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Tata Capital > Blog > Loan for Vehicle > A guide to different types of Electric Vehicles – PHEV, BEV & HEVs

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A guide to different types of Electric Vehicles – PHEV, BEV & HEVs

A guide to different types of Electric Vehicles – PHEV, BEV & HEVs

“The future is electric. It’s not a question of if; it’s a question of when. And the answer is soon.” - Carlos Ghosn, former Chairman and CEO of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

With the EV market growing and governments worldwide pushing for sustainable mobility, the future of commuting is here.

Do you want to go green, save money, and enjoy a comfortable ride with your very own EV? You can take your pick from several electric vehicle variants available in the market. Some of them are entirely powered by batteries while others rely on a combination of fuel and electricity. The three most common variants are BEV, PHEV, and HEVs.

BEV stands for battery electric vehicles, HEVs are hybrid electric vehicles, and PHEVs are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Let us explore these categories, how they work, and their subsets.

#1 BEVs: Battery electric vehicles

BEVs are the most commonly known EVs. They do not have internal combustion engines, do not use fossil fuels, and run solely on battery power. You can charge them at your home using Level 1 or Level 2 EV chargers. A more powerful type of charger, called Level 3 charger, is designed for commercial charging stations that need more power.

#2 HEVs: Hybrid electric vehicles

Hybrid electric vehicles or HEVs combine the mechanisms of BEVs and traditional fossil-fuel based vehicles. What this means is that they run on both an electric motor mechanism and an internal combustion engine. The electric motor consumes energy stored in a battery, while the internal combustion engine runs on fuel.

What separates HEVs electric vehicles from BEVs is that drivers can charge their batteries via regenerative braking. Now, isn’t that the best of both worlds?

But, how does ‘regenerative braking’ work? Well, when you apply brakes, regenerative braking takes the kinetic energy used to halt the vehicle and stores it. This stored kinetic energy is then used to charge the battery and help accelerate the HEV, hence the term ‘regenerative.’ HEVs are good for your fuel economy because they rely on battery power which decreases the gas consumption of their internal combustion engine.

To maximise fuel economy, go for a micro hybrid or a mild hybrid. This subcategory uses both a battery and electric motor to run. While they aren’t designed to run solely on electric power, they shut off their internal combustion engine during complete stops. Plus, you can also drive them on their battery power alone if you’re going a short distance such as a mile or two.

#3 PHEVs: Plug-in hybrids

Plug-in hybrid elective vehicles or PHEVs take the concept of the standard hybrid vehicle up a notch. Like hybrid EVs, they also have both a battery-powered electric motor and an internal combustion engine. The only difference is that you can plug-in PHEVs to recharge them from a grid.

This mechanism lets the battery store enough power to feed the electric motor. As a result, it can decrease your overall fuel usage by as much as 60 percent! Not only does this help you save on fuel costs, but you won’t have to stop at fuel stations to get a refill.

Another feature of PHEVs is that they can travel long distances on electric power alone. While a standard HEV can only go up to two miles, PHEVs can cover as long as 40 miles.

Let us now look at two subcategories of PHEVs : series plug-in hybrid EVs and parallel plug-in hybrid EVs.

1. Series plug-in hybrids: Series plug-in hybrids are also called Extended range electric vehicles (EREVs). They use an electric motor to push the car. Meanwhile, their internal combustion engine generates electricity. Once the battery drains out, the electricity stored by the engine is used to power the vehicle, and the car keeps moving on.

2. Parallel plug-in hybrids: Parallel (or blended) PHEVs use both their internal combustion engines and electric motors at the same time to move the car.

In Summary: Key differences in BEVs, HEVs, and PHEVs

All these three different types of electric vehicles use batteries, but they differ in capacity and their internal mechanisms. Here is a quick summary of their differences.

BEV or EV (Battery Electric Vehicle)A Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) is a fully electric vehicle. It has rechargeable batteries.
You can charge and recharge these batteries from the grid.

The batteries are the only source of power for a BEV.
HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle)  Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) are both electric and fuel-powered.

They gain energy to power their batteries through regenerative braking or while driving using the internal combustion engine.  

While standard gas-powered cars lose the energy generated from the braking as heat, HEVs use it to charge the batteries instead.  
PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle)  PHEVs, like HEVs, also have both a fuel engine and an electric motor.  

They can also recharge their batteries through regenerative braking or with the energy dissipated by their engine.  

The key difference between a PHEV and an HEV is the addition of a charging port into the former. 

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