What are the Different Types of Electric Vehicles?

In the world of the automobile industry, the concept of an electric vehicle (EV) is a relatively recent one. Due to their very low to zero carbon emissions, low noise, great efficiency, and flexibility in grid operation and integration, electric vehicles are a viable technology for attaining a sustainable transportation sector in the future. 

With the large number of carbon emissions produced by cars, which are released into the atmosphere, we are more susceptible to pollution and greenhouse gases. An electric vehicle is a big improvement for the environment in which we live. Thus, for those travelers who love to start their adventure on the road but are also advocates of protecting the environment, using electric vehicles might be a good option, but with several considerations.

Electric vehicles such as electric cars primarily utilize one or more electric motors energized by a battery pack to accelerate their automotive functions. An electric motor may assist a regular internal combustion engine or provide power, depending on the model. 

Electric vehicles draw energy from rechargeable batteries installed in the car. These batteries are used not only to run the car but also to power the lights and wipers. It can be activated by a collector system using electricity from an external source or autonomously from a battery (if charged by a solar panel or by converting fuel to electricity with a fuel cell or generator also available).

When talking about electric vehicles, the automotive market generally refers to the following main types: 

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV)


For increased efficiency, hybrid electric vehicles combine an internal combustion engine with electric motors driven by a battery pack to reduce fuel consumption. An outside source cannot recharge an HEV’s batteries.

HEV technology automatically charges the battery through “regenerative braking” and triggers the electric motor system when the conditions suit. This means the driver does not have to monitor the state of charge or plug the car into an outlet.

Hybrid electric vehicles are more fuel efficient with a lower cost of buying than comparable conventional vehicles but are generally more expensive to own.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle combines the electric motor with the internal combustion engine and battery pack and is similar to a hybrid but with significant differences. 

A plug-in hybrid is similar to a hybrid since the car automatically charges the battery and switches between the internal combustion engine and electric power, depending on the situation. However, drivers have the option of charging their PHEV with both fuel and electricity.

Additionally, plug-in hybrid vehicles generally have larger battery packs and more powerful electric motors than hybrid vehicles. This is because the electrical system handles much of the heavy load on the road. Thus, PHEV can be driven in pure electric mode, and the internal combustion engine can be switched off completely.

Plug-ins are more efficient than hybrid electrical vehicles but less efficient than battery electric vehicles. Plug-in hybrids can be an excellent option for consumers who need or want additional range. If you often have to drive long distances, a plug-in hybrid allows you to fill up quickly when charging stations are unavailable. 

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

A battery electric vehicle (BEV) is considered an “all-electric” or “all-electric” vehicle. BEVs run entirely on electricity, with an electric motor drawing power from onboard batteries. This type of electric vehicle has no form of an internal combustion engine. 

Because they rely solely on electricity, battery electric vehicles tend to have a much larger capacity and kilowatt-hour (kWh) rated batteries than comparable hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. This additional battery technology usually makes BEVs more expensive than other electric vehicles.

Battery electric vehicles require charging to operate. This can be done at home using a charger or fast charging station; others use recovery through regenerative braking.

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV)


Fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) are similar to BEVs in that they use only electrical energy to drive them, but the way they store energy is very different.

Fuel cell electric vehicles are also called zero-emission vehicles. They use “fuel cell technology” to generate the electricity needed to power their vehicles. The energy of the fuel chemically processed is converted directly into electrical energy. Unlike BEVs, which store electrical energy drawn from a charger, FCEVs generate their electrical charge through a chemical reaction, typically involving hydrogen.

Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV)

MHEVs are traditional gasoline or diesel vehicles that use a very small electric motor and battery to provide extra power to the engine or auxiliary systems (air conditioning, power steering) as needed.

While this helps with acceleration, the 48-volt electrical system typically found in MHEVs allows the engine to shut off when the car is idling to save fuel. MHEVs should not be viewed in the same way as traditional hybrid vehicles but are best thought of as conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles with a beefed-up alternator.

Range Extender Electric Vehicle (REx)

A range extender is an electric vehicle with a small petrol or diesel engine that acts as a generator to charge the battery. Think of the REx as an electric vehicle whose battery is charged using a similar approach, activating the motor as needed to extend the range and reduce anxiety. The motor does not directly drive the wheels but is used when the battery is low, and performance can suffer.


With the ownership of electric vehicles growing globally, this new era of electrification takes the technology a notch higher. All types of electric cars use electricity for propulsion, battery, or chemical process, but there are differences in how they operate and their respective powertrains and electric range.