Hybrid vehicles are common in Australia and provide the benefits of having both an electric and petrol motor. If you’re wondering whether a hybrid vehicle might work for you, here’s what to consider.
What is a hybrid vehicle?
A hybrid vehicle can run on both petrol/diesel and electric power. They are a cheaper alternative to a fully electric vehicle and provide the benefits of having better fuel economy and reduced impact on the environment than a standard car with only a petrol or diesel motor.
There are 2 types of hybrid vehicles:
- non-plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs)
- plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)
Non-plug-in hybrid electric vehicles do not need to be plugged into an outlet. They use the electricity generated by driving the car, such as from the braking system or kinetic energy when you stop accelerating, to recharge the battery. These types of vehicles run on electric power only when the vehicle is driving at low speeds.
The fuel type for non-plug-in hybrid electric vehicles is listed as ‘electric/petrol’ or ‘electric/diesel’ on the Green Vehicle Guide.
Plug-in hybrid vehicles have a battery that can be plugged into a power outlet or charging station and they also have a petrol or diesel engine, allowing you to refuel at a traditional service station. Plug-in hybrids can travel further on electric power than non-plug-in hybrids.
The fuel type for plug-in hybrid vehicles is listed as ‘plug-in electric/petrol’ or ‘plug-in electric/diesel’ on the Green Vehicle Guide.
How much does a hybrid vehicle cost to buy?
Hybrid vehicles generally cost more to buy than a traditional petrol or diesel vehicle but are cheaper than most electric-only vehicles. However, hybrid vehicles have become more cost competitive since the first models were introduced in the early 2000s and will continue to do so, as more models become available in Australia.
Some states and territories offer discounts on stamp duty and/or registration charges on hybrid vehicles. More information on state and territory concessions for hybrid vehicles can be found through the links below:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
The Luxury Car Tax applies a rate of 33 per cent to the purchase price of a vehicle, above a price threshold of $89,332 for fuel efficient vehicles, or $76,950 for other vehicles in 2023-24.
Hybrid vehicles that use less than seven litres of fuel per 100km and cost less than $89,332 (GST inclusive, but excluding state/territory stamp duty and registration charges), are exempt from the luxury car tax.
Building on the higher luxury car tax threshold for fuel efficient vehicles, the Australian Government has introduced the Electric Car Discount. As part of the discount, zero and low emission cars, below the luxury car tax threshold for fuel efficient vehicles, will be exempt from import tariffs and fringe benefits tax.
This measure will apply to battery electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, first made available for use on or after 1 July 2022. This measure will no longer apply to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, first made available for use on or after 1 July 2022, from 1 April 2025.
For more information on the fringe benefits tax exemptions for electric cars, visit the Australian Taxation Office.
The cost of charging an EV will depend on where you charge it and your home electricity plan. It is generally more expensive to charge an EV at a public charging station than at home.
For a plug-in hybrid it will also depend on:
- where you recharge it
- how often you recharge it
- your home electricity plan.
It is generally more expensive to charge at a public charging station than at home. It is also more expensive to run a plug-in hybrid on petrol or diesel power if the battery is low.
The home charging calculator can help you estimate the cost to charge a plug-in hybrid vehicle at home and how long it may take to charge your vehicle.
Plug-in hybrid vehicles registered in some states and territories may have to pay a distance-based charge, in addition to registration charges. More information on these charges is available from the relevant state/territory registration authority listed below:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales (Road user charge planned from 2027)
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Victoria (Road user charge in force)
- Western Australia (Road user charge planned from 2027)
How and where can I charge/refuel a hybrid vehicle? How long does it take to charge a hybrid vehicle?
All hybrid vehicles can be refuelled at a service station. Some hybrids may need to use premium grades of petrol (95/98 RON).
A plug-in hybrid vehicle can be charged at home from a normal wall outlet. This could take several hours, especially if your battery is low.
Keeping your battery around 80 per cent charged, whenever you can, will help maximise your vehicle’s battery range and battery life and reduce the money you spend on petrol or diesel fuel.
To maximise battery capacity and minimise battery degradation:
- keep your battery at least 20 per cent charged at all times
- where possible, charge to 80 per cent
- use fast chargers only when necessary.
For faster charging at home, you can install a special charging outlet. These can be purchased from your vehicle’s manufacturer or a company that sells charging equipment for electric vehicles.
Public charging outlets that can charge your vehicle from low to 80 per cent in less than 30 minutes are also becoming more widely available. Federal, state, territory and local governments are funding new public fast charging stations to support electric vehicles. For a list of public charging stations see the Electric Vehicle Council's website.
What emissions are produced by a hybrid vehicle?
Hybrid vehicles produce exhaust emissions when they run on the petrol or diesel engines. However, their exhaust emissions will be lower than similar petrol or diesel vehicles.
Additional emissions may be produced:
- to generate the electricity to charge the battery
- to refine and transport the fuel to power a petrol/diesel engine
- to manufacture a vehicle and its battery
- from tyre, brake and road wear.
The lifecycle emissions page has more information to help you estimate your emissions from electricity generation and fuel use. For technical reasons, it is not possible to estimate emissions for manufacturing individual vehicle models.
What models are available in Australia? How far can they travel without recharging/refuelling?
Hybrid and plug-in hybrid models available in Australia estimated battery range can be accessed using the vehicle search feature.
All hybrid models sold in Australia can travel around 50km on battery power.
Your vehicle’s fuel consumption will be higher when your battery is low. On-road fuel consumption and battery range will also be affected by individual circumstances, including:
- how much weight your vehicle is carrying
- use of accessories such as heating or air-conditioning;
- acceleration and braking
- the battery charge level and trip distance.
Please note the fuel consumption and battery range figures on the label and Green Vehicle Guide are based on a test performed in controlled conditions.
Fuel and energy consumption figures for plug-in hybrids are also based on the combined result of a test on battery power and second test on petrol or diesel power. Your vehicle’s fuel consumption will be higher when your battery is low.