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Electric Vehicles 101   Arrow divider image - marks separation between nested pages that are listed as breadcrumbs.

Plug-in Electric Vehicles

‘Plug-in’ electric vehicles are cars, trucks, or buses that use electricity from the power grid or other source to move the vehicle’s wheels. There are two main types of plug-in electric vehicles:

  • Battery-electric vehicles do not use any gasoline or other liquid fuel; all power is supplied from electricity stored in a battery. The Nissan ‘Leaf’ is an example of a battery-electric vehicle.
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles use a combination of electricity, an internal combustion engine, and regenerative energy from braking. In regenerative braking systems, the vehicle’s electric motor generates power when braking. As that power is transferred to a battery the vehicle slows and the energy is stored for later use. The Chevy Volt is an example of a plugin hybrid vehicle.

Some plug-in hybrids run solely on electricity at certain times, such as starting and when maintaining a constant speed. The engine engages only when additional power is needed, such as accelerating or climbing. Other plug-in hybrids use a blended system where the battery and the conventional engine operate together. An extended‐range plug-in hybrid vehicle uses an internal combustion engine to recharge the battery or power an electric generator when the electric range capacity has been met.

Non-plug-in-hybrid electric vehicles

Non-plug-in hybrid electric vehicles such as the Toyota ‘Prius’ are not designed to travel extended distances in electric-only mode. These hybrids generally use battery power only while stopped or at low speeds, and cannot typically operate at high speeds while being powered by electricity alone. They are charged using regenerative braking and the internal combustion engine and the vehicles do not get plugged into charging equipment.

Last updated: October 5, 2017 at 15:21 pm