Conventional vehicles, including hybrids, typically use a gasoline or diesel internal combustion engine exclusively as the source of energy for motive power. Although conventional hybrids use both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, the battery is charged from the engine during driving; they cannot be plugged-in.
Advanced technology vehicles are the most energy-efficient and lowest emission choices available today and include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell vehicles. PHEVs and BEVs use electricity from a battery that is charged using an external electricity source.
Plug-in hybrid electric
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are hybrids with high-capacity batteries that can be charged by plugging them in. Although PHEVs do not have to be plugged in to be driven, they will not achieve optimal fuel consumption or maximum driving range without charging.
There are two basic types of PHEVs available:
- series PHEVs – An internal combustion engine is used to generate electricity only; an electric motor is used to propel the vehicle. They can run in electric-only mode until the battery needs to be recharged. The engine will then generate the electricity needed to power the electric motor. When operating in electric-only mode, series PHEVs produce no tailpipe emissions.
- blended PHEVs – An internal combustion engine and an electric motor are connected to the wheels, and both propel the vehicle under most driving conditions. Electric-only operation may occur at lower speeds.
Battery-electric vehicles are propelled by an electric motor (or motors) that draw electricity from on-board rechargeable batteries. When the batteries run low, they must be plugged in to recharge. Electric vehicles are the most fuel-efficient vehicles available, and they produce no tailpipe emissions.
Note: The fuel consumption ratings for all advanced technology vehicles are based on the improved testing that is more representative of everyday driving.
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