How Electric Cars Work: Types Of Electric Cars

There are four types of electric vehicles that you need to know. BEVs, PHEVs, HEVs and EREVs.

How Electric Cars Work: Types Of Electric Cars


Battery Electric Vehicles, also known as ‘BEVs’ or equally just ‘EVs’ are fully electric vehicles that have just a battery and no internal combustion engine.

The battery pack is very powerful and can store lots of energy, allowing the vehicle to run for many miles before needing a recharge. The distance an EV can go without needing a charge is called its Range. The latest fully electric vehicles are now achieving ranges exceeding 300 miles.

Going fully electric comes with many positive environmental impacts too. EVs don't have a tailpipe, because they don’t emit any harmful exhaust gases. This helps reduce local air pollution and keeps congested urban areas with better air quality. Over the course of a year, one EV can save an average of 1.5 million grams of CO2 from getting pumped into the environment.

Another big positive of owning an electric car is its sound or lack thereof. The reduction in noise pollution helps to make urban areas a much more pleasant place to live. Initially, EVs were so quiet that on the 1st of July 2019 a new law was passed that required them to be fitted with an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS). This means that BEVs make an artificial sound to signify their presence to pedestrians when they’re reversing or moving at a speed below 12mph.



Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (or 'PHEVs') have a battery just like a BEV but with a much smaller capacity. PHEVs include a standard combustion engine too, which kicks in when the battery runs low.

As the name suggests, PHEVs can be recharged by plugging in. A typical range on one of these cars tends to be around 10-40 miles on electric power alone. Regenerative braking can also help to recharge the battery too.

PHEVs offer an economical alternative for those who aren't yet ready to commit to fully electric driving.



Hybrid electric vehicles (or 'HEVs') are similar to PHEVs but do not have plug-in recharging capabilities. Also known as a 'self-charging hybrid', HEVs run on an electric battery before switching over to petrol or diesel power.

The battery is small and is used to start the electric motor and drive the car only for very short distances. Regenerative braking technology helps to ensure that the battery charges back up. An internal computer calculates the best economy driving.



An extended-range electric vehicle (EREV), or a range-extended electric vehicle (REEV), is an EV that runs solely on electricity via a battery that gets recharged by a ‘range extender’. The range extender is usually a small petrol engine that drives an electric generator that charges the battery.

Still unsure? Request a callback from one of our experts

Mon-Fri 9am-5pm 01993 226226