,020 L 2,440 kg 33%
FORD FUSION 10.5 7.0 8.9 1,780 L 4,200 kg -
FORD FUSION HYBRID 5.4 5.7 5.5 1,100 L 2,600 kg 38%
HYUNDAI SONATA 10.4 7.4 9.1 1,820 L 4,280 kg -
HYUNDAI SONATA HYBRID 5.9 5.3 5.6 1,120 L 2,660 kg 38%
INFINITI Q50 12.1 8.1 10.3 2,060 L 4,840 kg -
INFINITI Q50 HYBRID 8.4 6.9 7.7 1,540 L 3,620 kg 25%
INFINITI Q50 AWD 12.3 8.5 10.6 2,120 L 4,980 kg -
INFINITI Q50 HYBRID AWD 8.7 7.6 8.2 1,640 L 3,860 kg 23%
INFINITI QX60 AWD 12.2 8.9 10.7 2,140 L 5,040 kg -
INFINITI QX60 HYBRID AWD 8.9 8.4 8.7 1,740 L 4,080 kg 19%
KIA OPTIMA 9.4 6.5 8.1 1,620 L 3,860 kg -
KIA OPTIMA HYBRID 6.6 5.9 6.3 1,260 L 2,940 kg 22%
LINCOLN MKZ 10.5 7.0 8.9 1,780 L 4,200 kg -
LINCOLN MKZ HYBRID 5.7 6.0 5.8 1,160 L 2,720 kg 35%
SUBARU XV CROSSTREK AWD 9.1 7.0 8.1 1,620 L 3,820 kg -
SUBARU XV CROSSTREK HYBRID AWD 7.9 6.9 7.5 1,500 L 3,500 kg 7%
TOYOTA CAMRY 9.4 6.7 8.2 1,640 L 3,840 kg -
TOYOTA CAMRY HYBRID LE 5.5 6.0 5.7 1,140 L 2,680 kg 30%
TOYOTA HIGHLANDER AWD 13.0 9.8 11.6 2,320 L 5,440 kg -
TOYOTA HIGHLANDER HYBRID AWD LE 8.4 8.3 8.4 1,680 L 3,900 kg 28%
TOYOTA RAV4 AWD 10.5 8.2 9.5 1,900 L 4,400 kg -
TOYOTA RAV4 HYBRID AWD 6.9 7.6 7.2 1,440 L 3,380 kg 24%
VOLKSWAGEN JETTA 8.5 6.0 7.3 1,460 L 3,460 kg -
VOLKSWAGEN JETTA HYBRID 5.7 4.9 5.3 1,060 L 2,480 kg 27%
 

Note: Model year 2016 vehicles. Annual figures are based on the combined rating and a driving distance of 20,000 km.