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Types Of Ev


With the 2035 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles fast approaching, it’s hardly surprising electric vehicle (EV) popularity is soaring. And yet, for what’s still a pretty new technology for many drivers there’s a baffling number of sound-a-like models available to choose from. Time to separate the BEVs and PHEVs from the HEVs and MHEVs.

Fast name: BEV
Full name: Battery Electric Vehicle
Often just called EVs (confusing we know), BEVs run on an electric motor powered by batteries instead of a traditional petrol or diesel engine. On top of being emission-free, they’re also quieter on the road and super smooth to drive, as electric motors don’t need a traditional gearbox to transfer power to the wheels. That’s a win-win-win all day long. How far you can travel on a single charge all comes down to the battery size and model, but it won’t be long before BEVs become the norm on our roads.
  • Lower running costs
  • Super quiet when running
  • No emissions = no tailpipe
  • Tax benefits
  • We’ve already got a line-up ready to go
  • Still quite pricey to buy
  • Charging is slower than refilling a petrol/diesel car
  • Limited choice of models (it’s getting better)
Fast name: HEV
Full name: Hybrid Electric Vehicle
Commonly just called hybrids, these vehicles are powered by electricity alongside a petrol or diesel engine. The traditional engine remains the main power source, which means there’s no plug for charging up the battery as the electric motor is really more of a supporting actor than a leading one. While they produce less CO2 than none-hybrid conventional cars, they’re still considered heavy polluters which is why new hybrids will no longer be sold after 2035.
  • Cheaper than BEVs and PHEVs
  • No need to plug in
  • Regenerative braking boosts battery
  • Perfect for city driving
  • Super limited electric range
  • Not best suited to longer journeys
  • Still produce CO2
  • Unavailable to buy new after 2035
Fast name: PHEV
Full name: Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
As the name suggests, PHEVs can be plugged in and charged in the same way as a fully electric vehicle making it an eco-friendlier option than a regular hybrid. That’s because it has a much bigger battery giving you an electric range of up to 40 miles, which is why many commuters are switching to these models. PHEV’s are the perfect gateway vehicle to BEV’s. They are not 100% reliant on electric as a power source, but you get a taste for electrified driving. It’s the best of both world whilst adapting to change.
  • Go fully electric on shorter journeys
  • Lower CO2 emissions than petrol or diesel cars
  • Peace of mind of a backup conventional engine
  • Pricier than traditional cars
  • Limited electric range
  • Added battery weight impacts efficiency
  • More petrol station visits due to smaller fuel tank
Fast name: MHEV
Full name: Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle
MHEVs offer by far the least amount of electric support to the petrol or diesel engine. They feature a small battery pack with an integrated starter-generator that gives a little boost to the engine when moving off from a standing start. As a result, fuel economy is ever so slightly improved. However, as they can never be run with zero emissions it’s hard to recommend them if helping Mother Nature is your ultimate goal.
  • Similar price to petrol/diesel cars
  • Small boost in fuel economy
  • Lighter than full hybrid models
  • Feels like driving a conventional car
  • Not really a hybrid car (if we’re being honest)
  • Driving in electric-mode not an option
  • Relies fully on a petrol/diesel engine so not eco-friendly
Fast name: REEV
Full name: Range-extended Electric Vehicle
Often called a range extender, this BEV is fitted with a small petrol/diesel-powered generator called an auxiliary power unit. When battery charge is close to running out the range extender automatically kicks into life and charges it up, which means range anxiety is a thing of the past as you’ll always have juice available (unless you forget to top up with fuel). Unlike a regular hybrid, a range-extended electric vehicle never uses the petrol or diesel engine to drive the wheels, as that’s the job of the electric motor.
  • Embrace longer electric journeys
  • Greatly reduced range anxiety
  • Packed with smart-tech
  • Heavy engine hurts efficiency
  • Very limited choice of existing models
  • No longer sold in the UK
  • BEVs still offer a longer range
Fast name: FCEV
Full name: Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle
FCEVs (AKA hydrogen cars) are powered by electricity that’s produced internally through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. The electricity that’s produced either directly powers the car or charges a battery which stores the energy until it’s required. Clever stuff. Best of all, they’re as fast to refuel as a conventional car making them ideal for people constantly short on time. The biggest stumbling block however is only a handful of manufacturers have invested in the tech, making choice very limited.
  • Only takes minutes to refuel
  • Zero emissions
  • Impressive driving range
  • The best alternative to a BEV
  • Clever tech comes with a hefty price tag
  • Seriously limited number of filling stations
  • Not many models to choose from

Looking for a more detailed look at EV types? Our friends at the RAC have you covered.