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A comparison of Electric Vehicles: Hybrid, BEV, PHEV and FCEV Versions.

It is always tough trying to choose a vehicle. Should it be Moonroof or sunroof? Should it be all-wheel drive, rear wheel drive, or front wheel drive? Do I really need a CD player? Also, what color should it be? Brunt orange is cool, same as squid ink and cashmere metallic (clue: always go for squid ink). Deciding whether to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle toughens the already difficult choice. Should you buy a fuel cell, plug-in hybrid, standard hybrid, or battery electric? In fact, what differences exists between these vehicle types?

1. Conventional Hybrids

Conventional hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, have both an electric motor and a gasoline engine. Though these vehicles possess battery and an electric motor, they can’t be connected and recharged. Rather captured energy when brake is applied is what charges their batteries, making use of regenerative braking that transforms kinetic energy to electricity. In conventional vehicles this energy is usually wasted.

 

Toyota Prius-2 Hybrid Scheme
Toyota Prius – Regenerative system

 

Based on the hybrid type, the electric motor will definitely work together with the engine powered by gasoline to reduce the usage of gasoline or permit the gasoline engine to totally switch off. Fuel economy can be dramatically increased by hybrid fuel-saving technologies.

Toyota Prius Hybrid Synergy Drive technology
Toyota Prius Third-generation – Hybrid Synergy Drive technology

 

For instance, the 2014 Honda Accord hybrid accomplishes a total of 47 miles for every gallon (mpg) in comparison to 30 mpg for a version that is non-hybrid. At 12,000 miles in one year and gasoline of $4/gallon, that implies a saving of over $575 every year.

2. Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) are like traditional hybrids because they both have an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, except that PHEV batteries can be charged by connecting to an outlet. So why settle for a PHEV rather than a regular hybrid?

2011 Chevrolet Volt plugged into Coulomb Technologies 240V wall charging unit
2011 Chevrolet Volt plugged into Coulomb Technologies 240V wall charging unit

 

Anyway, unlike the regular hybrid, PHEVs can substitute electricity from the grid for gasoline. For instance the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi, using electricity alone can go up to 21 miles, and the 2014 Chevy Volt can go up to 38 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in.

Ford Fusion Hybrid 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery
Ford Fusion Hybrid – 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery

 

Although this doesn’t seem like a far journey, a lot of people do not drive up to this distance daily. In a UCS survey recently, 54 percent of respondents testified driving below 40 miles a day. Besides, using electricity rather than fuel is less expensive and cleaner for the vast majority. The average expense to drive 100 miles using gasoline is just $3.45 compared with $13.52 for driving 100 miles on fuel.

3. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

Battery electric vehicles run solely on electricity by means of on-board batteries that are charged by connecting to a charging station or an outlet. The, Fiat 500e, Tesla Model S and Nissan LEAF fall under this group; however there are numerous different BEVs available. These vehicles do not have gasoline engine, they have shorter electric driving ranges when compared with PHEVs, and do not bring out tailpipe discharges (however there are emissions connected with charging these vehicles, which UCS has examined earlier on).

Tesla Model S -Electric All-Wheel Drive. Dual Motor Model S is a categorical improvement on conventional all-wheel drive systems. With two motors, one in the front and one in the rear, Model S digitally and independently controls torque to the front and rear wheels. The result is unparalleled traction control in all conditions

The BEVs available today commonly go for about 60 to 80 miles for each charge; however a Tesla can go more than 200 miles on just one charge. A current UCS survey discovered that a BEV range of 60 miles would match the driving requirements of 69 percent of U.S. drivers on weekdays. As battery innovation keeps on improving, the ranges of BEV will increase considerably further, giving a much bigger number of drivers the alternative of driving solely on electricity.

4. Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs)

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) make use of an electric-only engine just like a BEV, thou it means of storing energy is a bit different. FCEVs store hydrogen gas in a tank, rather than recharging the battery. The power device in FCEVs mixes hydrogen with oxygen from the air to generate electricity. The electricity coming from the energy unit then powers an electric engine, which controls the vehicle simply like a BEV. Also, just as BEVs, there is no brown haze shaping or atmosphere changing contamination from FCEVs tailpipe – the main side effect is water. Different from BEVs or PHEVs, plugging in FCEVs is not required, since their energy components are recharged by using hydrogen for refilling, which might just take 5 minutes at a filling station.

Hyundai  ix35 Fuel Cell
The Hyundai ix35 FCEV is a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle developed by Hyundai.

 

Hydrogen generates emissions too just the way creating electricity to help charge a plug in vehicle generates emissions. Hydrogen gotten today from natural gas emits almost same quantity of total emissions in a mile as that coming out when a plug in vehicle is charged with electricity gotten from natural gas. Furthermore, infrastructures that fuels hydrogen, like the charging stations of public electric vehicle, is increasing and largely available in California. With more federal and state policies focused at helping to bring more of these cars out, in future FCEVs can turn to be a greater part of our transportation systems.