Revealed: Different Types of Electric Cars


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With a recent report predicting two thirds of Australians will own an electric car in the next 10 years, now is the time to start educating yourself about possibilities. What do you know about the different types of electric vehicles available today?

Choosing the right car depends on your individual driving habits and transport needs. These are going to be the biggest factors in helping you decide which electric car is best for you.

But first, let’s look at the four different types of electric vehicles available on today’s market:

1. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs)

These do not plug in. They rely on petrol to refuel their driving time, but use electrical energy generated from their braking system (clever) and on-board batteries to supplement the standard combustion engine. This gives you longer range. The car’s computer manages operations between the two motors (one electric and one combustion) and uses different techniques to save fuel during your normal driving.

2. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)

As do the EREVs explained below, PHEVs use both petrol and electrical energy to power the car. Depending on your model, some favour petrol energy over electrical energy and some favour electric energy over petrol. The only way to increase a PHEVs’ battery charge is to plug it in.

3. Extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs)

These cars need energy input from both petrol and plug in sources (as mentioned above). However, for EREVs, the petrol engine doesn’t power the driving. It extends the car’s range by charging the battery when it’s low.

4. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs)

BEVs are 100% electric. Like their plug-in hybrid cousins, these cars need to be plugged in to receive electrical energy and charge the battery. They have no internal combustion engine and are the most eco-friendly option because they produce zero drive-time C02 emissions.

Hybrid cars, also known as range-extender cars, once dominated the market. However, there has been a significant shift towards pure battery electric vehicles thanks to the emergence of innovative battery technologies like those used in mobile phones to charge cars.

Not sure which is best for you? The type of electric vehicle you choose will hugely depend on three things: its price, range and your use. Read factors to consider when choosing the best electric car and what electric car questions to ask yourself and your dealer.

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