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Electric Vehicles
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types of EVs

What is an electric vehicle?

Essentially, an electric vehicle (or EV) is any vehicle that uses an electric motor for propulsion. Typically, these vehicles will fall into one of four categories:

Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Hybrid Electric

A hybrid electric vehicle uses a battery-powered electric motor to supplement its traditional combustion engine. The addition of the electric motor helps to reduce idling and enables the vehicle to operate with zero emissions at low speeds (typically below 40 miles per hour). At higher speeds, the combustion engine drives the vehicle.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

Plug-In Hybrid Electric

A plug-in hybrid vehicle is similar to a standard hybrid in that it combines an electric motor with a traditional combustion engine. However, a plug-in hybrid utilizes a larger battery that can be recharged by plugging the vehicle into an electrical outlet.

The larger battery of a PHEV and the ability to recharge by connecting to an electrical outlet increases the extent to which electricity can be used for propulsion. This, in turn, increases the vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

Battery Electric

Unlike hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, battery electric vehicles are 100 percent electric. They include no combustion engine and rely solely on their electric motors for propulsion.

BEVs do not run on gasoline and therefore produce zero tailpipe emissions. However, drivers of battery electric vehicles are cautioned to remain aware of their vehicle's range. BEVs must be plugged-in to charge, which means refueling is not as simple as pulling into the nearest gas station.

Extended-Range Electric Vehicles (ER-EVs)

Extended-Range E;ectric

An extended-range electric vehicle (ER-EV) can almost be said to be a cross between a plug-in hybrid and a battery electric vehicle. Like a plug-in hybrid, ER-EVs utilize both combustion engines and electric motors. But, as in a battery electric vehicle, only the electric motor is used for propulsion. The combustion engine in an extended-range electric vehicle is used to power a generator. The generator then charges the battery, which powers the motor.

In most cases, ER-EVs also allow for plug-in charging. This increases the vehicle’s fuel efficiency, as using power from the electric grid reduces the amount of energy that the combustion engine must produce in order to move the vehicle from point A to point B.

What’s next?

Once you’ve decided on the type of electric vehicle that best suits your needs, you’ll need to think about how you are going to charge your EV.

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