1. Hybrid
  2. How Hybrid Works

How Do Self-Charging Hybrid Cars Work?

Enjoy the power of petrol and efficiency of electric without having to plug-in. Find out how Lexus Self-Charging Hybrid cars work and why they offer seamless performance and superior driving experience.

Self-charging hybrid explained



Lexus Self-Charging Hybrid cars have a petrol engine and an electric motor. They drive just like a conventional automatic car. The technology in the car seamlessly selects the best power source on your behalf (petrol or electric mode) based on your driving.


Fill the car up with petrol like any other conventional petrol car. Our Self-Charging Hybrid system cleverly charges the electric battery while you are driving. Not just on the move, but when you stop or slow down, the regenerative braking system recovers even more energy.


All our hybrid cars come with a 3 year / 60,000 mile standard manufacturer warranty and a 5 year / 60,000 mile warranty for both hybrid components and hybrid battery.

To give you full peace of mind, we have introduced Lexus Relax, meaning every Lexus, once the initial 3 year manufacturer warranty has expired can be extended with regular servicing at a Lexus Centre. A 12 month warranty is included with every Lexus Service, up to 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Giving you a chance to relax in the knowledge that you and your vehicle are in safe hands. T&Cs apply.


Our models are powerful and efficient, especially when you start in the EV (Electric Vehicle) mode and allow your Lexus to switch to petrol when the need arises. When you accelerate hard, the power of the electric motors instantaneously supplements the petrol engine. Together they deliver a potent surge of torque and rapid forward movement precisely when you need it. The Lexus Self-Charging Hybrid range includes a variety of engine sizes to suit your specific needs and driving style. With no need for a manual transmission system all of our hybrids are automatic cars with a choice of power modes to achieve maximum performance depending on driving conditions.

See how our hybrid cars perform on real life test drives and discover the time they spent in electric model. 


Ensure every trip runs smoothly. Lexus hybrid cars come with a 3 year, 60,000-mile manufacturer warranty and 5 year, 60,000 mile warranty for components and the battery. Service your car every year or after 10,000 miles, and as part of your service Lexus will also include a free hybrid health check.


We’re pioneers in hybrid technology, leading the way since 2004 and quickly becoming the world’s first choice for luxury Self-Charging Hybrid vehicles. If you have any further questions, please explore our FAQs below or contact your local Lexus Centre.


Lexus sells full Self-Charging Hybrid cars such as the UX which can use both an electric motor and conventional engine to drive the car. Either of these sources can power the car on their own, or the power from both units can be combined. You will benefit from greater flexibility and range. Choose from luxury hybrid cars that include the compact Lexus NX, ideal for an urban environment to the 7 seater family car the RX L.


Full Self-Charging Hybrid and electric cars both have a battery that can be recharged whilst standard engines run on petrol or diesel alone. The difference is that Self-Charging Hybrids can work with both fuel and electricity and some can switch between the two easily.


Lexus Self-Charging Hybrid cars such as the UX offer a far greater range of gears than a conventional vehicle but are essentially automatic cars. The cars use Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT), an intelligent transmission which offers an infinite number of gears within a broad range of ratios, allowing for automatic gear changes.

By constantly analysing vehicle speed, road conditions, engine power and driver input, it selects the optimal (most efficient) gear ratio for that precise moment. When that moment passes, it moves seamlessly to the next ratio.

E-CVT works in harmony with the Lexus Self-Charging Hybrid technology, simultaneously handling inputs from both the petrol engine and the electric motor. Without the constraining effect of fixed gear ratios, the engine can be operated at its most efficient speed to either propel the car or charge the batteries. If the computer decides that the petrol motor is not needed for a time, it can be shut down and the E-CVT used to direct propulsion from the electric motors to the wheels instead.

E-CVT transmission can be found on all our Lexus Self-Charging Hybrid cars.

Our award winning hybrid models are as reliable as similar petrol and diesel cars.

They are exceptionally durable, and for peace of mind, all our new Self-Charging Hybrid cars come with a 5 year / 60,000 mile hybrid battery cover for confidence on every journey.

Lexus Hybrid batteries are designed with longevity in mind, and with self-charging technology you'll never have to plug in the battery to charge.

Lexus Self-Charging Hybrid cars have the same expertly designed and rigorously tested safety features that you’ll find across our whole range. They are as safe to drive as a conventional vehicle, giving you peace of mind. 5 Star Euro NCAP has been awarded to all our models (excluding LC and LS).

It depends on the level of battery charge, the driving conditions, and how heavily your car is loaded.

The UX model can travel up to 70mph in EV mode and the NX up to 40mph. The Self-Charging Hybrid system intelligently monitors the battery and keeps it charged. If you’re driving long distances or at faster speeds, the clever hybrid system will switch from the battery power source to the petrol engine.

Lexus Hybrid models have two power sources: a petrol engine and an electric motor. Both can power the car alone, or they can team up together. The Power Control Unit intelligently monitors your driving conditions and seamlessly controls the flow of power so you can sit back and enjoy the drive.

You can choose to switch to electric power alone for short periods if you like – if the driving conditions are right. But there’s no need. The intelligent Power Control Unit monitors your driving conditions and seamlessly controls the flow of power when you’re on the road

From start up, to acceleration, mid-journey, and deceleration, the optimum choice is made for you. Find out the results of our tests on the use of the electric engine during a typical journey.

There’s no need to charge your Lexus Self-Charging Hybrid - it is always ready to go.

The advanced, compact battery is efficiently charged as you drive and through ECB-R (Electronically Controlled Braking-Regeneration). This smart technique captures energy when you brake, converting it to electricity to charge the battery.

You can. Lexus Hybrids have exactly the same capabilities as a conventional car. As with any car, it’s still important to pay attention to the driving conditions, and take extra care when needed. Always avoid driving if there are severe weather warnings.

Lexus offers a winter health check to ensure your car is ready for lower temperatures and unpredictable conditions. Contact your local Centre for more details.

The battery is engineered to last a lifetime. All new Lexus Self-Charging Hybrid cars come with 5 year or 60,000 mile hybrid battery cover as standard. Lexus vehicles are amongst the most economical and environmentally friendly available and hybrid battery recycling is important to us. Removing and disposing of a hybrid battery is done by a Lexus Authorised Repairer, and, under EU Directive 2006/66/EC, we aim to recycle over 50% of the weight of a hybrid battery.

Never. Lexus Self-Charging Hybrid vehicles never need plugging in – they recharge as you drive and use ECB-R: Electronically Controlled Braking-Regeneration when you brake.

Self-Charging Hybrid cars switch to petrol power once they reach a certain speed. In optimum conditions, a Self-Charging Hybrid vehicle can reach up to 28mph – or up to 40mph for the NX – on electric power alone before the petrol engine kicks in.

A hybrid vehicle has two power sources: an internal combustion engine and a high capacity battery used to power electric motor(s).

A Full Hybrid (FHEV) or Self Charging Hybrid can run on just the combustion engine, just the electric motor (i.e. power from batteries), or a combination of the two.. A Self Charging Hybrid is not plugged in to recharge; the battery is recharged by running the combustion engine and by regenerative braking.

A Mild Hybrid (MHEV) also has an electric motor and combustion engine. However, as the battery has less capacity and electric motor is less powerful than on a Full Hybrid, Mild hybrids do not operate in just electric mode. Typically the motor and engine work together so a MHEV is incapable of zero emission driving.

A Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), as the name suggests, can be plugged into the mains in order to fully recharge its battery. PHEVs can be run in just electric mode and depending on battery capacity may be usable as an EV for day to day commuting, with the reassurance of being able to operate as a full Hybrid Electric Vehicle for long distances.