Types of electric vehicles explained

Discover the different types of electric vehicles and which one might be right for you.

Do you know your BEVs from your PHEVs? If you're considering buying an electric vehicle (EV), you may come across some of this terminology. Here we break down the key types of EVs.

Four types of EVs

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs)

BEVs are also known as plug-in or pure EVs. They use an electric motor and run solely on battery power, meaning they produce zero emissions from driving.

BEVs can use a standard power outlet in your home to recharge or a public charging station. Fast charging outlets are also available from vehicle manufacturers and can also be installed by a qualified electrician in your home to charge your car faster.

BEVs can also draw some charge with a regenerative braking system. That means the kinetic energy created from braking is converted into electrical power that can charge the car.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs)

HEVs run on a combination of petrol or diesel and battery power. It combines a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) with an electric motor. These cars do not plug in to recharge.

Like BEVs, HEVs use a regenerative braking system to recharge the battery. While you still need to fill up with petrol, each tank will get you further than a comparable petrol car.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)

Similar to HEVs, PHEVs are powered by a combination of petrol or diesel fuel and battery power. The key difference is that you can also recharge the battery using a standard power outlet in your home or public charging station. PHEVs can drive greater distances using just battery power. When the battery power drops, the petrol or diesel engine will be used.

PHEVs also use the regenerative braking system to recharge the battery.

Hydrogen or fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs)

FCEVs convert fuel into energy through an electrochemical reaction with hydrogen and oxygen. This produces electricity which powers an electric motor.

FCEVs are an emerging technology in Australia and are not yet available for everyday use.

Take a look at our low and zero emission vehicle guides:

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