EV 101

MARKS Engineers, SemaConnect

Electric Vehicles 101: An Introduction

There are dozens of models of electric vehicles currently available on the market, but what is the difference between all of them? Here we explain a brief rundown of four distinct versions of electric vehicles, each with their own type of engine, battery, and charging capability. Let's get started!

Conventional Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)

The HEV is the most common type of EV that exists today (i.e. the Toyota Prius). The HEV powertrain consists of both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an onboard electric motor, both of which power the car. The electric motor powers the car at low speeds, while the ICE generally powers the vehicle at higher speeds. The electric motor is powered by an onboard battery which is charged by regenerative braking. The driving range of HEVs is dependent on the gasoline tank capacity.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

The PHEV is similar to the conventional HEV, except that its electric battery can be plugged-in to charge. A PHEV generally has a larger battery and can spend longer periods on its pure electric range before switching to fuel-powered. Some PHEVs are extended-range EVs(i.e. Chevrolet Volt), in which the car is driven by a battery-powered electric motor and the battery itself is charged while driving by an onboard generator. PHEVs have an electric driving range of 10 to 53 miles before the gasoline kicks in.

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

An Introduction to Electric Vehicles Charging

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV)

The electric motor of a FCEV is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Within the fuel cell, hydrogen gas is combined with oxygen drawn from the air to create water. This process creates energy that powers the electric motor. FCEV can be fueled in a similar method as conventional vehicles and achieve similar ranges. FCEVs that are currently available on the market include the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity.