What are the Types Of Electric Cars: Let’s Learn About all

Silver electric car moving on the road

Types Of Electric Cars, Hybrid Electric Vehicles, Battery Electric Vehicles, and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles are all designed to use electricity to increase efficiency and mileage. All these types are generally known as electric cars or vehicles. Although, some of these types also use fuels in collaboration with electricity to run. BEVs and PHEVs are more specifically referred to as plug-in EVs, while the HEV cannot be plugged-in for charging. MHEV (mild hybrid electric vehicle) is sometimes also known as an electric vehicle.

ev battery levels

Types of Electric Vehicles

 Electric vehicles of different types are available today, giving customers more options. Nowadays, the users are well known with the names like HEV, PHEV, BEV, & MHEV, etc.

Various types of EVs have been explained in detail.

  1. Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)
  2. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
  3. Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
  4. Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV)

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)

HEV chassis with some parts

This type of vehicle is known as a standard hybrid. Today’s HEVs use internal combustion engines, with one or two electric motors receiving electric power from a NiMH (nickel-metal hydride battery) rechargeable battery. These combine the features of high fuel efficiency and low emissions with conventional vehicles’ traditional range and power. These have small lead-acid batteries, which give enough power to the engine to start, and a comparatively large NiMH battery to provide power to an electric motor.

Its battery is not plug-in into some external source for charging, like PHEV or BEV. Instead, the engine charges the battery through regenerative braking. That’s why it is called a self-charging vehicle.

HEV has characteristics of both electric and gas-powered cars. Fuel powers the engine while the battery provides electricity for the motor. When ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) stops working, such as while accelerating from a stop, an electric motor runs the vehicle. When you are driving along the highway, HEV may convert to ICE. 

Hybrid and ICE cars are derived in the same way. It can operate in electric mode for covering short distances, usually a few miles or less. It switches to combustion mode when heavy acceleration is required or the vehicle travels above a certain speed. 

Examples of HEVs

  • Toyota Prius
  • Toyota Camry
  • Volvo XC90
  • Lexus NX
  • Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid 

Pros of HEVs

  • Cheaper than BEVs or PHEVs.
  • HEVs are environmentally friendly.
  • Use less gas as compared to a conventional vehicle.
  • Auxiliary devices can be powered by electric components, improving acceleration.
  • They are quiet.

Cons of HEVs

  • On most models, the mileage range is minimal.
  • As compared to BEVs, tax benefits are minimal.
  • Depending on the driving circumstances, the fuel economy advantages can change.
  • Their upfront cost is higher.
  • HEVs have comparatively less power if compared to standard ICE.
  • These do not eliminate harmful emissions.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

PHEV chassis with its parts

This vehicle runs on an internal combustion engine and electric motor. Its electric motor is more powerful than hybrid vehicles. The driver does not need to worry about time-consuming recharging once the battery is depleted because you can drive it the way a gas-only vehicle can by switching it to ICE mode.

It has a large battery. Like other electric vehicles, it is plugged in and can be charged at home or public charging stations. It will not create any problems for the drivers if they have not charged their vehicles. It would not affect their travel because PHEV can be switched to the combustion mode when the battery is fully used. The reverse will also happen if fuel has been fully consumed. Hybrid and Plug-in EVs are driven the same way. Like hybrid, based on driving conditions, it switches between ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) and electric mode. This vehicle can go 20-70 miles per hour electrically. 

These vehicles are best for users who want to go on long trips; they can refuel and charge their cars. If they are driving in the electric mode, the battery is almost dead, and the charging stations are not along their way, they need not worry about it. They can reach their destination by switching to the combustion mode. 

Examples of PHEVs 

  • Tesla Model 3
  • Tesla Model x
  • BMW i3
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Chevy Bolt

Pros of PHEVs

  • Less costly than BEVs.
  • Only partially dependent on battery capacity and infrastructure for charging.
  • If the routine trip is short, you can drive primarily on battery.

Cons of PHEVs

  • Expensive than a petrol-powered vehicle.
  • Any cost savings will be lost if the battery is not charged.
  • Running costs may rise with more complexity.

Its believed to have less fuel efficient because while driving on the engine, it will carry the additional weight of the motor and battery.

Battery Electric Vehicles 

electric car with some of its parts

BEVs, also known as only, all, or fully electric vehicles, exclusively use stored chemical energy in rechargeable battery packs. They have no additional or secondary source of propulsion like a fuel tank, hydrogen cell, or gas-powered engine. EVs run on an electric motor that depends on battery power for propulsion instead of the fuel cell or fuel tank. So, charging its battery to its optimal strength is advised to avoid unnecessary inconvenience during journeys.

If you are driving along the way and there is no charging station, you may not reach your destination. You have to be very careful regarding the charging of your BEV.

Most BEVs have 120-volt chargers, which take much time to charge. Their batteries are much larger than other EVs like HEVs and PHEVs. However, fast chargers have been introduced to tackle the charging issues. 

Switching from electric to ICE is impossible in electric vehicles like HEVs and PHEVs. 

Examples of BEVs

  • Tesla Model Y
  • Tesla Model 3
  • Nissan Note
  • Ford Focus
  • Hyundai Ioniq

Pros of BEVs

  • Excellent performance.
  • The cost of maintenance is low beyond changing tires and windshield wipers.
  • Less loss is expected as fewer moving parts. Even the brakes don’t degrade sooner due to the regenerative braking system.
  • Far quieter than any other.
  • EVs are tailpipe emission-free.
  • It runs on electricity, which costs less than gasoline.
  • Easy to drive with no gear changes.

Cons of BEVs

  • Compared to filing a tank, charging takes longer and is less convenient.
  • Not known as ideal for longer distances due to limited battery power.
  • Prices are typically higher than regular cars.
  • The driving range is less than that of gasoline vehicles.
  • The cost of insurance might be increased.
  • The initial purchase cost is higher.
  • Replacement of battery (however rare) is expensive.

Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

PHEV chasis and parts

PHEVs depend on conventionally powered diesel or petrol engines; however, these vehicles also rely on an additional source of an electric motor. It has an electric motor as well as a conventional engine. It’s electric motor, and the battery is small in size, and the motor only provides some assistance to the engine. However, it cannot be driven in pure electric mode.

It functions like a hybrid electric car. But the only difference in both is their battery. HEV battery packs are large and can run alone on the battery, while MHEV batteries are small and cannot run without ICE’s assistance. 

Its battery is 48 volts, which gathers and stores energy to support or provide additional power to the engine when needed. 

These vehicles are not plugged-in to charge, and their batteries do not require to be charged like PHEVs or BEVs. Regenerative braking is enough to charge the batteries. You are charging the battery when you apply brakes. Its little battery does not require assistance to maintain adequate power levels. 

It produces less emission than petrol-powered vehicles. 

Pros of PHEVs

  • Compared to conventional vehicles, it has a smoother stop or starts function.
  • Accelerate more quickly.
  • Use less fuel than gasoline-powered cars.
  • They are more costly than standard cars.
  • Driving in purely electric mode is not possible.
  • There is no substantial tax benefit. 

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