A Guide to Different Types of Electric Vehicles

There are currently three different types of electric vehicles available on the market, they all have their own advantages and disadvantages and this guide will help make understanding them easier.

Electric Vehicles (EV)

An electric vehicle (EV) is a vehicle that is powered by electricity.  Unlike conventional vehicles that use a petrol or diesel-powered engine, electric cars use an electric motor powered by electricity from batteries or a fuel cell.

Plug in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV)

Plug in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) are a hybrid electric vehicle with a battery that can be recharged by plugging a charging cable into an external electric power source, these vehicles also have an internal combustion engine, so also use conventional fuel.

Mild Hybrids/Self Charging Hybrids

A Self-Charging Hybrid/Mild Hybrid vehicle can be driven using electric power alone or it’s internal combustion engine but can't be plugged in to charge like PHEV’s.  They're called 'self-charging' because they can't be charged by plugging into the mains. Instead, the car tops up the batteries while on the move by using energy that is generated by the internal combustion engine.

Electric Vehicle Range

Range anxiety is a major contributor in decision making for electric vehicles.  The stated range of a vehicle can be significantly reduced in different driving conditions for example, in colder conditions, batteries and vehicles perform much less efficiently.  The range can be severely reduced depending on driving style due to rapid acceleration that is available from electric motors, as with conventional vehicles, keeping them heavily loaded with equipment can also affect battery/fuel consumption.  Range anxiety isn’t as much of an issue for PHEV’s and Mild hybrids as they have a combustion engine which kicks in once the battery is no longer available, however, if a driver regularly uses only the combustion engine on a PHEV it can end up costing more in fuel. 

 Points to consider when purchasing or leasing an EV, PHEV or Mild Hybrid Vehicle

  • Can additional costs to the company be offset by a driver contribution in return for the reduction of BIK?
  • Most electric vehicles charging times quoted are to 80% because charge times from 0-20% and 80-100% are significantly slower than 20-80%. This is due to physical limitations as well as preserving the life of the battery.
  • Electric vehicle ranges can also suffer greater than 20% reduction due to cold weather, so if a vehicle is only being charged to 80%, the available range in cold weather is then only 60% of the stated range.
  • Can the vehicle fulfil its daily role within the range of a single charge to 80% and is this true during cold weather?