A Guide to the Types of Electric Vehicles

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Explore the types of EVs on the market, their pros and cons, charging specifications and the different qualities and working principles electric vehicles have.


What is EV? How many types of EVs are there? How do electric cars work? What are their charging specifications? What are the pros and cons of the different types of EVs?
All these questions are valid inquiries from anyone interested and curious to know more about the emerging electric vehicles market and the consequences for mobility that stem from it. In this article we guide you through the answers of the above questions and help you navigate the types of EVs at a glance.

What does EV mean?

EV is the acronym for electric vehicle and is used to refer to electric cars for short. In general, EVs (electric vehicles) refer to the types of cars with an electric motor powered by electricity from a battery or fuel cell.

Types of EVs at a glance

EVs are primarily divided into types according to how they obtain electrical energy. We use the term EV to cover battery electric vehicles (BEV), hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and fuel cell vehicles (FCEV).

Types of EVs at a glance
Types of EVs at a glance

EVs are basically divided into three types:

Battery Electric Vehicles

Vehicles, that exclusively uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs, with no secondary source of propulsion; Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Vehicles, that use multiple energy sources; Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV). HEVs differ from BEVs in that they have both internal combustion engine and electric motor.

HEVs are also divided into 2: Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).

Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV)

The electric motor in a MHEV is supportive only. It cannot power the car on its own and it isn’t charged externally.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

In a PHEV, unlike a MHEV, both internal combustion engine and electric motor is able to run the car on its own. The battery of PHEV can be charged externally.

In terms of design, HEVs are again divided into 3: Parallel Hybrid vehicles, Series Hybrid Vehicles, Parallel-Series Hybrid Vehicles.

Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV)

Vehicles, that use a fuel cell, sometimes in conjunction with a battery or supercapacitor, to power the electric motor; Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV).

Types of EVS with Main Technical Features

Engine TypeThere is only an electric motor.There are both internal combustion engine and electric motor.There are both internal combustion engine and electric motor.There are both internal combustion engine and electric motor.There is only an electric motor.
How is the Battery Charged?The battery must be charged externally.The motor can charge the battery. Some models also have a separate charging port.In order to fill the electric motor to full capacity, the battery must be charged externally.The battery is charged while the vehicle is in motion or when the brakes are applied.The electricity needed to charge the battery is generated in the vehicle itself via the fuel cell.
How is the Vehicle Started?It is driven by an electric motor.It is driven by an electric motor or an internal combustion engine.It is driven by an electric motor or an internal combustion engine.It takes the main power required, from the internal combustion engine.It is driven by an electric motor.
Is Charging Point Necessary?NecessaryDepends on the type of vehicle (PHEV/MHEV)Required if long range driving or fuel economy is intended.Not necessaryNo charging needed. The fuel cell is being filled or regenerated.
Table with Types of EVS with Main Technical Features

EV adoption

Electric cars are seen as one of the landmark technologies of the automotive industry. The use of both electric and hybrid cars is increasing rapidly around the world. In addition to being emission-free, the fact that they have various saving opportunities (such as low cost of electricity compared to fuel and low maintenance cost) that are not available in their fuel-powered counterparts, are among the driving forces of this widespread use. Some developed countries’ incentives and tax reductions for electric cars are also among the factors that increase the use of EVs.

According to the new legal regulation adopted in the European Parliament; starting from 2035, new cars and light commercial vehicles to be sold, will have to be zero emissions. Thus, new gasoline and diesel cars will no longer be sold in Europe from 2035 on.

This Increasing interest in electric cars is opening the door to growing electric mobility technologies. Advances in the area require automakers to offer an ever-expanding range of products: from plug-in hybrid cars to all-electric vehicles.
Below you will find the different types of electric cars explained and compared for you.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)

What is a BEV?

BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) are also known as All-Electric Vehicles (AEV), Pure-Electric Vehicles, Only-Electric Vehicles or Fully-Electric Vehicles.
These are the pure electric cars which are powered by rechargeable battery packs, with no secondary source of power.

How do BEVs work?

A BEV does not have a fossil fuel engine. Unlike the combustion engine, the electric car uses electricity from the battery rather than burning fuel to start the engine. It gets all its driving power from the electric motor. The battery can be charged from any electrical source. It also stores the energy needed by the engine during braking. Thus, power is obtained not by the combustion of gasoline or a diesel fuel, but by feeding the engine with electrical energy stored in batteries.

The capacity of the battery determines the range of this type of electric car, that is, the distance it can travel on a single battery charge.

Charging for BEVs

These vehicles, called Battery Electrical Vehicle (BEV), take the energy to be used for propulsion from the battery inside. There is no special system on the vehicle that produces the energy required for charging. Batteries get discharged after a certain period of use and then need a charge. BEVs can be charged at home or at work. Today, more and more out-of-home charging stations are opening up, especially in metro areas and highways. The number of charging stations is increasing day by day, especially in developed and developing countries. With BEVs, it is now much easier to make long-distance trips as well as short-distance trips.

Battery type, characteristics and battery management system (BMS) are important in BEVs. The charge-discharge characteristics of the batteries change depending on the temperature, the amount of drawn/given current and also on aging.

The life of the batteries used in these vehicles is also an important point for users. This lifetime may vary depending on battery maintenance, conditions used and distance driven.

The types of batteries used in BEVs, differ. Each company chooses a battery in accordance with its own design.

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