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What is EV Mode? Hybrid Technology Explored

by Emily Nicholls | Updated: January 9th, 2023
Two Charging EV

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I believe that the many modes for electric vehicles can be confusing and it can be difficult to know exactly what they are for, and the pros and cons. EV mode is no exception. 

EV mode or electric vehicle mode is a mode specific to hybrid and PHEV, which when used means that the car uses only the power from the car’s battery. While this increases a car’s efficiency it also means it has less power than it otherwise would. 

What is EV Mode?

When you use EV Mode in a hybrid vehicle, it stops using the petrol or diesel engine, and instead uses the electric motor. Two things need to happen in order for a hybrid to have ECO mode, it needs to have the ability to drive solely on electric power and its available battery capacity needs to be sufficient for the electric motor to take over as the power source. 

When should I use EV mode?

Since EV mode means that your vehicle does not have access to its usual amount of power, it is only recommended for specific scenarios such as when the vehicle is moving slowly perhaps driving through a car park or through an urban setting with a lot of stops and starts. Furthermore, EV mode is generally only used for short distances at a time, unless it has a larger electric drive battery that enables it to drive for longer and slightly longer. 

Drivers should be extra vigilant when using EV mode since the vehicle is essentially working as an electric car and as such, is practically silent. So, other road users may not be aware of your presence and so extra caution is recommended. 

Which types of hybrids have EV mode?

hybrid car

Since hybrids have to have an electric motor capable of being used as the only power source, some hybrids are known as ‘mild hybrids’ are not able to do this and therefore do not have this feature. Self-charging hybrids, however, do generally have this feature.

However, EV mode is far more prevalent in PHEVs, due to their larger electric drive batteries that work with the combustion engines, which enables them to work as wholly electric vehicles for a few miles at a time.

What Are The Benefits of EV Mode?

With gas prices reaching all-time highs earlier this year, many drivers are choosing to drive less or opt out of driving altogether and catch public transport. One of the most common debates on electric vehicles is their initial higher cost versus making up the costs later on in the car’s lifecycle from cheaper maintenance overall to cheaper running costs. So, one of the benefits of EV mode is that it will reduce your gas consumption and these small saving will add up over time.

Another pro is that it cuts down on harmful emissions since when the car is running on the electric motor is not producing any pollutants from the exhaust.  

How Does ECO Mode Differ From EV Mode?

tesla EV

ECO mode often gets lumped together with EV mode; however, they are very different in nature. ECO mode essentially makes your vehicle run more economically by increasing fuel efficiency. It does this by reducing the acceleration levels of the car making it less sensitive. So, when accelerating less fuel will be used compared to if ECO mode was not being used. 

Besides reducing the acceleration levels of the car, ECO mode also regulates the power used for things like A.C., which can drain a car’s power drastically. 

Both EV and ECO mode work in their own ways to make cars more economical. However, EV mode essentially switches the vehicle to solely use the car’s electric motor and ECO mode adjusts the fuel efficiency but is not just for hybrid vehicles since some ICE cars have their own variation of ECO mode too. 

How Can ECO Mode Be Confused?

You may be able to see an ECO indicator light on your dashboard; however, this is not to be confused with a car’s ECO mode. ECO is often placed on dashboards to let the driver know when or if they are driving economically. It does not change any of the functions within the vehicle, it rather just indicates the state of driving from its metrics. ECO mode, on the other hand, changes how the vehicle is running to make it more efficient. 

What Other Modes Are There?

It can be difficult to know the functions are all the different modes out there, or which particular scenarios are best suited to which mode. One of the better-known modes is Sports Mode, which essentially acts as the opposite of ECO Mode.

Tesla charging station

It enables an increase in power and response to the vehicle, making the accelerator more sensitive. Sports Mode can often make the steering heavier and likewise, the vehicle can feel more grounded on its wheels to improve the stability of the car, while decreasing the workload of the driver. 

Similarly, Power Mode increases the car’s acceleration levels which in turn gives an impression of increased engine power due to the fact that the driver is able to accelerate quicker. However, it is important to know that neither Power nor Sports mode actually changes the engine’s power, they just have to exert less effort in order to access the power. 

Snow Mode is another popular mode that enables better traction control in slippery conditions. This mode is best used in poor weather conditions, such as snow and heavy rain. The aim of this mode is to make the driver safer when navigating these difficult weather conditions and keep them safer. 

solid state battery ev

EV mode makes your hybrid vehicle use the power from the electric motor rather than from the combustion engine. The amount of distance that can be achieved with this mode varies depending on the car’s battery capacity. Drivers using EV mode can save on the cost of gas while reducing the pollution around them.