Types of Electric Cars Available in the US

The world, as we know it, is rapidly changing. Natural resources were deemed scarce for ages, but it was not until humanity reached alarmingly low levels that we started giving two cents about them. Better late than never, energy consumption is currently under a revolution, and Electric Vehicles (EVs) are a massive part of it. Let us find out, the types of electric cars available in the USA.

Electric Vehicles are similar to vehicles like we have seen for decades. However, they save scarce resources by using electricity to power and accelerate an engine instead of fuel.

Electric Vehicles have been in the market for a while and capture an increasing chunk of vehicles sales. The US is leading the chart, with the total sales surpassing two million EVs by mid-2021.

Types of Electric Cars Available in the US
Types of Electric Cars Available in the US

However, the majority of the people still don’t know about the different types of electric cars and how they differ from each other.

What Are the Types of Electric Cars?

Generally, there are three types of electric cars, including:

  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)
  • Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)

Although each type uses electricity to alter engine combustion, they operate in different ways and have different pros and cons to each other.

Also, read, Do Electric Cars Depreciate Faster?

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

Battery Electric Vehicles are the simplest yet the most efficient type of electric vehicle. BEVs are considered “all-electric” cars because their powertrain solely requires electricity to run.

Unlike its counterpart variations, the engine power is not derived by two different co-existing powering mechanisms.

The BEV runs entirely on electricity stored in the battery, making it the most low-maintenance electric vehicle variant.

You don’t need oil changes, engine tune-ups, or repairing costs consisting of the same elements, which save a vast accumulated amount of money over time.

However, the car being an all-electric-powered vehicle is more expensive than the other EV options.

Since BEVs only require electricity-charged batteries to power the whole engine, they are equipped with the largest capacity batteries.

Usually, they come with a 120-volt level 1 charger which takes up a lot of time to charge. If you are looking to buy a BEV, remember that it needs to be charged more often due to no other fuel backup in the vehicle. This makes a home charging solution even more important.

Make sure you choose a fast home charging solution or a fast-charging station, as the larger the battery, the more time it takes to charge.

The chart below shows the four most popular BEVs you can find in the US and how each BEV’s battery capacity, charge time, and driving range differs.

BEV ModelMax Charge RateBattery SizeCharge Time with L1 chargerCharge Time with JuiceBox Pro 40Driving Range
Tesla Model S 75D Chevy Bolt EV Nissan LEAF ePlus BMW i311.5 kW 7.7 kW 6.6 kW 7.7 kW75 kWh 60 kWh 62 kWh 42 kWh65 hrs 48 hrs 52 hrs 35 hrs8 hrs 8.5 hrs 10 hrs 5.5 hrs237 miles 238 miles 226 miles 153 miles

Read Are Electric Cars Reliable In Cold Weather?

Types of Electric Cars
Types of Electric Cars

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles use an electric battery and motor with a conventional internal combustion engine to propel the car.

You can drive your car using both mechanisms simultaneously for sufficient consumption or use either one by switching the other off.

PHEVs rely more on their electric motors to be driven; hence, they have larger battery packs than eclectic hybrid vehicles. However, you can recharge the battery pack if you run out.

PHEVs are very efficient when it comes to driving on longer routes. Drivers who go up and down long routes frequently can use electricity to power their engines entirely if they run out of gas and there’s no gas station nearby.

The advantage can also be used the other way round. However, most drivers opt not to use the electric charge until they are low on fuel or have run out of it.

This is because the electric battery packs in most common PHEVs like the Ford C-Max and Honda Clarity can take them up to 30 to 50 miles forward if they run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere.

Some extra-ordinary PHEVs can run longer, such as the BMW i3, which has a 26 miles driving range solely on electricity.

Plug-in hybrids are similar to hybrid electric vehicles as the car automatically recharges the battery between switches of electric motor and internal combustion engines.

However, drivers can top up their batteries by plug-in charging. If you have an insufficient charge in your PHEV and drive to someplace that doesn’t have adequate charging facilities, you shouldn’t worry as you have an alternative powering mechanism to fall on.

The chart below shows the four most popular PHEVs you can find in the US and how each PHEV’s battery capacity, charge time, and driving range differs.

Plug-In Hybrid ModelMax Charge RateBattery SizeCharge Time with L1 chargerCharge Time with JuiceBox Pro 40All-Electric Range
Toyota Prius Prime Ford Fusion Energi Honda Clarity PHEV3.3 kW 3.3 kW 6.6 kW9 kWh 9 kWh 17.7 kWh6 hrs 6 hrs 14 hrs2.5 hrs 2.5 hrs 3 hrs25 miles 26 miles 47 miles

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Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)

Often referred to as “hybrids,” HEVs are the most common electric vehicles in the market and the earliest ones.

The technology was around before even the 2000s, but it was not until Toyota introduced the Prius as the first HEV which changed the car and energy industry for good.

Since then, the HEV category has seen the most electric vehicles in the market of various brands and makes with Toyota Prius, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Ioniq, and many others leading the charts.

Unlike the PHEVs and BEVs, hybrids have a smaller electric battery and only use it to take some load of the internal combustion engine to improve fuel economy.

These electric vehicles cannot use only electricity to power the engine at any point. They assist the conventional engines by working alongside them while the fuel system takes the most workload.

However, the combination of electricity and fuel results in better fuel consumption than the standard fuel-based engines and lower running costs. In comparison, you cannot charge a hybrid from an external source.

The battery only recharges through the car itself through regenerative braking. The hybrid system automatically activates when it seems suitable to the program, leaving drivers out of the dilemma of monitoring the system.

Types of Electric Cars Available in the USA
Types of Electric Cars Available in the USA

Read Can You Recycle Electric Car Batteries?

What about MHEV & FCEV?

While the previous variants are the most common and commercialized EVs in the US, the Mild-Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) and the Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) are two other less common types of EVs are also available in the US.

The MHEV consists of an integrated starter motor (ISG), a 48-volt motor that aids the vehicle to start to save the fuel only consumed while turning on the ignition.

However, some debates hold the MHEV from establishing itself as an EV as it only functions during the ignition and not when the car moves. On the other hand, an FCEV is similar to a BEV as the engine fully uses electricity to drive the vehicle.

However, the electricity that the FCEV consumes is formulated differently. It uses a chemical reaction that involves regenerating electricity through hydrogen and storing it in the battery.

Unlike BEVs, FCEVs can be topped with hydrogen instead of electrical charging, making the electric car more of a hydrogen car.

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I hope you got an idea of the Types of Electric Cars Available in the US.