Types of Electric Vehicles - Dick Hannah Dealerships

Types of Electric Vehicles

There are three main types of electric vehicles (EVs); BEVs, or battery electric vehicles, PHEVs or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and HEVs, or hybrid electric vehicles. All use electricity to improve vehicle efficiency.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

Electric Vehicles using BEV technology run entirely on a battery-powered electric drivetrain. The electricity used to drive the vehicle is stored in a large battery pack which can be charged by plugging into an electric power source. The charged battery pack then provides power to one or more electric motors to run the electric car.

One of the first things you will notice is the quietness of driving a BEV versus the usual gas engine. It’s only the noise from wind resistance and directly from the tires that you are likely to hear and is a big change in the early stages of switching directly into a BEV or taking a test drive. It’s not long before you adapt.

Driving an electric car is very straightforward as most come with automatic gearboxes and regenerative brakes slow the car when you lift off the throttle to help replenish the battery. Consequently, you are often driving using one pedal at medium speeds, although standard braking via the dedicated pedal is always available as required.

Range is a key factor in deciding upon whether to make the switch to electric and what type of electric vehicle suits your needs. The efficiency and driving range of EVs vary substantially based on driving conditions. Extreme outside temperatures tend to reduce range because more energy must be used to heat or cool the cabin. EVs are more efficient under city driving than highway travel. City driving conditions have more frequent stops, which maximize the benefits of regenerative braking, while highway travel typically requires more energy to overcome the increased drag at higher speeds. Compared with gradual acceleration, rapid acceleration reduces vehicle range. Hauling heavy loads or driving up significant inclines also has the potential to reduce range.

As a BEV is purely electric it is important to consider daily usage, vehicle range, and your charging options.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

A PHEV vehicle contains both a medium-sized electric battery that powers the engine and an accompanying gas engine. The plug-in description refers to the need to plug the car into a suitable charging point to replenish the battery. The PHEV option is a step towards a full electric BEV vehicle but still maintains some of the traditional benefits of a gas or diesel car.

PHEVs can run in at least two modes. They start up in all-electric mode in which the motor and battery provide all the car’s energy. Once the battery gets drained, the engine takes over, and the vehicle operates in hybrid mode in which both electricity and gas are used. PHEVs can be charged by plugging into an outside electric power source, engine, or regenerative braking. When brakes are applied, the electric motor acts as a generator, using the energy to charge the battery. The engine’s power is supplemented by the electric motor.

The choice on whether to consider a PHEV or jump to an electric-only BEV vehicle depends on your driving and lifestyle requirements. A PHEV vehicle is often seen as the first step in the electric journey.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)

Today’s hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are powered by an internal combustion engine in combination with one or more electric motors that use energy stored in batteries.

HEVs combine the benefits of high fuel economy and low tailpipe emissions with the power of range of conventional vehicles.

An HEV has an electric battery, but it is not possible or required to recharge this via an external power supply. Also known as Self-Charging Hybrid cars, they use the electric battery up to 15-20mph, and then the combustion engine takes over. The combustion engine can then power the generator while cruising, which produces electricity and stores/recycles it in the batteries for later use.

HEVs can be either mild or full hybrids, and full hybrids can be designed in series or parallel configurations.

  • Mild hybrids – also called micro hybrids – use a battery and electric motor to help power the vehicle and can allow the engine to shut off when the vehicle stops (such as at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic), further improving fuel economy. Mild hybrid systems cannot power the vehicle using electricity alone. These vehicles generally cost less than full hybrids but provide less fuel economy benefit than full hybrids.
  • Full hybrids – have larger batteries and more powerful electric motors, which can power the vehicle for short distances and at low speeds. These vehicles cost more than mild hybrids but provide better fuel economy benefits.

Electric vehicles are fun to drive, save you time and money, and are good for the environment. Electric vehicles provide an entirely new driving experience.

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