Here’s our guide on the various different types of Electric Vehicle
BEV is a Battery Electric Vehicle. This is a pure electric vehicle where the only power source is the battery contained in the vehicle to drive the motor or motors in some all wheel drive vehicles.
These vehicles will have zero tailpipe emissions. These vehicles do not have a gearbox like a traditional car, the speed is governed by the energy released to the motor by the accelerator. The battery may have a range anywhere between 80-350 miles, we explore the electric vehicle drivetrain in our batteries and motors article. The only way to replenish the energy lost during driving is to plug the car in to a suitable charger?. These chargers may provide a rapid charge or a fast charge. To find out more about charging terminology head over to our charging page and see our reviews section for a list of some of the BEV’s on the market today.
PHEV is a Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. This type of vehicle combines some of the benefits of an electric motor and a battery for propulsion coupled with an Internal Combustion Engine. Typically the battery will provide 20-30 miles range at lower speeds, i.e. city driving.
Once the battery is depleted or the vehicle gets over a preset speed the engine will provide the main drive to the wheels and perform as a charger to replenish the batteries. These vehicles also feature a charging port allowing the driver to use the same charging infrastructure as a BEV. For optimum fuel efficiency these vehicles should have the battery recharged from an external power source at every opportunity.
REx is a BEV with a Range Extender. This was a feature of some earlier BEV’s with lower range capabilities but is not common today. This type of vehicle has all the characteristics and features of a BEV with the addition of a small, typically petrol generator. When the battery reaches a low state of charge the generator automatically initiates to start providing on board power. It is not intended for long distance but as a way of getting you to the next charging point
FCEV is a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle which uses hydrogen as a fuel source. Without getting into too many technical details, the hydrogen is converted to electricity via a fuel cell. This electricity is then stored in a battery and delivered to the motor. The hydrogen needs to be dispensed via a filling station. This technology has not reached the mainstream market and may be more suited to larger vehicles such as trains or heavy goods vehicles
A number of vehicle manufacturers are keen to leverage the electrification of their traditionally powered vehicles. Also known as a mild hybrid this is a traditional Internal Combustion Engine vehicle fitted with a secondary motor and a small battery. These vehicles rely on the engine for charging and primary propulsion, some manufactures use the marketing term ‘self charging’ but this is a fossil fueled vehicle. The battery in these vehicles typically has a 1-3 mile range and has no external charging method. When driving at low speeds the vehicle will use the motor for propulsion and as soon as the battery is depleted the main engine takes over.
Manufacturer Specific Configurations
Vehicle manufactures may have their own variants of these approaches. An example is the pending ‘e-Power’ system from Nissan which features a full electric powertrain, the motor and battery but no ability to plug it in. A petrol generator which will have no connection to the wheels, unlike a PHEV will provide the charging capability.
All these vehicles will feature regenerative braking. When the vehicle is decelerating the motor acts as a generator and the vehicle will return that generated energy to the battery, thus increasing efficiency and extending the range.
Driving conditions and style can have a big impact on a vehicle’s range and should factor into the decision making process when determining if and which EV is suitable for your needs. Head over to our EV buying guide for more information.
You will also see the abbreviation ICE, this is a traditional Internal Combustion Engine vehicle that uses petrol or diesel fuel as its energy source. The fuael is then burnt releasing pollutants and Co2 to the atmosphere.