Do you know you BEV's from your PHEV's? Here is a quick guide to the most common types of electric vehicles.

Battery electric vehicle (BEV)

A Battery Electric Vehicle or BEV is a vehicle that uses a battery as the sole means of energy storage for the propulsion of the vehicle. A BEV does not have a fossil fuel engine or generator. It is driven purely by an electric motor with battery energy storage. A BEV is "refulled" by plugging into an electrical power source.

More about BEVs

Plug-in hybrid (PHEV)

Hybrid Electric Vehicles use a combination of electric power and petrol or diesel power to propel the vehicle. They can be ‘plug-in’ or ‘non plug-in’.

A PHEV uses an internal combustion engine (ICE) and electric motor. You can charge PHEVs from an electricity source, and access cheaper and cleaner electric power. The battery's energy is recharged by the ICE, wheel motion, or by plugging into a charge point.

An additional type of PHEV, is called a Range Extender Electric Vehicle or REEV. A REEV has a small petrol powered generator to recharge the battery and allow extended range when the battery level is low. This is a more efficient way of propelling the vehicle rather than using the same fuel in a traditional engine.

Hybrid (HEV)

These vehicles have both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The electric battery however, is only charged by the ICE, the motion of the wheels or a combination of both. There is no charging connector.



Here are some practical considerations to make when deciding whether to purchase a full electric or a plug-in hybrid. Some of these guidelines may be more or less important depending on your needs and wants.

BEV pros and cons

  • Most efficient use of energy means significant fuel cost savings.
  • Less moving parts means lower servicing cost and increased reliability
  • Zero tailpipe emissions and reduced use of fossil fuels
  • No need to stop for petrol or diesel
  • Range of new vehicles is between 300-500+km on a single charge
  • Convenience of charging at home
  • Smaller driving range than traditional vehicles on older BEV models

PHEV pros and cons

  • Similar driving range to traditional vehicles
  • Back up fuel source when on longer journeys
  • Limited electric driving range, roughly 60km depending on the vehicle
  • Must be plugged in more often to recharge battery
  • Less efficient than BEV due to weight of dual drive systems
  • Still requires petrol or diesel to be added
  • When driving in ICE mode there will be higher tailpipe emissions