There are lots of new electric and hybrid vehicles arriving on the market and the technology that comes with them is bound to leave you scratching your head. So what are the choices?
In place of the traditional combustion engine, electric vehicles (EVs) have an electric motor powered by a battery and are plugged into charging points. These are available at various public places and can be installed at home. Some electric vehicles go a step further, with technology that recovers energy during braking or decelerating which adds charge to the battery while you're on the move and extends the vehicle's range. Electric motors produce maximum torque at any rpm which means instant acceleration, no need for gears and a smoother journey.
Self-charging hybrids are used the same as regular cars and still need to be filled with fuel but, alongside the combustion engine, they also have a battery which charges as you drive. It assists the engine and can power the car for short distances which lowers emissions and increases fuel economy.
A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) also has an electric motor and a combustion engine which work together to power the vehicle. PHEV's have larger batteries than self-charging hybrids so can travel a longer distance on battery power alone. The battery recuperates charge while driving but will need to be plugged in for a short time to boost the battery life. This is the perfect compromise for those looking for a greener solution but aren't quite ready to go fully electric.
A mild hybrid has the smallest battery of the three and therefore cannot be driven on battery alone, even for short journeys. The petrol or diesel engine does the majority of the work with the battery for support, this lowers emissions and increases fuel economy. Energy recovered through breaking and decelerating charges the battery so there is no need to plug it in.
- Electric Vehicles