EV Basics #2 – A Guide to the Different Electric Vehicle Types

As of 2035, the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles will be banned in the UK, as it will in many other countries the world over. The expectation is that drivers will have started to make the switch to electric vehicles by this point, reducing the number of ICE cars on the road by the time the ban comes into effect.

Whilst the initial purchase cost of electric cars is currently higher than an ICE car, it is projected that they will be the cheaper option by 2025 due to falling battery costs. Recent research by Direct Line also claims that the cost of ownership for an electric car over its lifetime is already cheaper than a petrol car.

The availability of electric vehicles has also never been greater. As well as tech giant Tesla, many well-established car manufacturers now have EVs on the market, such as Nissan, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes, Renault, Honda, and Volkswagen.

Many people have already started to make the switch over to EVs already, thanks to lowering costs and incentives such as the UK Government’s plug-in grant. If you’re thinking of doing the same, you may be interested in knowing a little more about the different electric vehicle types.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

Battery electric vehicles are full-electric vehicles that use rechargeable batteries as their only power source, without the aid of any petrol or diesel. The batteries in BEVs power the on-board electronics as well as the electric motor, which takes over the function of a conventional combustion engine in a BEV.

Due to the absence of a combustion engine, BEVs do not produce harmful emissions and produce much less pollution than other types of non-electric vehicles. The batteries in BEVs have a high capacity in order to operate the car on their own, but they must be charged via an external charging point.

These charging points are classified as level 1, 2, and 3, with Level 1 using a standard household outlet to charge the vehicle over approximately 8 hours. Level 2 charging points run on twice the voltage, and as such can charge an EV in half the time. Level 3 or DC fast charging can charge a vehicle in around 30 minutes, and BEVs are the only type of electric vehicle that can be charged on a Level 3.

Related blog: A Guide to EV Charging Connector Types

Some notable BEVs are the Nissan Leaf, the BMW i3, and the Tesla Model 3.

Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs)

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles occupy a middle ground between regular hybrid vehicles and fully electric BEVs. These vehicles have both an electric motor and a petrol or diesel engine capable of powering the car, usually with two operating modes – all-electric and hybrid.

PHEVs usually start in all-electric mode and are powered purely by the battery until the power is depleted, at which point the conventional engine kicks in, and the car continues to run in hybrid mode. Even in hybrid mode, the electric motor supplements the main engine, meaning it uses less fuel to operate.

PHEVs have two methods of recharging their batteries – the first is by being plugged into an external charging point and the second is by regenerative braking, where the kinetic energy that would usually be lost by braking is converted into electricity and stored in the battery.

Some notable PHEVs are the Mercedes C350e, the Toyota Prius and the Audi A3 E-Tron.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)

Hybrid electric vehicles have been around for a while now and, like plug-in hybrids, operate by using both an electric motor and a conventional, fuel-powered engine. The difference is that this type of electric vehicle cannot be plugged into a charging point and must recharge the battery solely through regenerative braking.

Just like PHEVs, HEVs begin by using the electric motor to power the car at low speeds or until the power is depleted, and then the conventional engine takes over.

Some notable HEVs are the Toyota Prius Hybrid and the Honda Civic Hybrid.

Hopefully this guide to the different electric vehicle types has been helpful. If you are looking for electric vehicle charging parts such as EV sockets, charging cables or tethered cables, then you can view our range from Desgon.

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