All about diesel hybrid cars

How they work and why they are not widespread in the world

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By Max Bender

Diesel hybrid cars are equipped with two motors, one battery-powered electric motor and the combustion-powered thermal motor, powered by diesel. We will try to explain how these cars really work, the pros and the cons, and how much they cost.

Hybrid cars: what they are and how they work

The many advantages of the hybrid car are making it increasingly attractive to the market. These cars equipped with two motors, one battery-powered electric motor and one combustion-powered thermal motor, can run on gasoline or diesel.

The two engines basically offer the best of both systems. In fact, a hybrid car either switches from one powertrain to the other or runs both. Doing so maximizes the efficiency of the vehicle at every stage of driving.

This is an environmentally friendly technology, as you basically find yourself driving electric cars that also have a diesel engine for long distances and when the battery is low, limiting fuel consumption. This also limits CO2 emissions.

EXPLORE: How hybrid cars work

Typologies of hybrid cars

The expression ‘hybrid car’ is generic. In fact, it refers to different technologies that are nonetheless based on the same principle, whereby in different phases and at different driving speeds, either one engine is activated or the other. This basically depends on the technology.

Here are the 3 main categories of hybrids:

    • Mild-Hybrid (MHEV): the small electric motor functions as an alternator/starter and
      motor-generator. It also supports the thermal powertrain during acceleration phases. But the car cannot move with the electric motor alone
    • Full-Hybrid (HEV): ideal for city driving. If electric motor and battery are
      sufficiently powerful, it is possible to travel even in electric-only mode for limited distances
      and maintaining a speed of about 60 km/h. Autonomy and performance depend on the power
      of the battery. The latter is recharged by energy recovery on release
    • Plug-in (PHEV): these are basically Full-Hybrid whose batteries, however, are recharged via
      the appropriate charging stations or the common household electrical outlet. For charging, it is therefore not necessary to
      take advantage of the heat engine. The batteries have greater capacity, and thus one can travel for journeys
      medium-long (more than 50 km) in electric mode

How diesel hybrid cars work

Diesel-fueled hybrids always have an electric motor, powered by batteries, while the thermal motor is powered by diesel fuel. The support provided by the electric motor limits fuel consumption and, consequently, also the release of CO2 into the air.

Considering the aforementioned types, since diesel-powered Full Hybrid practically do not exist, it should be pointed out that the distinction is basically between:

  • Mild Hybrid (MHEV).
  • Plug-in Hybrids (PHEV).

History of diesel hybrid cars: from the origins to the present

In 2011, the former PSA Group introducedHybrid4 technology (a diesel engine combined with an electric motor) on the Peugeot 3008. Following this, this motorization also appeared on other models, such as the DS5 and Peugeot 508 RXH.

diesel hybrid cars

In the years to follow, however, such innovative technology encountered an initial phase of decline. The French automakers themselves decided to focus on the gasoline hybrid. This was because,on the Full Hybrid models, gasoline engines, combined with electrics, turned out to be significantly better performing than diesels.

Lately, however, the growth of Mild Hybrid models and Plug-in Hybrid vehicles (in fact, today’s best-selling hybrids) have led to the resurgence of diesel hybrid cars.

When it pays off to choose diesel hybrid cars

If you decide to buy a hybrid car, the choice lies between the gasoline-powered model or the diesel-powered model. In both cases, remember that the electric part is identical and has no difference. Obviously, the substantial difference lies instead in the endothermic part of the vehicle. Diesel cars
feature a turbocharged powertrain.

That being said, it is clear that for the final choice on which purchase to make, it is important to consider some purely personal factors:

  • the budget at your disposal
  • the way you intend to use your car

In general, those who are used to long distances should be advised to buy economical hybrid cars that are diesel-powered. This way, in fact, the advantage of the latest diesel engines goes hand in hand with the efficiency of the electric motor.

To whom diesel hybrid cars are recommended

Getting more specific, they are recommended:

  • Mild Hybrid diesel cars are recommended for users or corporate drivers who have a very high mileage every month and, thus, already previously tended to choose diesel fuel.
  • Plug-in hybrid cars are suitable for corporate customers and companies whose locations are equipped with charging stations. Incidentally, since these cars are often large models – typycally Mercedes – they adapt to companies that want to have this type of image.

In contrast, however, those who move mainly in the city, and only rarely on suburban routes, should prefer the Full Hybrid gasoline-powered ones.

In the case, on the other hand, of a limited budget, the purchase of a Mild Hybrid gasoline car should be considered, a typology to which, usually, smaller and also cheaper vehicles belong.

What are the advantages of the diesel hybrid car?

The diesel fuel solution is the most cost-effective choice for those who need a large car with which to drive several thousand miles each year. Case in point is, for example, that of commercial agents who use their cars on a daily basis for business purposes.

Electric pairing with diesel could be an added plus that would allow the life of these vehicles to be extended.

Realizing these advantages, the most distinguished automobile manufacturers (Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes, Land Rover, and BMW), especially of the SUV and wagon model manufacturers, have begun to produce and market diesel hybrids.

Let us examine the advantages of diesel hybrid cars:

  • very low fuel consumption even in the case of D- and E-segment examples
  • quiet and smooth driving
  • free parking in blue stripes in some municipalities
  • stamp duty exemption or steep discount in certain regions
  • economic concessions for purchase (Ecobonus car)
  • reduction of CO2 emissions
  • mileage capacity of more than 1,000 km on a single full tank of fuel

diesel hybrid cars

Are diesel hybrid cars sold in the U.S.A.?

No diesel hybrid cars are currently sold in the United States of America. EPA regulations do not allow diesel hybrid cars to be sold in the USA. And we don’t think that’s going to change in the future: the EPA is clearly pushing all-electric.

What are the prices of diesel hybrid cars

As for costs, it is impossible to give an unambiguous answer, due to variety of technologies and models.

However, we have a list of hybrid cars updated to 2023 news that you can consult for all new models on the market and prices.

In general, making a comparison with the corresponding non-hybrid diesel models, we could see that the Mild Hybrid have a higher cost ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 euros. For the Full Hybrid and Plug-ins the difference increases and ranges between 2,500 and 3,000 euros.

Diesel hybrid cars manufacturers and models

German automakers are the ones that have adapted the largest number of cars to diesel-hybrid technology. Here is a list of hybrid diesel models we have seen in the last few years:


  • Audi A4 Diesel Mild Hybridì
  • Audi A5 Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Audi A6 Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Audi A7 Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Audi A8 Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Audi Q5 Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Audi Q7 Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Audi Q8 Diesel Mild Hybrid


  • BMW 2 Series Coupé Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • BMW 3 Series Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • BMW 4 Series Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • BMW 5 Series Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • BMW 6 Serie GT Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • BMW 7 Series Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • BMW 8 Series Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • BMW X1 Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • BMW X3 Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • BMW X4 Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • BMW X5 Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • BMW X6 Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • BMW X7 Diesel Mild Hybrid


  • Mercedes-Benz C Class Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Mercedes-Benz E Class Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Mercedes-Benz CLS Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC Diesel Plug-In Hybrid
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE Diesel Plug-In Hybrid

Land Rover

  • Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Land Rover Defender Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Land Rover Discovery Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Land Rover Range Rover Velar Diesel Mild Hybrid


  • Hyundai Tucson Diesel Mild Hybrid


  • Jaguar XE Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Jaguar XF Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Jaguar E-Pace Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Jaguar F-Pace Diesel Mild Hybrid


  • KIA Ceed Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • KIA XCeed Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • KIA Sportage Diesel Mild Hybrid


  • Volvo V60 Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Volvo S90 Diesel Mild Hybrid
  • Volvo XC60 Diesel Mild HybridMazda


  • Mazda CX-60 Diesel Mild Hybrid

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