Types of Electric Vehicles

An electric vehicle is defined by a vehicle that uses one or more electric motors as a source of propulsion. Amazingly, electric vehicles have been around since 1832! However, the development of these early vehicles quickly died out with the discovery of cheap and abundant oil. In the late 20th century, oil prices began to rise significantly. This peaked the interest of the automotive manufactures. Slowly but surely, electric vehicles began to make their way into the mainstream vehicle markets. There are three types of electric vehicles now available. Fully electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles and hybrid vehicles. But what is the difference between them?

Fully Electric Vehicles

Fully Electric Vehicles

These are the Crème de la crème of electric vehicles in our opinion. Fully electric vehicles emit absolutely no harmful emissions directly. They are the greenest vehicles we have on offer. The on-board battery powers all aspects of the vehicle. From the electric motor to the on-board heating systems.  When leasing one of these vehicles it is important that consider what kind of driving you are doing. Once the battery runs flat you're stuck if you cannot reach a charge point in time. Similarly, though, this is the same for petrol vehicles. If you’re in a big city, there are now many charge points. At the moment, it isn't quite as good as the current petrol station infrastructure, however charge point coverage is improving exponentially.

Plug-in Hybrid

Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles

Plug-in hybrids are essentially a meet in the middle between fully electric and normal hybrids. They do not have the same pure electric range as fully electric vehicles due to having a smaller capacity battery. They use a petrol engine to help supplement the electrical energy provided from the battery. All propulsion is still achieved by means of an electric motor. This electric motor is just sometimes also powered by a combustion engine. The combustion engine supplements the battery at times of increased power requirements. For example, traveling at high speeds or climbing a steep hill.

The benefit of having a plug-in hybrid is that it's difficult to run out of juice completely. You can use this car on pure petrol, as the petrol station infrastructure is better than the current electric charge point network. Its difficult to be caught in a position where you can't make it to your nearest petrol station.

Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrid Vehicles

Standard hybrid vehicles have no electric inputs. All the electricity used for hybrids is generated on-board this is done via a process called regenerative breaking. This process uses the vehicles momentum during braking to recover energy. Hybrid vehicles also charge the electric battery via the internal combustion engine. This seems a little counterintuitive however powering a vehicle this way means that the engine can run at its optimum efficiency for longer.

How do different types of electric vehicles compare against each other?


Each of the different types of electric vehicles have their own benefits and drawbacks. The below diagrams rate the different types of electric vehicles based on overall range, emissions and fuel cost. These diagrams are only a rough guide and may not be true in every scenario. For example, if you have a plug-in hybrid and do not charge it up. A fully electric vehicle may have a greater range than the plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Overall Range



These are ranked from the highest range capability to the lowest.


1st

Hybrid

2nd

Plug-in-Hybrid

3rd

Fully Electric

Emissions and Fuel Cost



These are ranked from the least expensive down to the most.


1st

Fully Electric

2nd

Plug-in-Hybrid

3rd

Hybrid

Which type of electric vehicle do I choose?


Finding what's right for you can be quite difficult if there's a lot of options to choose from. With technology advancing and the range of electric vehicle choices expanding - making a decision has become much less black and white. It really comes down to considering these three key factors:

Toyota Prius

Vehicle Pictured - Toyota Prius



Home or Work Charging Capability

Do you have a charger already installed at your home or work? If not, do you have the space to be able to do this? Perhaps you might not have off road parking. All of these things need to be considered when leasing an electric vehicle. A hybrid should be chosen when you are unable to charge regularly.

Your Mileage and Type of Driving

How many miles do you do? Will you be traveling distances over range of the electric vehicle you have your eyes on? If you are, how frequently? Can you take a break to find a charge point? For work commuters, you may not want to stop and charge your vehicle if you already have a long journey to your place of work. Fully electric vehicles are perfect for those doing fairly short journeys.

Lifestyle and Budgeting
Why are you considering electric? Is it for a fuel cost saving? Is it for a saving on your BIK tax rate? Are you serious about minimising your carbon footprint? Is it for increased acceleration? These are the things you have to consider. Depending on your reasons for switching to electric you may have to make sacrifices in order to achieve certain personal goals when it comes to your electric vehicle.



Tesla Model 3

Vehicle Pictured - Tesla Model 3

Conclusion


Making the switch to electric can be quite a difficult decision. There is a fair amount of knowledge you need to understand in order to make a decent judgement. Hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles all have their own unique benefits. If you require any additional information or have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly team.