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Introduction to Electric Cars


If you’re interested in the benefits of switching to an electric vehicle (EV) but you’re having trouble distinguishing your PHEV from your HEV, then don’t worry, here are WLMG we are here to help.

Let’s compare the various types of electric vehicles available, to give you a better understanding about which EV is right for you.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

In simple terms, energy is stored in a large battery, which drives a powerful electric motor. Easy. To charge it, simply plug it into a home chargepoint, or a public charger when you’re out and about, and the car will take care of the rest. Plug it in at home, and you wake up every morning with a ‘full tank’* The car then drives on battery power alone, there is no need to add petrol or diesel. It can even add charge to the battery while you are driving by recovering energy that would normally be lost – when braking for example.


Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)

In terms of how you use it, a self-charging hybrid car works just like a conventional car – there is no need to plug in – simply fill up with petrol at the pumps, and off you go! So what does hybrid mean? It’s pretty simple, along with a petrol or diesel engine, hybrid cars also have an electric motor that is powered by a small battery. The aim of the electric motor is to assist the engine and occasionally drive very short distances on battery power – as opposed to driving long distances on battery power alone as a plug-in hybrid or a battery-electric vehicle would. 



The battery is charged by recovering energy that would otherwise be wasted – when slowing down for example. The battery then feeds this energy to the electric motor to help with acceleration or to drive the car at low speeds. This means lower emissions, better fuel economy and more money to spend on the things you enjoy. Great!


Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) works in a similar way to a self-charging hybrid– there is a petrol engine that works with an electric motor and a battery. In a plug-in hybrid, the battery is much larger than in a self-charging hybrid. This means the car is able to travel around 30 miles on battery power alone – more than enough for the UK average daily commute – but it can also call on the petrol engine for longer trips. 

Like a self-charging hybrid, the battery can be charged a little while driving, but for the full benefit, you will need to plug in. Charging a PHEV should take less than three hours. Put this all together and you can enjoy miles of low-cost, all-electric driving while still having a petrol engine for those rare long distance trips. Perfect. 

Mild Hybrid

A mild hybrid car works in a very similar way to a self-charging hybrid car, but it has a smaller battery. Because the battery is smaller, a mild hybrid cannot drive on battery power alone – unlike a self-charging hybrid in which the motor can take over at low speed or when cruising.

Instead, the petrol or diesel engine does the majority of the work and the electric motor is there to provide assistance. This means the engine doesn’t have to work as hard, which means lower emissions and increased fuel economy. The battery is charged by recovering energy that would otherwise be wasted – when slowing down for example. There is no need to plug-in a mild hybrid, simply keep it topped up with petrol or diesel as you would with a conventional car.