How EVs work
A plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) or battery electric vehicle (BEV) stores electricity in an internal traction battery pack, otherwise known as a rechargeable battery. The battery powers the electric traction motor that turns the wheels. When the battery is low, just plug the vehicle into a charging station to recharge.
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) has an electric and gas powertrain. It uses an internal combustion engine to power the vehicle as a backup to the vehicle’s battery.
Types of EVs
There’s an electric vehicle for every lifestyle
Choose an electric vehicle (EV) that’s right for you!
|criteria||Battery electric vehicles (BEVs)||Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)||Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs)|
Battery-powered electric motor
|Internal combustion engine and battery-powered electric motor||Internal combustion engine and battery-powered electric motor|
Plugs into an electric power source
|Plugs into an electric power source and uses gasoline
||Battery charged by braking and does not plug in to receive power|
300+ miles on one charge
|50 miles in all-electric mode and up to 500 total miles before refueling||Offers better fuel economy than a traditional gas-powered vehicle|
|Electricity or gas||Electricity or gas|
Check out the Electric Power Research Institute’s "Consumer Guide to Electric Vehicles" to learn more about EVs in today’s market.
Click to expand more information on each type of EV:
Most PHEVs are light-duty passenger cars, but there are also commercial vehicles, vans, utility trucks, buses, trains, motorcycles, scooters and military vehicles. Several manufacturers have released SUVs and pickup trucks.
Depending on the type of vehicle, battery electric vehicles can travel more than 300 miles on one charge. The range on BEVs continues to increase as technology improves.
Why consider an EV?
EVs are for everyone
The automotive industry is moving toward more sustainable transportation options such as electric vehicles (EVs). Vehicle manufacturers like Ford, GM and Nissan have invested billions of dollars into electric vehicle research and development. Organizations, governments and businesses worldwide have pledged to produce cleaner, more sustainable technology.
Aside from the auto industry’s shift to electrification, driving electric provides benefits for all drivers.
- Drive farther. You can travel more than 500 miles in a plug-in hybrid electric without refueling or charging your vehicle. Battery electric vehicles are achieving more than 300 miles on one charge. That number continues to grow as technology advances.
- Save money. On average, it costs about $1.20 for an equivalent gallon of gas to charge an EV. Learn how much it costs to fuel an EV in your state.
In addition, having fewer parts under the hood decreases maintenance costs. Say goodbye to oil changes with your BEV! Save even more with federal tax incentives. Learn which vehicles are eligible and watch as more used EVs become available.
- Charge at home, at work and in the community. Chargers are becoming more common every day. You can find them at homes and multi-family dwellings, at businesses and in communities, so it’s easy to fuel up wherever you are.
- Make an environmental impact. There are no tailpipe emissions when a car runs on electricity. That helps everyone live cleaner and healthier lives.
There are more than 50 different types of light-duty electric vehicles on the market today, including sedans, SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans.
Whether you’re interested in a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or a battery electric vehicle, you can choose one that works best for your lifestyle.
Check out the Electric Power Research Institute’s "Consumer Guide to Electric Vehicles" or the US Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center to learn more about EVs in today’s market.
Do you want to learn more about your savings potential with an electric vehicle?
Check out our tool that can help you get a personal estimate based on your driving habits, compare vehicle options and more.