electric vehicle(Opens in a new tab)EV, or EV, is an umbrella term for several types of battery-powered vehicles. It can be a polarizing or politicized term, so some people feel they need to specify whether they’re an EV enthusiast or an anti-EV skeptic. In fact, the case is more subtle than that. There are three types of electric vehicles. Some run exclusively on battery power, while others collect battery power and gas.
The three main types of electric vehicles are:
All-battery electric vehicles (EVs or BEVs)
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)
Each has advantages and disadvantages in terms of fuel efficiency, cost and driving experience. Here are the main differences between an EV, HEV, and PHEV so you can choose the right one for your needs.
To find out the main differences between EVs, HEVs, and PHEVs, we’ve got tips from Emily Drebbelbys from PCMag.(Opens in a new tab)
What is an electric car?
Electric vehicles, also known as BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles), do not have an internal combustion engine to convert gasoline into propulsion. Instead, they only run on electricity from one or more large batteries.
Electric cars started out as a little-known driving option for the environmentally conscious, but in the first half of 2022 they have taken a hit The tipping point in terms of mass adoption(Opens in a new tab)According to Bloomberg. All-battery electric vehicles now account for 5% of new car sales in the United States. Although still a small fraction, this is the level of adoption at which many new technologies — such as mobile phones, televisions, and the Internet — begin to accelerate their transition from periphery to mainstream.
Refueling a vehicle means plugging a charging nozzle into a port concealed by a flap on the outside of the vehicle, very similar to a conventional gas cap. The electricity can then flow back to the battery. There is a variety of public and private sectors Shipping options(Opens in a new tab)Most manufacturers include a home charger with purchase. It fits into a standard household outlet on one end and plugs into the car on the other, so you can power it up all night or when the car is in the garage.
Credit: Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images
Home charging makes electric vehicles an excellent choice for driving around town or commuting, especially with Charging at work(Opens in a new tab) On the rise as an employee perk. Most people do most of their EV driving without going to a public charging station.
In terms of long trips, it results in a full charge 200 to 400 miles(Opens in a new tab), or several hours of driving. Longer than a few hours of driving means multiple stops to charge, adding up anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours at a time, depending on the charge level of the stations you find.
An increasing number of highway stops have fast chargers, which will allow you to charge in 30 minutes to an hour, but they are still limited. Automakers and the government are working together to expand the national express charging network, through efforts such as Gas station partnerships(Opens in a new tab) and the Federal Infrastructure Bill(Opens in a new tab). But for charging stations to be as ubiquitous as gas stations, it’s crucial to plan where you’ll be charging along your route.
What is a hybrid electric car?
Hybrid cars were the first major entrants into the market when it came to electric vehicles, particularly with Prius world premiere (Opens in a new tab)In the early 2000s. These vehicles combine an internal combustion engine with an electric motor, and switch between them to improve fuel economy.
For example, when a hybrid car is parked, it will likely run silently on battery electricity rather than idle with gas. When the internal combustion engine starts.
Credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images
Hybrid cars typically claim up to twice the miles per gallon of a gas-powered vehicle, ranging from 40 to 60 mpg. Average fuel economy for a gas-powered vehicle was 25.4 mpg in 2021, according to Study by the Environmental Protection Agency(Opens in a new tab).
Instead of charging through an external port like EVs or PHEVs do, HEVs replenish their batteries independently with power from a gas engine. They also use “regenerative fracturing”, such as EVs. When you brake, the car usually picks up the lost energy and stores it for later use.
Without the hassle of finding charging stations and spending the extra time running, hybrids have a no-brainer quality—as long as you can afford the extra cost, that is. They’re typically a few thousand dollars more than gas-powered cars but less than plug-in electric cars.
For example, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 gas-powered sedan starts at $26,975. The hybrid version is $29,575, and the electric hybrid version is $40,300. But as gas prices go up, it’s easy to see how the cost evens out over time.
What is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle?
Essentially a combination of an EV and HEV, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is designed to run on both gas and battery power. The main difference is that the power comes from plugged-in chargers, making it more like an electric vehicle. When the battery runs out, PHEVs switch to gas like a hybrid, though some are – like 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV (Opens in a new tab)– Allows you to drive with the gas engine first while conserving battery power, which you can switch to later.
Because of their larger battery, PHEVs can run for much longer than hybrid cars on pure electricity, giving you excellent fuel economy. In the Rav 4 example, the gas-powered version has 27 mpg (city driving), the hybrid version comes in at 41 mpg, and the PHEV really impresses with 94. MPGe(Opens in a new tab).
Credit: Xu Wu/Getty Images
Like hybrids, many PHEVs do a small amount of recharging while driving, primarily through regenerative braking. However, they are designed to charge primarily through the docking port. Only then will you achieve the ability to drive on electricity only for a certain number of miles, a distinct advantage over hybrid cars, whose small battery is mainly there to supplement the gas engine or to perform additional functions such as running the air conditioner.
You can charge your PHEV at home and at public charging stations, giving you a taste of the electric vehicle life with the safety of a tank of gas to provide peace of mind on long trips.
For more see EVs 101: How Do Electric Vehicles Work?(Opens in a new tab) as well as Top EVs we’ve tested(Opens in a new tab).
This article originally appeared PCMag.com(Opens in a new tab)Mashable, siblings site. PCMag.com(Opens in a new tab) It is a leading authority on technology, providing independent, laboratory-based reviews of the latest products and services.