The Different Types of Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles or EVs are the type of vehicles that are partially or fully powered by electric power. The provide the advantage of zero emissions, eco-friendly, low running and maintenance costs etc. Electric vehicles are the key to sustainable transport. Let us discuss the types of electric vehicles.

The classification is based on the type of mechanism used for energy production. The types of electric vehicles are :

  1. Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
  2. Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)
  3. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
  4. Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle(FCEV)
Basic structure of different electric vehicles (EVs) types. (a) Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV); (b) Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV); (c) Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV); and (d) Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) – Image credits :

1.Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

In Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) all the energy required to run the electric motor comes from the battery pack. Use of gasoline is absent. Therefore, they emit zero emissions and are eco-friendly. They do not need a reduction gearbox. The battery can be charged from 10% to 80% in around 30 minutes with DC fast charging.


  • They are quiet. Since, there is no internal combustion noise.
  • Safe to operate and charge
  • Eco-friendly


  • Not ideal for long distance drive
  • Charging time can take up to hours
  • Difficult to locate charging stations
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Examples : Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf, TATA Nexon, Mahindra E20 plus, MG ZS, Hyundai Kona, Mahindra eVerito etc.

2.Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) consists of an engine and a motor. Fuel provides energy to the engine. Battery is the power source of motor. Regenerative braking and IC engine charges the battery. In addition, the battery cannot be charged by plugging in. They provide better fuel efficiency.


  • Eco-friendly
  • Less dependance on fossil fuels
  • Light weight
  • Higher resale value


  • The output power is less than that of gasoline engine
  • Expensive
  • Battery replacement is costly

HEVs can be either Series or Parallel.

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Examples : Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, Lexus NX, Toyota Camry etc.

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3.Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) uses an on-board charger and a gasoline tank. The battery can be charged using regenerative braking or external plug-in. Furthermore, PHEV or Series Hybrid switches between electric and gas power. Since, PHEV uses smaller engines, it gives better performance.


  • Zero-emission
  • easy to drive
  • fuel efficient
  • Smooth drive and quite


  • High running costs
  • Relatively expensive
  • Battery replacement is costly
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Examples : Chevy Volt ,Ford C-MAX Energi, Hyundai Sonata, Chevy Volt etc.

4.Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle(FCEV)

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) are powered from the hydrogen. They emit zero emissions. In addition, they emit only water vapor and warm air. They are the least common electric vehicle. Hydrogen tank acts as a source of chemical energy. Furthermore, conversion of chemical energy into electrical energy happens. It takes about 10 mins to refuel the hydrogen tank. However the cost of FCEV is very high.


  • Less Greenhouse Gas emissions compared to conventional vehicles
  • Reduced dependance on fossil fuels
  • Increased productivity


  • Difficult to store and transport hydrogen fuel
  • Dependance on fossil fuels for hydrogen production
  • Less durable
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Examples : Toyota Mirai, Hyundai Nexo, Riversimple Rasa, Hyundai Tucson FCEV etc.

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Comparison of types of electric vehicles

Presence of IC engineIC engine is absentConsists of both IC engine and electric motor.Consists of both IC engine and electric motor.Consists of both IC engine and electric motor.
Source of powerElectricityElectricity and gasolineElectricity and gasolineHydrogen tank
CO2 emissionsNoYesYesNo
External Plug-inYesNoYesNo
Stations for chargingCharging stationsGas stationsGas stations, charging stationsGas stations

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