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The two types of electric vehicle (EV) explained

Created: Fri, 10 Jan 2020

Electric Vehicles or EV's are bloody exciting and could be one of the biggest changes you make to your lifestyle to reduce your impact on the environment, BUT they are really confusing.

The two types of electric vehicle (EV) explained

Given there's been a generally slow uptake of EV's in Australia compared to much of the developed world (of which there are many reasons for - ahem, Government policy or lack thereof) we believe that with knowledge, comes power. Perhaps if more Australians understood the two types of Electric Vehicles and their differences, benefits and costs, adoption rates may increase, putting our environment and future generations in a better position.

Foreword: There are going to be numerous acronyms in this blog. Let's get them out of the way before you get stuck in to the nitty gritty.

EV: Electric Vehicle
BEV: Battery Electric Vehicle
PHEV: Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
kW: kilowatt
kWh: kilowatt hour
EVSE: Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment
DC: Direct Current

If you want to reduce your dependence on foreign sourced fuel and gaining true energy independence while reducing your carbon footprint than look no further than an Electric Vehicle. An EV can be charged at your home from your solar panels and storage (if you have them) or from an existing electricity source. Overnight charging is generally cheaper, and some retailers have special EV rates (combined with state Government incentives). Although the purchase price of an EV is higher than an equivalent Internal combustion engine car, the running cost of an EV is less due to a cheaper fuel (you guesses it, Electricity) and easier maintenance because they have less moving parts in a pure battery EV.

There are two variations in the type of plug-in Electric Vehicle available and they are classed by the degree that electricity is used as their energy source: 1. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) or 2. Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV).

Let me explain the two types of Electric Vehicle:

1. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)

Battery Electric Vehicles are fully-electric vehicles with rechargeable batteries and no petrol or diesel engine. They store electricity in high-capacity battery packs and the battery power is used to run the electric motor and all onboard electronics. BEV's are charged by electricity from an external source and have no direct emissions. That's the goal right there.

BEV performance is generally very good. High torque provides good acceleration and top speed will exceed national speed limits. Handling is generally good due to a low centre of gravity with a heavy battery pack in the floor pan.

Most Electric Vehicle's (EV) can be charged from a 240v via a specialised adaptor. The new Hyundai Kona Electric on a single phase 32A (7kW) EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) will be fully charged and ready to go up to 400 km in around 9 hours.

Hyundai Kona

DC fast charging or simply, fast charging is currently the fastest charging solution in the EV market. DC fast chargers are found at dedicated EV charging stations and charge a battery up to 144 km range in approximately 30 minutes.

Some may find that the range of a BEV is a concern and that even with a 520 km range of a Tesla Model S they do not wish to wait for the period the car would take to recharge and allow them to continue their journey. If that's the case with you and your lifestyle, a PHEV might be a suitable alternative.

2. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

PHEV's can recharge the battery through both regenerative braking and “plugging in” to an external source of electrical power. PHEV models can go anywhere from 20 – 70 km before their petrol engines provide assistance. There is your key differentiator between a BEV and a PHEV - a PHEV has a fuel source making it a hybrid vehicle.

This hybrid allows electric power during commuting, or when in petrol free city zones (widespread in Europe currently), and also nullifies range anxiety due to being able to use the petrol engine.

The new Mitsubishi Outlander (PHEV) is the world's first plug-in hybrid SUV. With a complete charge taking just 9.8KWh of electricity and an EV range of up to 54 kilometres, the Outlander PHEV can run on its EV battery for a fraction of the cost of conventional petrol or diesel.

Mitsubishi Outlander (PHEV)

Because we want everyone to get on the Electric Vehicle band wagon, here's a list of EV's available in Australia as at January 2020 (we've included the two types):

Nissan Leaf
Type BEV
Battery size (KWh) 40
BEV range km* 240
Price (,000) $54

Hyundai Kona
Type BEV
Battery size (KWh) 64
BEV range km* 400
Price (,000) $60 - $70

Hyundai Ioniq
Type BEV
Battery size (KWh) 28
BEV range km* 200
Price (,000) $46

Jaguar I-Pace
Type BEV
Battery size (KWh) 90
BEV range km* 352
Price (,000) $123 - $183

Mercedes EQC400
Type BEV
Battery size (KWh) 80
BEV range km* 385
Price (,000) $147

Mini Electric
Type BEV
Battery size (KWh) 32
BEV range km* 235
Price (,000) $55

Telsa Model X
Type BEV
Battery size (KWh) 75-100
BEV range km* 350-470
Price (,000) $155 - $185

Tesla Model S
Type BEV
Battery size (KWh) 75-100
BEV range km* 410-520
Price (,000) $140 - $180

Tesla Model 3
Type BEV
Battery size (KWh) 50-75
BEV range km* 350-500
Price (,000) $78 - $110

Renault Zoe
Type BEV
Battery size (KWh) 41
BEV range km* 300
Price (,000) $51

Renault Kangoo ZE
Type BEV
Battery size (KWh) 33
BEV range km* 200
Price (,000) $54

BMW i3
Type BEV
Battery size (KWh) 33
BEV range km* 200
Price (,000) $76

BMW i8
Type PHEV
Battery size (KWh) 6
BEV range km* 22
Price (,000) $300

BMW 330e
Type PHEV
Battery size (KWh) 6
BEV range km* 23
Price (,000) $80

BMW X5
Type PHEV
Battery size (KWh) 9
BEV range km* 21
Price (,000) $140

Mini Countryman
Type PHEV
Battery size (KWh) 6
BEV range km* 40
Price (,000) $57

Mercedes A250
Type PHEV
Battery size (KWh) 16
BEV range km* 70
Price (,000) $60

Mitsubishi Outlander
Type PHEV
Battery size (KWh) 12
BEV range km* 35
Price (,000) $45 - $52

Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid
Type PHEV
Battery size (KWh) 10.8
BEV range km* 18
Price (,000) $155

Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid
Type PHEV
Battery size (KWh) 14.1
BEV range km* 50
Price (,000) $230 - $280

Range Rover Si4
Type PHEV
Battery size (KWh) 13.1
BEV range km* 35
Price (,000) $165

Volvo XC90
Type PHEV
Battery size (KWh) 2
BEV range km* 22
Price (,000) $136

* real world

If you want to dive deeper and understand the environmental performance of an Electric Vehicle, check out Green Vehicle Guide.

Author: Ross from EnergyIQ