Electric Car Basics
What’s the difference between a hybrid and an electric car?
There are two types of electric cars, or plug in electrified vehicles (PEVs), Battery electrics (BEVs) which run on electricity only, and plug in hybrid electrics (PHEVs) which can first run on electricity from the battery for a shorter range (often the distance of a daily commute, or more), then seamlessly switch to a full tank of gasoline if the battery gets low.
HYBRID ELECTRIC VEHICLE
- Does not have an external plug
- Gains some of its driving power from a gasoline engine, and some from an electric motor and small battery pack.
- Generates its energy through gasoline combustion. However, unlike non-hybrid vehicles, an HEV also recovers and extends some of this energy. How? By recharging the batteries through “regenerative braking”.
PLUG-IN HYBRID ELECTRIC VEHICLE
- Gets its driving power exclusively from an electric motor. That energy is generated from a larger battery pack, that has been recharged from the grid or another external source.
- Also uses “regenerative braking” to improve overall driving efficiency.
BATTERY ELECTRIC VEHICLE
Image courtesy of Gary Kendall, PhD.
To BEV or To PHEV? That is the question.
PHEVs therefore will always have the range you need, and can be driven and fueled just like the car you drive now. Today’s BEVs have more range than 90% of commuters and others drive daily. Some models are available in either BEV or PHEV.
Most BEVs have a range of between 114 and 315 miles depending upon model. They must be recharged when the battery gets low, and can be done slowly (typically overnight at home while you sleep) or more quickly using a public fast charging station. But mostly, they are charged conveniently at home, overnight while you sleep.
Today’s PHEVs a have a battery range between 14 and 114 miles, and then typically a full tank of gasoline range, 300-500+ miles. When operating in hybrid mode, they also get better gas mileage than comparable gasoline only vehicles.
Plugstar will help you explore your needs and find the best options for you, matching you to the right kind of electric car. Then you can select and compare cars. Once you have found the car(s) you are interested in, review our rebates and incentives section and attend an upcoming event.
Virtual Test Drive
Subcompact 5-door Hatchback
(MSRP Range after incentives)
Partner Discount Price:
Purchase for $21,995*
or lease for $155 a month
Quality & Reliability Rating:
Virtual Test Drive It!
Watch the full video review
*Net consumer cost after $2,500 MA MOR-EV rebate.
Looking for more vehicle information or a different brand or model of EV? Check out the PlugStar Shopping Assistant to browse all available plug-in electric vehicles.
Quality & Reliability Ratings Provided by JD Power.