Electric vehicles (EVs) are making a growing impact on the UK car market and there are three main types to choose from – extended range EV, battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid EV.
The growth of the EV market – with a bumper sales month in January 2017 taking 4.6% of the total – is set to continue and some forecasts predict 1.6 million EVs on the road in the UK by 2020.
The Government continues to support the adoption of EVs with grants for cars and vans, which means that increasing numbers of drivers can make the switch from fossil fuel.
It’s still true that EVs are a more expensive purchasing option than petrol or diesel but the running costs are around 75% less, along with lower maintenance needs. The savings are largest when owners can charge at home overnight with a low rate electricity tariff.
The Extended range EV is a type of plug-in hybrid car and it has a specific set-up with the internal combustion engine providing power to an electric generator to charge the battery when required and not to drive the wheels.
The benefit of this type of EV is that you have a solution to anxiety over battery charging and range but there are added costs and complexities with the dual engine/power configuration.
You can charge the Extended-range EV through an external power source in the same way as you would with other EVs.
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)
The Battery Electric Vehicle is the purest form of EV in a way as it is powered solely by an on-board electric battery that drives the electric motor(s). These are also known as Plug-in EVs.
The BEV needs regular charging through a custom point at home or on the road. There are a rapidly increasing number of these external charging points throughout the UK.
The battery can also take a charge through regenerative braking where the electric motor helps to slow the vehicle and uses some of the energy that would be converted to heat by the brakes to deliver kinetic energy to the fuel cells.
Depending on which of the more than 30 EV models chosen, you can have a slow charge (up to 3kW) ideal overnight charge (6-8 hours) or a fast charge (7-22kW) providing full recharge in less than four hours.
There are also growing numbers of and Rapid AC and DC (43-50kW) charge facilities that give you an 80% charge in around 30 minutes.
Plug-in hybrid EV
The plug-in hybrid is a combination of two power technologies, the internal combustion engine and the electric battery, controlled by computer. This combination helps to provide better fuel efficiency in some conditions such as city driving where stop-start is common.
In these conditions, the electric motor gives the driver greater efficiency in starting and acceleration while at urban low speeds, the car runs solely on the battery, which is exactly when a conventional fuel engine is least efficient.
Fuel waste is minimised by the auto-shutdown when the EV is stationary for a time, although this function is now very common in internal combustion models as well now.
The battery takes a charge through both the engine and through regenerative braking.
The plug-in hybrid also can be charged directly from an external electricity supply, unlike conventional hybrid vehicles.
Find out more about our EV charging solutions.