The different types of electric cars: the complete guide

Today, the market for non-fuel vehicles is constantly growing and evolving. With the search for more sustainable alternatives, more and more people are considering the purchase of electric or hybrid cars. However, it can be overwhelming to understand the differences between the various types available on the market. In this article, we will explore the different types of electric cars that exist, providing an overview of each.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

Battery electric vehicles, known as BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles), are powered exclusively by electrical energy stored in rechargeable batteries. They are recharged at standstill by connecting to the mains and different charging options are available.

These vehicles do not have an internal combustion engine and emit no direct emissions during operation. BEVs have many advantages and are perfect for those who want to be part of a more sustainable mobility.

Range-Extended Electric Vehicles (REEVs)

Range-Extended Electric Vehicles, also known as REEVs (Range-Extended Electric Vehicles), combine an electric motor with an internal combustion generator. The internal combustion engine is used only to charge the batteries and does not directly drive the vehicle. This configuration allows a longer range compared to BEVs. The internal combustion generator can keep the batteries charged while the vehicle is in motion.

In other words, this type of electric car cannot be driven by the combustion engine. They simply function as an auxiliary and their only function is to recharge the battery.

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Fuel Cell Electric Cars (FCEV)

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs), or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, are an exciting alternative in the electric car industry. Instead of using a rechargeable battery, these vehicles generate electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell. FCEVs are particularly interesting because of their ability to recharge quickly and offer a longer range compared to other types of electric cars.

Hybrid non-plug-in hybrid vehicles (HEV)

Hybrid vehicles, known as HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles), use both an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors to power the vehicle. Unlike PHEVs, HEVs cannot be recharged by plugging them into an external power source.

Instead, electrical energy is generated through regenerative braking and stored in a lithium-ion or nickel-metal hydride battery. HEVs are known for their higher efficiency compared to conventional internal combustion vehicles.

Light Hybrids (MHEV)

These vehicles combine an internal combustion engine with a 48-volt electric system, providing remarkable benefits in terms of efficiency and performance. Unlike conventional hybrids, MHEVs cannot be driven solely on electric power, but the integrated battery and electric motor provide an additional boost to the gasoline engine, improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.

Pure Hybrids (SHEVs)

These are usually powered by the combustion engine, but when driving at low speeds and over short distances (50 km/h and approximately 3 km), they can be powered solely by the electric motor.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV)

Plug-in hybrid vehicles, abbreviated PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles), combine an internal combustion engine with one or more electric motors and a rechargeable battery. These vehicles can operate with either the internal combustion engine or the electric motor, depending on driving needs and battery charge. Therefore, their electric battery is charged like a normal electric car, from the mains and also requires a charging point.

PHEVs offer greater flexibility, as they can run solely on electricity for short distances or switch to the internal combustion engine on longer journeys.

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As the automotive industry moves towards more sustainable mobility, electric vehicles are taking centre stage. The choice of vehicle type will depend on the individual needs of each driver and the availability of electric charging infrastructure.

Whether it is a pure battery electric vehicle, an extended range electric vehicle, a plug-in hybrid or a conventional hybrid, each option offers specific benefits and contributes to reducing carbon emissions. By understanding the differences between electric car types, consumers can make more informed choices and contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future.

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