Electric Vehicle Types

There are two main types of electric vehicle (EV): Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). Both types are powered fully, or partially, by an electric motor and battery pack. Both BEVs and PHEVs can attribute much of their engineering development to the very first Hybrids.


Read below and discover the difference between Fully Electric Cars, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Cars and Hybrids.

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

Battery Electric Vehicles are commonly known as fully electric cars. Fully electric cars never use gasoline and are powered exclusively by an electric motor and battery back. Fully electric cars are the most cost effective and environmentally-friendly EV option.


The cost to charge a fully electric car is about 1/5th the cost to refuel an equivalent gas car and will save you thousands of dollars per year on driving costs. In addition, fully electric cars do not require oil changes, transmissions or exhaust systems, saving you hundreds of dollars per year on maintenance.


The majority of fully electric cars fall in the $35,000-$45,000 price range and are capable of 250+ km of driving on a full charge with some models capable of 400+ km of driving.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

Plug-in Hybrids have all of the same components that Hybrids have with one major difference, the battery packs are much larger and can be recharged by plugging-in.


Plug-in Hybrids provide 20-80 km (depending on model) of dedicated all-electric driving. Once the battery is used up, a gasoline engine or generator takes over and the car functions like a regular Hybrid from that point on.


There are two kinds of Plug-in Hybrids: Parallel and Extended Range. Parallel PHEVs have a gasoline engine and an electric motor that operate independently, but work side by side. Extended Range PHEVs use a gasoline generator that makes electricity to power an electric motor.


Plug-in Hybrids are more affordable to drive than traditional Hybrids because they provide all-electric driving for most day to day needs while still offering equal or better fuel economy when operating in gasoline mode.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)

Hybrid Electric Vehicles, commonly known as ‘Hybrids’, first made their mass-market appearance in the early 1990s with the release of the Toyota Prius. Nowadays, you would be hard-pressed to walk into a dealership and not find hybrid versions of your favourite models.


Hybrids contain a gasoline engine, an electric motor and a small battery pack. The battery is recharged through a process called ‘regenerative braking’. The electric motor switches on when the vehicle comes to a stop and when it first accelerates, once you reach cruising speed the gasoline engine takes over. In this way, Hybrids let the electric motor and the gasoline engine do what they’re best at, which improves your overall efficiency and reduces your fuel costs.


Despite delivering better fuel efficiency and lower fuel costs than traditional gas cars, Hybrids are still mainly powered by gasoline and, as a result, are often excluded from conversations surrounding ‘electric’ vehicles. Nowadays, when someone refers to an electric vehicle, or EV,  they are usually referring to a fully electric or plug-in hybrid electric car.

Canadian Electric Car Fast Facts

  • There are 100,000+ electric vehicles on the road in Canada
  • The Canadian EV market is roughly split 50/50 between Plug-in Hybrids and Fully Electrics
  • There are 40+ models of EV available for sale in Canada, with more on the way
  • Most of Canada's electricity comes from nuclear and hydro, which are both low-emitting energy sources

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