Types of Electric Vehicles

Types of Electric Cars

There are three main types of electric vehicles (EVs), classed by the extent that electricity is used as the energy source; BEVs, or battery electric vehicles, PHEVs or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and HEVs, or hybrid electric vehicles. All three vehicle types are available at the Agnew Group, with one of the largest selection of New and Used electric and hybrid cars in Northern Ireland.  

Electric (BEV)

A Battery Electric Vehicle is a fully electric vehicle, meaning the only source of power is via a rechargeable battery.  They do not have the traditional combustion engine and therefore the design flexibility is increased as the usual constraints do not exist, the battery for instance powering the vehicle can be spread across the floor which improves traditional weight distribution.

One of the first things you will notice is the quietness of driving a BEV versus the usual petrol or diesel engine.  It’s only the noise from wind resistance and directly from the tyres that you are likely to hear and is a culture shock in the early stages of switching directly into a BEV or taking a test drive, but it soon becomes the norm.

Driving an electric car is also very straight forward as most come with automatic gearboxes and regenerative brakes slow the car when you lift off the throttle to help replenish the battery.  Consequently, you are often driving using one pedal at medium speeds, although standard braking via the dedicated pedal is always available as required.

Range is a key factor in deciding upon whether to make the switch to electric and what type of electric vehicle suits your needs.  Typically, BEV models range from 100-300 miles any vary greatly by model and size.  The manufacturers represented by the Agnew Group already have a wide range of BEV options and further Hybrid options within existing models, with may launches and model extensions to follow, so the choice and availability will grow further.  As a BEV is purely electric it is important to consider daily usage, vehicle range and your charging options.  More often there are choices available on the size and capacity of the battery powering the car, this is likely to affect the cost but enables the right package for your needs.

Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV)

A PHEV vehicle contains both a medium sized electric battery which powers the engine and an accompanying petrol or diesel powered engine.  The “Plug-in” description is crucial because it refers to the need to plug the car into a suitable charging point to replenish the battery.  The PHEV option is a step towards a full electric BEV vehicle but still maintains some of the traditional benefits of a petrol or diesel car, and as a result has its own considerations to determine if this is a suitable option for you.

The battery in a PHEV is much smaller so is the range available to drive using just the electric battery. Typically, these vehicles can travel between 10-50 miles via the electric engine, which does vary significantly by manufacturer and model.  Once the electric power has been used then the traditional petrol or diesel engine takes over and operates in the usual manner while fuel is available.  For short trips it may be possible to undertake this solely using the battery power, specific model range figures are available at each of our retailers.

The options available for PHEV are growing and are usually model extensions from existing models as manufacturers make more of their core models available in various PHEV options.  The choice on whether to consider a PHEV or jump to an electric only BEV vehicle depends on your driving and lifestyle requirements.  A PHEV vehicle is often seen as the first step in the electric journey and provide the safety net of the traditional engine in support, but for many embracing the full electric future and the benefits that come with that is a clear preference.

Hybrid (HEV)

A HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) by the absence of the Plug-In term has an electric battery which in part, selectively powers the engine, but it is not possible or required to recharge this via an external power supply.  Typically, hybrid cars use the electric battery up to 15-20mph and then the combustion engine (petrol or diesel) takes over. The combustion engine can then power the generator while cruising, which produces electricity and stores/recycles it in the batteries for later use. 

Hybrid models are becoming more standard extensions of manufacturers existing model and engine range due to their benefits, and we will see more added to the model ranges.

Another term also exists which is related to hybrid vehicles, this is MHEV – Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle.  This is similar to a HEV vehicle with a very small battery that recharges itself but does not actually propel the car.  Instead, it helps to power various assist systems such as “start stop functionality” and cruising without the accelerator at certain speeds. 

Detailed definitions and the technology available by manufacturer and model are available from each of our retailers. View our New and Used electric/hybrid vehicles below. 

New Electric/Hybrid Cars

New Electric/Hybrid Cars Belfast

Used Electric/Hybrid Cars

Used Electric Cars Belfast

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