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EV, HEV, or PHEV: A Guide to Electric Vehicles

types of electric car

United States President Joseph Biden signed an executive order on December 8 directing the federal government to have all acquisitions of light-duty vehicles be zero-emission by 2027 and to acquire only zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) by 2035. The Department of the Interior (DOI) began the transition in 2021, changing over to 100 percent ZEV for the U.S. Park Police fleet of dirt bikes and lightweight motorcycles in San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, D.C. The goal is for the entire DOI fleet nationwide to be made up of 100 percent ZEV by 2025. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will start in early 2022 field tests for the Ford Mustang Mach-E as a SEV for the law enforcement fleet.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) follows the same goal of drastically reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It finalized in December the more stringent revised national GHG emission standards for models 2023 to 2026 of light trucks and passenger cars.

It is evident that the vehicles of the future are electric vehicles (EV). Imagine yourself purchasing one of these for your next car and driving it off the dealership. You will definitely want to keep it all shiny and new for the long term with spiffy auto ceramic coating services.

Differentiate Among EVs

A car that runs purely on electric power stored in batteries is called a battery electric vehicle (BEV). The battery replaces the gasoline tank, and the electric motor replaces the internal combustion engine. Because no gasoline is used, the BEV has zero tailpipe emissions. Another term for this is the all-electric vehicle (AEV).

The hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) still has an internal combustion engine fueled by gasoline and a battery. The kinetic energy from regenerative braking charges the battery while the internal combustion engine is running the vehicle. In turn, the battery power assists the internal combustion engine and reduces its consumption of gasoline. There is also a type of HEV with both an internal combustion engine fueled by gas and an electric motor powered by a battery. The battery alone can run the vehicle for just a few miles.

The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is similar to the HEV with an internal combustion engine fueled by gasoline and an electric motor powered by a battery. The big difference is that the battery is much more powerful and can run the car for up to 40 miles. The internal combustion engine takes over when the battery power is used up. This is convenient for long-distance driving when no charging station is immediately accessible. Because of its powerful battery, a PHEV uses as much as 60 percent less gasoline.

Types of EV Chargers

The HEV cannot be charged because the brakes do the charging. The BEV and the PHEV have three kinds of chargers.

The Level 1 charger is for home use and has three-prong outlets. It is the slowest charger. Various vehicle models have different charging times, but as an example, the Chevrolet Bolt BEV will store enough power for four miles for every hour of charging.

The Level 2 charger can be used at home or in a commercial charging station. It provides faster charging. For the Chevrolet Bolt BEV, an hour of charging can provide power for 25 miles.

The Level 3 charger or DC Fast Charger is the fastest. It is usually found in commercial charging stations. For the Chevrolet Bolt BEV, a mere half-hour of charging can provide power for 100 miles.

The BEV will require the most charging since it runs purely on electricity. According to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), the charging cost for a BEV is much lower than the cost of gasoline. If electricity costs 20 cents for every kilowatt-hour and one kilowatt-hour provides power for three to four miles, the cost of driving 1,000 miles would be from $50 to $66. On the other hand, for a car that goes 360 miles per 12-gallon tank and with gasoline at $3.65 per gallon, $122.64 worth of gas will be needed to drive 1,000 miles.

Choosing Your EV

It is best to first check the track record of the brand and model of an EV before deciding on a purchase. For instance, General Motors (GM) recalled the Chevrolet Bolt BEV 2017 to 2019 models to change faulty batteries that caused several fire incidents. The company also advised owners to keep battery power at not less than 70 miles, not charge their vehicles overnight, and not park them inside.

Tesla recently recalled its 2017 to 2020 Model 3 cars totaling 356,309 and 119,009 Model S cars. The Model 3 cars have a cable that can block the feed from the rear-view camera after wear and tear. The Model S cars have a defective latch in the front trunk that can cause the hood to open by itself.

Most brands are manufacturing several BEV, HEV, and PHEV models, though. There will be many to choose from, and models will continue to improve over time.

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