Electric Vehicle Technology & Types

Pure Electric, Hybrid, Or Plug-in Hybrid


There are a few types of Electric Vehicles (EVs): Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) that run exclusively on electricity. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) that can run on both electricity and gasoline. And finally, Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) which do not plug into the grid at all but are commonly mistaken as EVs!

1) Battery EVs

A Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) is fuelled only by electricity, essentially replacing gasoline, diesel or other types of combustible fuels. It is purely electric, using an electric motor to propel itself and produces no carbon dioxide or other emissions during operation.

The main components to a BEV include: a zero-emission electric motor, a series of batteries, and a non-conventional transmission that transfers power to the wheels. Battery EVs are very efficient, and most newer models have enough range to run for multiple days without fully recharging. To fuel your EV, the car can be plugged into a standard wall outlet like a toaster at home, but you may wish to purchase a higher-powered EV charger that runs off a 240V circuit, similar to your oven or clothes dryer. However, it is recommended that you buy a dedicated EV charger if you intend to charge your EV at home. You can also use public and workplace charging stations to charge up whenever you need.

2) Plug-in hybrid EVs

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) can operate on electric power, but can also run on gasoline when more range or additional power is required.  PHEVs have a battery as well as an internal combustion engine and are emissions-free only when operating in electric mode. Plug-in hybrids are perfect for drivers who commute short distances and can benefit from operating on electricity for most of their travel time but can still get additional range from the gasoline engine when needed.

Each PHEV vehicle or manufacturer uses the battery support in different ways. PHEVs are often cheaper and cleaner than traditional hybrids because they can be recharged by plugging into the power grid.

3) Hybrid EVs

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) get their name from their ability to use both fossil fuels and electricity for propulsion. They have two complementary drive systems that run simultaneously: a gas-powered engine with fuel tank, along with an electric motor and a battery. HEVs are not plug-ins, as they can't be recharged from the power grid.

HEVs primarily operate on gasoline, electricity is supplementary and may be generated from regenerative braking or via an electricity generator powered by the internal combustion motor. Since hybrids can use petroleum fuel, they may have greater driving range.

4) Fuel-cell EVs (FCEV or FCV)

A Fuel-cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) uses fuel-cell technology to generate the electricity required to run the vehicle. A fuel-cell is a device in which an electrochemical reaction takes place between hydrogen and oxygen.

The working principle of a FCEV is different compared to that of a ‘plug-in’ EV. This is because the FCEV generates the electricity required to run this vehicle in the vehicle itself. In these vehicles, the chemical energy of the fuel is converted directly into electric energy. While fuel-cell technology is relatively new, FCEVs are expected to grow in popularity in the coming years.


You can use Find my EV Match tool to help find the right EV to suit your budget and driving needs.

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