Electric vehicles, or EVs, can range from light-duty automobiles to heavy-duty vehicles and even transit vehicles. As the electric vehicle market continues to grow and expand, even today, dozens of vehicles are available for sale in this category. Electric options are available in each, whether you want a compact car, sedan, SUV, or pickup truck. While some operate solely on a battery, others are hybrid models.
Before delving into specific brands, the primary way that EV cars are differentiated is through the type of engine they run. There are three main types of electric vehicles, each with pros and cons – battery electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Here are the different types of EV cars and what to expect when buying.
Type #1: Battery Electric Vehicles
An electric battery singularly powers battery electric vehicles. They have no gas engine parts. Most modern BEVs can fast and L2 charging and produce zero emissions. When you hear someone refer to an ‘all-electric vehicle,’ they discuss a BEV.
Most BEVs use a lithium-ion battery, optimal for energy density, weight, and safety. These days, many new BEVs maintain the capability of being able to travel 200-300 miles on a single charge. They are optimally designed for fleet charging solutions.
Type #2: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs, have a larger battery than your standard hybrid and an electric motor. The petrol or diesel engine incorporated into their design provides them a longer range than other EVs.
These types of electric vehicles are equipped with a gas tank and a charging port. They are ideal for longer driving ranges where a BEV may not be trusted. In EV mode, a plug-in hybrid usually does 20-50 miles before switching to gasoline. They use up to 47% less fuel than similar conventional vehicles.
Type #3: Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Hybrid vehicles are low-emission electric vehicles that use an electric motor to assist a gas-powered engine. The electric motor is there to kick on and provide assistive power when accelerating, overtaking another car on the road, or helping a car make it up a steep incline.
All energy in a hybrid comes from its gasoline. Hybrids are considered an older style of electric vehicle; however, they are still a category that generates a lot of interest and has strong purchasing power.
Type #4: Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles
FCEVs, or fuel cell electric vehicles, use an electric motor that converts hydrogen into electricity. FCEVs that are on the market do not need to be recharged. Their battery has everything it needs internally; no external charging source is required. Fuel cell electric vehicles are fueled strictly by compressed hydrogen gas stored in a tank on the vehicle.
Type #5: Light-Duty Electric Cars
Light-duty electric cars are the most in-demand EV there is. Most brands are targeting this area of automobile development with significant interest. Many of these are BEVs or PHEVs, each with features and advantages that seem to outdo the competition.
Most EV car manufacturers are targeting this market with no clear leader from a sales standpoint just yet. Key standout light-duty electric car models include the Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Model 3, Fiat 500, MINI Electric, Nissan Leaf, and the Hyundai Kona Electric.
Type #6: Heavy-Duty Electric Trucks
Heavy-duty EVs also exist. The Tesla Cybertruck, Chevrolet Silverado EV, Ford F-150 Lightning, and Rivian R1T are all excellent examples of more heavy-duty electric vehicles. With each passing year, these vehicles seem tougher, more long-range, and contain more features than their light-duty electric car counterparts.
Type #7: Electric Transit Vans
When we begin discussing transit vehicles, what would occur to most consumers is electric vans and SUVs. This year’s standouts in the electric car market area are the Ford e-Transit, Volkswagen ID, Renault Kangoo E-Tech, Toyota Proace Electric, and Fiat e-Ducato.
With more families and multi-person households showing an interest in EVs, it’s only a matter of time before there is even more development among these electric vehicles.
Type #8: Commercial Transport Vehicles
There are also battery electric buses (BEBs) used in public transport applications and electric school buses (ESBs). Various companies are making these vehicles. However, popularity has not progressed to widespread adoption in any part of the world. That said, BEBs and ESBs can perform most of, if not all, the same tasks that their conventional counterpart would.
Which EV Car to Buy?
Which type of EV car to purchase relies solely on your needs as a driver and what you hope to receive in service from a car. Some vehicles are capable of longer driving ranges than others; some are pure electrics, while others understandably have a little bit of help from a gas engine, and this does not even go into the different features one will discover between electric car brands.