How Electric Cars Work: Types Of Electric Cars

There are three types of electric vehicle that you need to know. BEVs, PHEVs and HEVs.

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 of over 300 miles.

Going totally electric obviously 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 on 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 of. The reduction of noise pollution would help to make urban areas a much more pleasant place to live. EVs are in fact so quiet that on the 1st July 2019 a new law was imposed that required them to be fitted with an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS). This means that they 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 names 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 as well.

PHEVs offer an economical alternative for those who might not want to go fully electric.



Hybrid electric vehicles (or 'HEVs') are similar to PHEVs but do not have plug-in recharging capabilities. The battery is smaller and is charged through regenerative braking.

The battery is used to start the electric motor which switches over to the internal combustion engine when the load increases. An internal computer ensures for the best economy driving.

Still unsure? Request a callback from one of our experts

Mon-Fri 9am-5pm 01993 222 869