Everything You Need to Know
So… you’re considering buying an electric vehicle. But which one is right for you and your lifestyle? We’ve made it easy on you – keep reading for everything you need to know about types of EVs.
Essentially, there are three types of electric vehicle: the HYBRID, the PLUG-IN HYBRID, and the BATTERY ELECTRIC vehicle.
Let’s break it down:
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV)
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) have both a gasoline engine and electric battery. Essentially, a hybrid is a traditional gas-powered car that sends you on fewer trips to the pump annually.
You cannot drive an HEV without using the gas engine; it will not run on the battery alone. However, the two will work in tandem to make the car more fuel efficient. You do not need to charge an HEV. Instead, electric energy is generated by regenerative braking. This is a process by which the electric motor converts the energy created when you brake into stored power. HEVs then use the battery to assist the gasoline engine, which in turn increases fuel economy and range. In a nutshell, the hybrid component essentially makes your traditional gas vehicle more fuel-efficient.
You’ll still be able to drive long distances, but your recommended maintenance/oil-changes won’t change. The benefit? You’ll make fewer trips to the pump annually.
- Great on gas
- No range limitations on how far you can drive
- No charging station required
- Less expensive than a PHEV or EV
- HEVs come in all sizes, up to 8 seats
- Many HEVs have towing capabilities
- You’re still paying for gas
- Environmental impact is still high
- They do not meet the requirements for any provincial or federal rebates
Who should buy an HEV?
HEVs are a great choice. They’re ideal for drivers who do not have regular access to a charging station, such people who live in older apartments without a charging station, or those with on-street parking only.
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)
Like HEVs, Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are powered by both gasoline and a rechargeable battery. But unlike a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid can be driven powered by the battery only, and the gasoline engine will come on only as needed. Another difference is that you need to recharge larger mid-capacity battery by plugging into an external electricity source, such as a Level 1 or 2 charger. Like an HEV, it also uses regenerative braking to store power in the battery.
Essentially, PHEVs ride the line between HEVs and battery only EVs. PHEVs provide the same flexibility and range of a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle, but with added fuel cost savings, increased range on a single tank, and a smaller environmental footprint.
Charging using a Level 2 charger typically takes a PHEV anywhere from 1-3 hours. Using a home wall outlet (Level 1), charging will take upwards of 8 hours or more.
A typical electric-only range of a PHEV is 25-50 km, more than enough for most commutes and errands in and around the city, leaving the gasoline engine for long road trips. Some PHEVs can get upwards of 1000+ kms per tank with the help of the battery.
- You will save about $1750-$2000 in gas costs per year depending on your model chosen, based on 2019 gas prices. While figures haven’t been updated for 2022 gas prices, we’re feeling pretty good about your likely savings now that gas is $2/litre.
- Exceptional on gas
- No range limitations on how far you can drive – you can drive it like a regular gas-powered car
- No charging station required, but recommended
- Not as expensive as an EV
- HEVs come in all sizes, up to 8 seats
- Many HEVs have towing capabilities
- Still paying for gas
- Environmental impact is higher than an EV
- Charging can take upwards of 8 hours with a regular household plug; a charging station is recommended for ease of use.
Who should buy an HEV?
Plug-in hybrids are ideal for those who need flexibility: drivers who want an electric vehicle for most of their day-to-day commuting and errands, but also a vehicle that can take them on extended long road trips. They are also ideal for drivers who can’t install a charging station at home and are only able to charge at work, for example.
TIP: Most PHEVs are eligible for up to $4,000 in rebates and can save the average driver about $2000 per year in fuel costs.
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV/EV)
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) are fully electric vehicles with high-capacity rechargeable batteries and no gasoline engine. Also known as Electric Vehicles (EVs), they are charged by plugging into an external electricity source, and by regenerative braking. EVs do not emit any harmful emissions caused by traditional gasoline-powered engines making them Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV).
Range on a newer model EV can be anywhere from 300 kms to 500+ kms.
Typically, an EV is charged as needed, regularly but not constantly. The onboard computer will countdown the battery life, like a gas gauge in a traditional car. When the gauge is below 20-30%, instead of heading to the gas station, you head to an EV charging station. Most people who own an EV will install a Level 2 EV charging station at their residence for convenience. While not strictly necessary, without one, charging will be difficult. it certainly makes owning an EV more practical.
With a common Level 2 charger, you can charge your EV in about 7 hours. With a household plug, this will take upwards of 36 hours, or more. In contrast, a Level 3 charger will take care of your battery in about an hour and a half. On the all-new Kia EV6, with the latest 800v DC fast charging from a 350-kW charger you can add 338 kms of range in under 18 minutes.
- You will save about $2300-$2700 in gas costs per year depending on your model chosen, based on 2019 gas prices. 2022 brought a sharp increase in gas prices, so you’ll likely save a whole lot more now that gas prices are hovering near $2/litre.
- No gas
- There is no back up gas engine – your range is limited to what your battery can store
Superb environmental footprint
- EVs are currently only available in 5-passenger configurations
- Installing a home charging station is recommended
- While towing is becoming more available in an EV (hello, Kia EV6), it’s typically hard to come by
Who should buy an EV?
EVs are the ideal choice for someone wishing to significantly lower their environmental footprint. With a range upwards of 500 km, and more fast charging stations coming on-line every day, they are swiftly becoming a great all-around vehicle that can meet the needs of most drivers.
TIP: Most EVs are eligible for up to $8,000 in rebates and can save the average driver thousands of dollars per year in fuel costs. EVs have an all-electric range anywhere from 150 km up to 500+ km.
GREAT ON GAS
A Hybrid (HEV) has both a gasoline engine and small electric battery. It does not require charging. Think of it as a regular gas vehicle with phenomenal gas mileage.
Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV)
Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are powered by both gasoline and a rechargeable battery. But unlike a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid can be driven powered by the battery only, and required charging.
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV/EV/ZEVs)
Battery Electric Vehicles are 100% electric vehicles with high-capacity rechargeable batteries and no gasoline engine. They require charging and do not emit emissions making them Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV).
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