David Kuchta’s July 23 letter to the editor, “Hybrid cars not all they’re cracked up to be,” has significant flaws in both terminology and pertinent facts.

Rebecca Brakeley of Oxford stretches out the cord to plug into her hybrid vehicle at a charging station in Norway in 2022. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal, File

He uses the term “hybrid” to denote what are actually plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles. The distinction is important, because a hybrid vehicle (HEV) uses both an internal combustion engine powered by gasoline and an electric motor powered by a battery that is charged by what is called regenerative braking to drive the car, while a PHEV uses an internal combustion engine and a battery that can be charged at a public EV charging station or at home or through regenerative braking, as with an HEV. My own vehicle, a 2022 Hyundai Ioniq, is a PHEV and has a battery that, when fully charged, provides up to 29 miles of electric-only travel.

Mr. Kuchta asserts that after the 29 miles of battery power are used up that “… you’re driving a gasoline car that’s heavier and less efficient than a comparable gas-only car,” but this is false.

In fact, at this point my Ioniq operates the same way a HEV does, by using regenerative braking to maintain the battery charge, and has an Environmental Protection Agency efficiency rating of 52 mpg combined city-highway driving, compared with 55 mpg for the HEV Ioniq. Over the 15 months or so I have had the car, my own efficiency is 100 mpg; a great deal of my driving is within the battery-only range.

Jonathan Mitschele
New Gloucester

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