Manufacturers continue to get to grips with the varying regulations in different countries. As they begin the transition from ICE to zero emission vehicles, a number of different technologies have emerged with various “hybrid” styles of EV drive-train.
The three main drive types have been summarised and simplified by the Energy Saving Trust:
Battery-electric vehicle (BEV)
A vehicle powered only by electricity, also known as a ‘pure’ or 100% electric car.
The vehicle is charged by an external power source, such as a charge point. These vehicles do not produce any tailpipe emissions. Most battery-electric cars have a real-world range of 100-300+ miles on a single charge.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)
This is a vehicle that has a battery, electric drive motor and an internal combustion engine (ICE). It can be driven using the ICE, the electric drive motor, or both, and can be recharged from an external power source.
Typical PHEVs will have a pure-electric range of up to 50 miles. Once the electric battery is depleted, journeys can continue in hybrid mode, meaning that there is no range limitation.
PHEVs are only efficient if they are charged regularly, otherwise they can be more expensive to run than a conventional petrol or diesel vehicle.
Extended range electric vehicle (E-REV)
These are a version of plug-in hybrids. An E-REV combines a battery, an electric drive motor and a small petrol or diesel generator. The electric motor always drives the wheels, with the ICE acting as a generator when the battery is depleted.
The range of these vehicles can be between 150-300+ miles.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)
These are capable of zero emission driving, but typically over less range than a PHEV. They use electric power generated during braking to improve fuel economy and run on petrol or diesel for longer trips. They have a lower road tax (VED).
Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs)
These are sometimes known as hybrid assist vehicles, have a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine equipped with an electric motor that can allow the engine to be turned off as the car is coasting or braking. The motor can also be used to provide assistance to the engine, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. MHEVs cannot be driven on electricity alone.