Industry-standard hybrid abbreviations quickly explained.

Many hybrid terms are automotive vocabulary and need only a simple explanation to be understood. For example, what is the difference between micro and mild hybrid? Is a hybrid car a high-voltage vehicle? Here in the Battery Knowledge banner, as always, you'll find the answer.

Let's go!

In principle, a hybrid car is always a compromise between an electric car and a combustion engine (except for micro-hybrids).

It has at least two different drive technologies (combustion engine and electric motor) and separate energy storage systems - i.e. batteries for the drive (Li-Ion) and on-board power supply (lead-acid technology conventional, EFB or AGM). The two drives work individually or in combination, this enables optimal efficiency and thus improves efficiency, range and at the same time reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. As already mentioned, a hybrid vehicle also has an electrical storage system. The larger and more powerful, the further it can be driven purely electrically.

In contrast, electromobility means that a vehicle is fully or partially electrically powered, which, from a purely technical point of view, can be an e-car or also a hybrid car.


A micro-hybrid is a start-stop vehicle, usually with recuperation (=brake energy recovery), a more powerful starter and on-board battery (EFB or AGM technology), reinforced starter (starter motor) but always WITHOUT an additional electric motor!


Performance parameters (approx. values):

  • Generator output (alternator acts as engine brake) 2-3 kW
  • Voltage 12V
  • Fuel saving <10 % by:

+start-stop function

+Recuperation (=brake energy recovery) on most models

Mild hybrid

A mild hybrid is additionally equipped with a (small) electric motor and a more powerful battery. The heart of mild hybrid technology is a more powerful starter generator (often a belt starter generator). This is an electric motor that supplies power to or replaces the alternator, for example, and also controls the main vehicle electrical system. The electric auxiliary drive is used exclusively as a support when starting off and for more power when overtaking, the so-called "boosting".

The available torques of the combustion engine and electric motor are thus added together.



Performance parameters (approx. values):

  • Electric motor power 10-15 kW
  • Voltage 42-150V (high voltage >60V DC)
  • Fuel saving >10 % through:

+automatic start/stop

+Recuperation (=brake energy recovery)

+boost function*


A full hybrid can not only "boost" but also drive purely electrically - for example in city traffic. A complete electric drivetrain is installed, combined with a much more powerful drive battery.


Performance parameters (approx. values):

  • E-motor power >15 kW
  • Voltage >100V (high voltage)
  • Fuel saving 15-20 % due to:

+start-stop technology

+recuperation (=brake energy recovery)

+boost function*

+Electric driving

Plug-in hybrid

Is a special form of the full hybrid with one major difference:

The batteries of plug-in hybrid cars are also charged by means of a plug via the external power grid ("plug-in hybrid") and are capable of covering shorter distances (usually around 30-100 km) completely electrically, as well as covering further distances comfortably by means of an internal combustion engine.

This is why they are classified as e-cars, even if the conventional drive is combined with the electric one.


Performance parameters (approx. values):

  • E-motor power >15 kW
  • Voltage >100V (high voltage)
  • Fuel saving >20 % due to:

+start-stop system

+recuperation (=brake energy recovery)

+boost function*

+Electric driving


*Boost function: The electric motor supports the combustion engine, especially when starting off and overtaking ("boosting").

Important to know:

Electrical energy can also be stored in so-called capacitors ("supercaps").

These can absorb and release energy in a matter of seconds and also reduce the load on the battery. Some car manufacturers often use these capacitors in addition to the starter and on-board power supply batteries that are still needed - because where else can excess energy be safely fed in?


In most countries, only hybrid cars (e.g. plug-in hybrids) that can be charged from the mains are considered electric cars and are therefore eligible for subsidies or benefits such as the eco-rebate!


Definition for the term high-voltage vehicle (hybrid car, e-car).

Systems and components that are operated in a motor vehicle >60V DC (Direct Current = Direct Current) or >30V AC (Alternating Current = Alternating Current) are referred to as high-voltage (HV) systems or HV vehicles.



Banner tip: How do you calculate the electric range of a hybrid car?

Quite simply with the formula:

"battery capacity" divided by "energy consumption per 100 km" times "100".

A calculation example: Our hybrid car has a max. battery capacity of 100 kWh with the energy consumption of 25 kWh per 100 km, then the calculated range is approx. 400 km.

Now this is only a theoretical value: factors such as driving behaviour, selected driving mode, route conditions, payload or ambient temperature influence the vehicle range and thus lead to sometimes massive deviations!

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