Hybrid FAQs

Your questions, answered

Answering your questions about self-charging Hybrids.

What is a Hybrid car?

A Toyota self-charging Hybrid combines a petrol engine with an electric motor, powered by a battery which the car charges itself. Find out more on our What Is Hybrid page.

How does a Hybrid car work?

The automatic transmission and the self-charging Hybrid system constantly optimise the source of power. The petrol engine and the electric motor work together to deliver extra power and responsive torque, as and when you need it. When driving in all electric EV-mode, it can go from 0-50 km/h without producing any emissions whatsoever. 

Our Hybrid battery is not like a standard car battery, but a much more sophisticated component which has been designed and engineered by Toyota to last – and keep working – for the entire lifetime of your car. Unlike a pure electric ‘plug-in’ vehicle that needs to have its battery recharged after a long journey, a Hybrid battery continually recharges itself when your car is in motion. It does this as you drive, through the car wheels turning; and even when you use your brakes, through a process called ‘regenerative energy’.

In effect, Hybrid cars are like small generators, continually topping their battery power up with electricity and then using it to power the electric engine - and saving on fuel costs.

How is Hybrid self-charging?

We have found that many people are confused about the different powertrain options and come into Toyota showrooms asking about how they plug in our hybrids. However Toyota hybrids are self-charging and don’t have to be plugged in. Our hybrids produce electricity in two ways:
- Firstly, the hybrid system recharges the battery by recovering energy from the braking system while driving.
- Secondly when the engine is performing efficiently, electricity is generated by the car.
This is all controlled automatically by the hybrid system without any need for input from the driver.

Many tests, including here in Ireland, have shown that our hybrids are in EV mode for over 50% of the time. You can read a study from UCD Ireland on EV mode time in typical commuting conditions by clicking here.

Are Hybrid’s suited to motorway driving?

Yes, hybrids are suitable for motorway driving and long-distance driving. A Hybrid car can be in EV mode (zero emissions mode) in speeds up to 125km/hour. In a UCD study, undertaken in November 2018, it was shown that our hybrids are in EV mode for over 50% of the time. This study incorporated commutes that included motorway driving. You can read the UCD Study on this link.

Do you have to plug in a Hybrid to charge it?

No. The Hybrid system recharges the battery by recovering energy from the braking system and whilst driving. 

It is all controlled automatically without any need for input from the driver. So, issues such as: ‘how to charge a Hybrid car’, ‘where are the Hybrid charging points located’, or ‘where is my nearest Hybrid charging station?’ do not apply.

When is a Hybrid in EV mode?

A hybrid can drive in electric mode for up to 50% of your journey. The electric motor can exclusively drive the car, without dependence on the petrol engine and it’s this electric motor which is self-charging. The Hybrid system knows when to switch between the electric power source and the conventional engine. The result is, you could be driving on a road at 60KM p/h and be in pure electric mode generating zero emissions. So how is electricity generated, to allow a Hybrid drive in pure electric mode for up to 50%? It’s done in two ways;
a. Electricity is generated by the engine as the car is driving when the engine efficiency is high. 
b. Regenerative braking – During deceleration and while depressing the brake pedal, part of the energy that normally would be lost as heat is collected as electrical energy to be reused, such as for motor power. It’s important to note that energy regeneration to create electricity can be created even when the car is driving in pure electric mode. Therefore electricity is generated without the direct usage of the engine or fossil fuels.

Are all Hybrid’s Automatic?

Yes, all Toyota Hybrids are automatic. In 2019, just over 30% of all new car sales in Ireland are now automatic and growing every year. An automatic transmission provides a much smoother, more relaxing driving experience as you’re not constantly using the clutch or changing gears. In fact, research has proven that people who drive a Hybrid are happier than manual drivers after a regular commute.

What is the MPG in a Toyota Hybrid?

Official figures are up to 94 mpg, but in real world driving on Irish roads in rural Ireland the regular reports are just over 65 mpg in a Corolla.

What is the towing capacity of a Hybrid model?

Towing capacity of a Hybrid model - Towing Capacity with brakes (kg)
Yaris Hybrid    0
Corolla 1.8 Hybrid Hatchback    750
Corolla 2.0 Hybrid Hatchback    750
Corolla Hybrid T/Sports    750
Corolla Hybrid Saloon    750
C-HR Hybrid    725
Rav4 Hybrid 2WD    800
Rav4 Hybrid AWD    1650
Prius    725
Prius PHEV    0
Prius +    0
Camry    0

What is the difference between a Mild Hybrid and a Full Hybrid ?

Mild Hybrids or as they’re often called “fake hybrids”, do not deliver the benefits a full Hybrid engine. Toyota’s self-charging hybrid batteries are strong enough to drive at moderate speeds (60 KM per Hour) in pure EV mode, while a mild Hybrid cannot drive in pure EV mode at any speed (0% EV drive time). In fact, our hybrids can spend up to 50% of their drive time driving in electric mode.

This in turn delivers multiple benefits around C02 and fuel savings over a mild Hybrid. Another key difference is that most mild Hybrids are manual transmission unlike full Hybrids which are all automatic, delivering a much smoother, more relaxing drive.  Learn more about the differences between a mild Hybrid and full Hybrid here in our helpful Hybrid Guide.

What’s the difference between a Hybrid and a diesel/petrol engine?

A Toyota self-charging Hybrid combines a petrol engine with an electric motor whereas a standard diesel/petrol car doesn’t have an electric motor. 

A Toyota Hybrid has the advantage of being able to switch to its electric motor to drive in heavy traffic, built-up areas or at slower speeds, thereby using no fuel at all to power its conventional engine. 

Of course, as you increase speed or change to motorway driving in your Hybrid vehicle, the conventional engine will kick in to give you added power and then start to use fuel as an ordinary car.

Does a Hybrid save you fuel?

Yes, a Hybrid provides up to 30% better fuel economy to a comparable petrol engine and 10% to 15% better fuel economy to a Diesel engine. On average, at least 50% of the journey time for our Hybrid test drives is spent purely in electric mode. This means during this time the conventional engine is not needed for power and therefore no fuel has to be used. It’s important to remember the multiple other benefits of driving a Hybrid over a conventional car, including the fact that a Hybrid provides 90% less NOX than an diesel car.

What is “Regenerative Braking”?

Unlike a conventional car, your self-charging Hybrid uses the engine to recharge its electric batteries and keep them topped up for use. 

It also uses an advanced regenerative braking system to charge its batteries too, so even when decelerating or braking on a steep hill, for example, the driver is reclaiming electricity – thereby adding to the fuel efficiency of the hybrid.

What are the advantages of driving Hybrid?

There are numerous advantages of driving a Toyota self-charging Hybrid for example you gain achieve up to 30% better fuel efficiency, on average 30% less maintenance costs because Hybrid vehicles have less wear and tear on items like brake discs and tyres, and you don’t have a clutch.

You also emit up to 40% less CO2 and up to 90% less NOX when compared with diesel engines. 

Find out more on our Hybrid Benefits page.

What is the difference between a Hybrid and a Plug-in Hybrid?

A Toyota self-charging Hybrid does not need to be plugged in, ever. The battery is recharged through regenerative braking when you press the brake pedal while driving. 

A Plug-In Hybrid vehicle like the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid , has all the benefits of being a Hybrid, but also has the benefits of extended Electric Vehicle (EV) driving thanks to a dedicated EV battery. As the name suggests you plug-in to charge up the second electric motor. The EV battery is fully charged in approximately 2 hours.

Is there a warranty on the Hybrid battery?

Each Toyota Self Charging Hybrid comes with a 3 year or 100,000km comprehensive warranty and a standard five-year or 100,000km warranty for Hybrid parts. **The Hybrid battery warranty can be renewed annually for up to 15 years from the date of registration by completing a Hybrid Health Check from the 6th year. On successful completion of the Hybrid Health Check the battery will benefit from a further one year’s (or 15,000km) Hybrid Battery Extended Care cover. The Hybrid Health Check (HHC) is included with any Hybrid Service.

How long do Hybrids last?

They are built to last as long as conventional vehicles.

How long does the Hybrid battery last?

The battery is designed to last the life of the vehicle. Some US owners have already passed 250,000 miles.

Will the Hybrid battery lose its strength the more it is used?

No, the battery will maintain sufficient energy storage for its lifetime. Even frequent use of electric-only mode will have no adverse effect.

What happens if the battery goes flat in a Hybrid car?

The on-board computer makes sure the Hybrid battery never discharges completely. There is a conventional battery as well that is treated just like the battery in a non self-charging Hybrid.

What happens if the battery goes flat in a Plug-In Hybrid car?

As the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid has a dedicated battery to EV only driving, if this battery goes flat the Hybrid system will continue to work as normal. So when you next find a charge point, simply plug it in to charge up the EV battery.

How much is it to replace a Hybrid battery?

In the unlikely event that you need to change a Hybrid battery, it is possible to replace a Hybrid battery beyond its warranty. Prices vary depending on model. Please contact your local Toyota dealer for more details.

Does Hybrid suit any annual mileage?

The average annual mileage In Ireland is 18,000kms per year. We typically recommend that anyone driving 30,000kms per year or 2,500 kms per month should consider switching to self-charging Hybrid. Meaning that Hybrid would suit the vast majority of motorists.

Is Hybrid the enemy of electric cars?

Absolutely not. Similar to the Irish Government, Toyota too has a vision for a zero emissions society, which can be a reality by 2050. To help achieve this, Toyota’s self-charging Hybrid which are in electric mode for 30-50% of the time, should be viewed as part of the solution as we move towards full electrification.

Is fuel economy as good as the official figures suggest?

As with conventional vehicles, actual consumption differs depending on the nature of the journey and the driving style. It takes a little practice to get the best from the car, but whilst some have claimed they can't match the official figures, others exceed them.

Can a Hybrid continue to run on electricity when it runs out of fuel?

Although our self-charging Hybrids are designed to operate in electric–only modes, they have not been designed to run without petrol. Doing so could cause severe damage to the Hybrid system. 

However, the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid can drive up to 50km in EV only mode as it has a dedicated EV battery.

Can you get an electric shock?

In an accident and under maintenance there is no risk of an electric shock. The battery is securely enclosed and if any abnormality is detected the computer will cut off the high voltage and prevent any escaping. There is also a service plug which can be used for manual disconnection.

Is there a risk of radiation from the batteries?

No. Our self-charging Hybrids have World Health Organisation certificates of compliance for non ionizing radiation both inside and outside the vehicle.

How do we know Hybrid technology is reliable when it is so new?

Toyota launched the first Prius to the public in 1997, and have since sold over 10 million hybrids. They have proved just as reliable as conventional vehicles.

Is the Hybrid really environmentally friendly when you take the entire life cycle of the vehicle into account?

Over its entire life cycle from production to disposal, Toyota self-charging Hybrids have a lower impact on the environment than conventional vehicles. The majority of emissions do come from fuel used in driving, so emitting up to 40% less CO2 and up to 90% less NOx than competitors quickly compensates for the limited amount of extra energy used in manufacture.

What happens to the batteries when the car is eventually disposed of?

A free recycling system is in place for all the batteries we produce. They are processed at purpose built plants, the nickel-iron for example being recycled into stainless steel. The Prius, for example, is now 95% recyclable.

How does Toyota Hybrid compare with 'clean diesel' technology?

Hybrid significantly reduces NOx by up to 90% and CO2 emissions by up to 40% when compared to diesel and offers improved fuel economy. No current diesel can offer these three advantages to the same extent.

Will different transmissions be available with Hybrid?

No, the current automatic transmission, a unique version of E-CVT, is an essential component of the Hybrid.

Is servicing a Hybrid more expensive?

Toyota self-charging Hybrids have been continually refined for reliability and performance to the extent that Hybrid car maintenance, servicing costs and servicing frequency - are no more than for conventional cars. In fact they have on average 30% less maintenance costs as they have less wear and tear on items like the brake discs and there is no clutch. 

Toyota’s own Hybrid Health Check is included for free with any Hybrid Service.