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Electric Vehicles

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types of EVs

What is an electric vehicle?

Conventional vehicles use an internal combustion engine that is usually fueled by gasoline or diesel to power the wheels. Electricity is used for some accessories, but does not propel the vehicle. In comparison, an electric vehicle (EV) uses an electric motor for propulsion. 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 electrical system acts as a generator when a driver applies the brakes, converting kinetic energy into electrical energy that is stored in a small battery pack. Gasoline or diesel is still the primary fuel.The electric motor eliminates idling emissions and enables the vehicle to operate with zero emissions at low speeds. 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 or charging station. After the battery energy is exhausted, the engine starts and the vehicle acts like a normal HEV until it is plugged in to recharge.

The larger battery of a PHEV and the ability to recharge by connecting to an electrical outlet or charging stations 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. BEVs have larger batteries than PHEVs and therefore, longer all-electric range, but do not have a fuel backup when the battery is depleted. Therefore, drivers of BEVs are cautioned to remain aware of their vehicle's range. BEVs must be plugged-in to charge.

Extended-Range Electric Vehicles (ER-EVs)

Extended-Range E;ectric

An extended-range electric vehicle can almost be said to be a cross between a plug-in hybrid and a battery electric vehicle. Like a PHEV, ER-EVs utilize both combustion engines and electric motors. But, as in a BEV, 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. 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.


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