But what’s the difference? IAM RoadSmart compare BEV, HEV and PHEV

Blog post posted on 25/10/21 |

Momentum behind electric vehicle development is at an all-time high, with EV’s now accounting for over 10% of new car sales and the UK being home to 16,403 charging locations (up from 8,193 since 2017).  They stand out from most cars on the market in that instead of petrol or diesel these vehicles run solely on battery power.

‘Electric vehicle’ is an umbrella term. In fact, there are several types of EV’s. They all use electricity for at least some of their operation, but that is pretty much where the resemblances end. To help clear up the confusion and compare the differences available on the market IAM RoadSmart’s Corporate Training Manager, Lloyd Jones, is on hand with his expert advice.   

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

BEVs are powered entirely by electricity, meaning a BEV has no internal combustion engine (ICE), no fuel tank and no exhaust pipe. Instead, it has one or more electric motors powered by a larger onboard battery – currently charged via an external charging point.

BEVs currently exist in several forms, including cars, buses, motorbikes and scooters – and even buses. One of the highest selling BEVs is the Tesla Model 3 that reaches 0-60mph in 3.1seconds with a 10ms torque response, with a 360-mile range.     

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)

HEVs are the most common type of hybrid, and they have been around the longest too. HEVs have two power drives: a fuel-based engine and an electric motor with a larger electric power. Then, as soon as the vehicle achieves speed, the gas engine kicks in. An onboard computer system determines when electricity or gas should be used. Also, users do not plug in an HEV. Through a process known as ‘regenerative braking’, the car’s electric battery gets a little recharge every time the driver touches the brakes. The Toyota Prius is the most well-known HEV.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

PHEVs split the difference between battery electric vehicles and hybrid electrics. Like BEVs, PHEVs have an electric motor that is recharged via an external plug. And like HEVs, they also have a fuel-based ICE. One big difference from HEVs is that a PHEV can travel a distance on electric power alone, averaging between 20 to 30 miles, due to their increased battery size and ability to recharge.

Examples of PHEVs include the Volvo XC40 and the BMW 3-series.

Lloyd Jones, Corporate Training Manager at IAM RoadSmart, said: “By 2030 new vehicles must be BEV/ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) because the new legislation will prohibit the sale of new combustion engines, this means that hybrid new car sales will come to an end.  Showing my age, but I see similarities between Betamax and VHS, which system would you buy, the one that will become obsolete in the near future or the format that is growing? For me the smart money is in BEV.”