3 different types of Electric Vehicles 2021.

Recently, electric vehicles have been increasing in popularity. Manufacturers are making more of these vehicles worldwide, with improvements in almost every new model. 

It is clear that these vehicles will soon dominate the roads with their environmental and saving benefits. 

Knowledge on electric vehicles is pivotal before any final decisions are made. 

There are 3 types of electric vehicles to choose from: hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and battery electric vehicles. The type of vehicle that is right for you comes down to your lifestyle and what you are looking for in a car! 

What are the 3 types of electric vehicles?

  • Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) –  These vehicles are powered by both petrol/diesel and electricity. They combine a conventional internal combustion engine with an electric propulsion system. HEVs begin their journey using the electric motor and the engine kicks in when higher speeds are needed or the vehicle requires more power. The electric battery is charged by regenerative braking. So, both fuel and electricity are used in hybrid electric vehicles. 

  • Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) – Plug-in hybrids use batteries to power an electric motor and another fuel, like gasoline, to power an internal combustion engine (ICE). The battery is charged by being plugged into an external power source and through regenerative braking. The vehicle usually initially runs on electricity until the battery is nearly depleted, at this time the vehicle will switch to the gas-powered engine. Both fuel and electricity are used in PHEVs. 

  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) – These vehicles are powered solely by electricity. This means that BEVs do not have a petrol engine, exhaust pipe, or fuel tank. An electric motor is used instead of an internal combustion engine. A large traction battery pack is used to charge the motor. The battery is charged by an external outlet and regenerative braking. 

Compare and contrast 

The 3 types of electric vehicles have similarities and differences. Some features of a particular type may be more beneficial to you.

There are no bad electric vehicles, just multiple types that are best suited for different purposes! 

Every type of electric vehicle uses regenerative braking. With this kind of braking, pressing the pedal causes the electric motor to run in reverse which slows down the wheels while at the same time capturing kinetic energy and sending it back to the battery. Regenerative braking makes the most out of heat and kinetic energy that most cars waste. 

HEVs and PHEVs use a combination of electricity and fuel to power the vehicle, while BEVs only use electricity. 

Hybrid electric vehicles are different from PHEVs and BEVs because the battery is not charged by plugging into an external outlet. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are very similar to HEVs, with the major obvious difference of being plugged in to charge. 

Battery electric vehicles can travel farther distances on electricity compared to plug-in hybrids. 

  • Examples of BEVs and their electric range: 

  • Tesla Model S 75D: 237 miles
  • Chevy Bolt EV: 238 miles
  • BMW i3: 153 miles 
  • Examples of PHEVs and their electric range: 

  • Toyota Prius Prime: 25 miles
  • Ford Fusion Energi: 26 miles
  • Honda Clarity PHEV: 47 miles

Hybrids typically will have lower battery ranges than all electric vehicles and their purpose usually is designed to supplement gas driving and maximize fuel efficiency. 

PHEVs and BEVs normally have larger batteries than hybrid electric vehicles.

The fuel cost of battery electric vehicles is lower than that of a hybrid since in general electricity prices are lower than gasoline prices on a per mile basis. Hybrid electric vehicles also tend to have a higher maintenance cost compared to battery electric vehicles, since they still require the common repairs that a conventional car will need. 

Hybrid electric vehicles are the most common type of electric vehicle. HEVs barely step into the electric world while BEVs are completely electric. PHEVs fall into the middle ground! 

Popular examples of electric vehicles

  • Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs)

  • Toyota Camry Hybrid
  • Toyota Prius Hybrid
  • Honda Civic Hybrid

  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)

  • Chevy Volt
  • BMW X5 xDrive40e
  • Volvo XC90 T8
  • VW Golf GTE
  • Mercedes GLE550e

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs)

  • Tesla X
  • Toyota Rav4
  • Hyundai Ioniq
  • Kia Soul
  • Volkswagen e-Golf

Environmental impact

Rising fuel prices and a push for greener vehicles have led many manufacturers and customers to electric vehicles. 

Electric vehicles do not produce any tailpipe emissions (when they are driving solely using electric power). This is a huge deal because gas-powered vehicles are to blame for a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions. Collectively cars and trucks account for one-fifth of all U.S. emissions. 

The production of electric vehicles actually can create more emissions than the production of a conventional vehicle. However, due to their use of electricity instead of fuel, driving makes up for the higher production emissions. 

The source of electricity can impact the carbon footprint of an electric vehicle. Charging stations that use renewable energy are the most environmentally friendly. In areas that use coal, oil, or natural gas for power, charging electric vehicles can leave a larger carbon footprint. However, even when the electric vehicles are powered by coal, they still lead to lower emissions than conventional vehicles. 

By not polluting constantly, like conventional vehicles, electric vehicles are way more eco-friendly. 

Battery electric vehicles benefit the environment more than HEVs and PHEVs, since they don’t use any fuel at all. HEVs are the least environmentally friendly of the electric vehicles as they typically run solely on electricity for only a couple miles. 

So if you are looking for a way to decrease your environmental impact in your daily life, then electric vehicles are right for you!

Advantages of each type of electric vehicle

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each type of electric vehicle can help you distinguish which one best suits your needs. 

HEVs vs PHEVs:

  • Hybrid electric vehicles:
  • Advantages:

– Initial cost is lower than a plug-in hybrid

– No need to find a charging station

– Fast and easy to fill up at gas stations

  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles:
  • Advantages:

– Can function as a true electric vehicle for short trips

– Better for the environment than a HEV

– More electric range than HEVs

– Tax credits offered

HEVs vs BEVs: 

  • Hybrid electric vehicles:
  • Advantages:

– No need for charging 

– No range anxiety (can go on longer trips)

– Cost less than a BEV to purchase

  • Battery electric vehicles: 
  • Advantages: 

– Zero tailpipe emissions (better for the environment than HEVs)

– Faster acceleration

– Quieter than HEVs

– Less maintenance 

– Save money on fuel    

– Tax credits offered

PHEVs vs BEVs:   

  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle:
  • Advantages:

– No range anxiety

– Usually cheaper to buy

– Can use gas if going on long trips

– No need to stress about finding a charging station due to the ability     to be fueled by gas.

  • Battery electric vehicle: 
  • Advantages:

– Produce zero tailpipe emissions (more eco friendly compared to PHEVs). 

– Save money by not using fuel

– Offer longer electric-only range

– Larger battery

Tax credits

A big incentive for purchasing electric vehicles has to do with tax credits. Knowing that electric vehicles are one of the best solutions to environmental issues, the United States has created a program to incentivize the purchase of them. 

The government implemented the tax credit over a decade ago hoping to encourage the sale of electric vehicles. The program is still going on and applies to new vehicles in 2010 or later. 

But what exactly does this tax credit mean for you? Well, let’s start by saying that there is not a clear answer on how much of a tax credit you will receive. There is a list of different requirements that must be met to determine if you get a tax credit and the exact amount you can receive. 

Tax credits also run out after a company sells a certain amount of vehicles. The IRS is responsible for announcing when the production number has been exceeded and will determine the phase out schedule. After at least 200,000 qualifying vehicles are sold in the U.S, the credit begins to phase out. Once this process starts, purchasers of electric vehicles are eligible to claim 50% of the credit if their vehicle was purchased in the first two quarters that the 200,000 has been reached. If the vehicle is purchased in the second 2 quarters, then 25% of the credit is available. 

Tax credits have already run out for General Motors and Tesla, however most manufacturers are still eligible for tax credits. 

Those eligible for a tax credit may receive up to $7,500. You may be wondering where this number comes from and how it is calculated. Well, the base credit is $2,500 with an additional $417 per kWh above 4 kWh, which is not to exceed $5,000. This explains how the credit will not exceed $7,500. 

Not every type of electric vehicle is qualified for the tax credit. Sadly, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are not permitted for the credit because they are not plugged into an external power source. Battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles qualify because they are plugged in. 

For example, a standard 2021 Toyota Prius hybrid will not qualify because it does not draw power externally. However, the 2021 Toyota Prius Prime will be eligible for the first $2,500 of the credit. It will also be entitled for an additional $2,000 because of the 8.8 kWh battery. 

The vehicle must be made by a manufacturer. This means that it can’t be converted from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle. Leasing is not applicable for tax credits as the car must be purchased new to qualify. Only the original registered owner can claim the federal tax credit. The vehicle also must have a gross weight rating that does not exceed 14,000 pounds. It must rely on an electric motor for power to a “significant extent”, which means that the battery can’t be less than 4 kWh. 

In addition to the tax incentives offered by the federal government, several states have their own programs. This varies from place to place, so check and see what your state offers. California offers the most support for electric vehicle drivers, where people who buy or lease a new electric car can get a $2,000 cash rebate. 

BEVs that qualify for tax credit (as of April 2021)

  • Audi e-tron SUV – $7,500
  • BMW i3 – $7,500
  • Jaguar I-Pace – $7,500
  • Kia Niro EV – $7,500
  • Volkswagen ID.4 – $7,500

PEVs that qualify for tax credit (as of April 2021)

  • BMW X3 xDrive30e – $5,836
  • Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid – $4,543
  • Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid – $7,500
  • Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid – $4,543
  • Volvo S90 Hybrid – $5,419

Remember that these numbers are subject to change depending on many factors, like when you purchase the vehicle! 

It is clear that battery electric vehicles typically offer a larger tax credit compared to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. This is largely due to the fact that BEVs usually have larger batteries than PHEVs. 

Future of electric vehicles 

Companies are setting big goals for the future of their electric cars. Most manufacturers are aiming towards having the majority of their new vehicles be electric. The recent improvements in electric vehicles proves that they will most likely be the future of all automobiles. 

Here is a timeline of what’s happening in the industry: 

In 2022, Mercedes plans to introduce 10 new electric vehicles by the end of the year. Ford plans to start manufacturing the F-150 Lightning. 

In 2023, a Honda EV, with a GM crossover, is expected to enter production. Nissan is expected to launch 8 electric vehicles by the end of the year. 

In 2025, Audi plans to have 30 electrified vehicles. Ford announces that it will invest $29 billion in electric vehicles. Jaguar plans to be all electric. 

In 2030, Kia expects electric vehicles to account for 40 percent of production. Mazda plans to offer a hybrid or electric version for every car in its lineup by the end of the year. 

In 2035, GM expects to have eliminated diesel and gas powered vehicles from its lineup. Subaru plans to have a hybrid or electric version of every car in its lineup. 

In 2040, GM expects its entire operation to be carbon neutral. 

In 2050 Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Nissan have said they plan to reach zero carbon emissions. 

As you can see, the future of the automotive industry is electric vehicles. While this is only manufacturer expectations, and will definitely be subject to change, the attitude towards electric vehicles is shown. It may take longer for all these things to happen, but the goal of going completely electric is clear. 

Lifestyle preferences 

Deciding which type of electric vehicle you may want really comes down to your lifestyle. Different needs and preferences for a vehicle will determine which one is best for you. 

Hybrid electric vehicles are good for short to medium trips. However, they can make longer trips without range anxiety because they are not plugged into an external power source. HEVs are an ideal work car because you can travel to nearby towns and cities while being more fuel efficient than conventional vehicles. They are often more efficient in city driving conditions because they draw power from the electric motor at lower speeds. 

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are most efficient when the majority of driving is on country roads, rather than on motor ways or long journeys. These vehicles can make long journeys, but the conventional combustion engine will be needed. For those that need to travel long distances on a frequent basis, PHEVs offer the flexibility of being able to quickly fill up with gasoline for power. So, plug-in hybrids are suitable for most driving needs, but are more efficient when they can run solely on electric power. 

Battery electric vehicles are ideal for short to medium commutes. Daily commutes to work, school, or the grocery store are well within the range of a battery electric vehicle. However, these vehicles are not perfect for long journeys. These cars run solely on electric power, so they need to be charged. There isn’t an abundant amount of charging stations in the United States yet, so this can cause problems if the battery is depleted during a long journey. 

Electric vehicles offer the perfect combination of being environmentally friendly while maintaining the expectations of a conventional vehicle. 

They are a great alternative to gas-powered vehicles, as they offer savings and less maintenance! 


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