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Types of Electric Vehicles Explained: EV, HEV, and PHEV

Types of Electric Vehicles Explained: EV, HEV, and PHEV
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Are you ready to make a statement about your concern for the environment? Are you interested in ditching your traditional gas-guzzler in favor of a more environmentally friendly car? Have confusion about the different types of electric vehicles got you down? Fear not dear reader, we have you covered. Today we will take a look at the different types of electric vehicles and what defines them. Happy reading!

EV or BEV

EVs (all-electric vehicles) and BEVs (battery-electric vehicles) are the same thing. The motors of these vehicles are powered exclusively by an on-board lithium ion battery. This battery is re-charged by plugging the car into an electrical outlet or a charging station. EVs do not have a gas engine and do not produce tailpipe emissions of any kind. It should be noted that there are emissions generated when charging these vehicles, but they are nowhere near the emissions produced by a car with an internal combustion engine (ICE). Popular EVs on the road today include the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Bolt, and all Tesla models.

Most EVs have a range of between 60 and 200 miles on a single charge. As we noted here, the Tesla Model S is the current undisputed king of EV range at 335 miles to a single charge. Tesla’s Roadster is set to dethrone its older brother when it debuts this year at a whopping 400 miles of range! As battery range continues to improve, EVs are expected to continue to explode in popularity in the next few years.

HEV

HEVs or hybrid-electric vehicles were the first of the three to hit the scene. The Toyota Prius HEV was introduced in 1997 and has been the best-selling HEV worldwide every year since. HEVs feature both an ICE and an electric motor and battery. The batteries in these vehicles are charged by capturing kinetic energy when breaking and turning it into electricity. This technology is called regenerative braking. Most HEVs allow for the car’s electric motor to work with the ICE to reduce the use of gas or completely turn the gas engine off.

PHEV

PHEVs or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are very similar to HEVs in that they have both an ICE and an electric motor and battery. Unlike HEVs that charge their batteries with regenerative braking, PHEVs can be plugged in like an EV to charge. PHEVs will run on all-electric power until the battery has been depleted. After there is no charge left in the battery, the car will switch to using gas. PHEVs have a shorter range on battery alone than EVs. The 2019 Chevy Volt will run for about 50 miles before switching over to gas. Considering that most drivers on the road drive less than 40 miles per day, a PHEV driver may never need to use their ICE to get around!

This excellent graphic borrowed from elekctrikcars.in explains the differences between the three types of vehicles:

Understanding HEV,PHEV and BEV

Which Vehicle Is Right For You?

Every driver is of course different. For drivers with short commutes who don’t travel out of town, an EV will be more than sufficient. For drivers who like to road-trip or have longer commutes to and from work, a HEV or PHEV is recommended to avoid getting stranded without a place to plug in. No matter what you decide, EVs, HEVs, and PHEVs are all far better for the environment than traditional vehicles. That alone makes the switch worth making.

Source | Images: electrikcars.in / openroadautogroup.com

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Neil Brooks
Neil Brooks is an electric vehicle owner and lover currently based in the greater Washington D.C. area. Neil is a fan of all things electric and may be the only person in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States to own both an electric leaf blower and an electric chainsaw. When he's not busy blogging about the latest on electric technology he enjoys grilling, rock climbing, and taking naps in his hammock.