What is an EV?

There are two main types of electric vehicle (EV): Fully Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrids.

Battery electric vehicles (BEV’s) – the quiet ride

A BEV runs on a rechargeable battery powering an electric motor. It’s defined by what it doesn’t have – and doesn’t need:

  • No fossil fuels (petrol, diesel or oil)
  • No exhaust
  • No clutch or gears
  • No spark plugs
  • No roaring noise or vibrations

There are only around 20 moving parts in an electric engine, compared with nearly 2,000 in an ICE (internal combustion engine), so your BEV fleets will need a lot less maintenance. Fleets won’t need tune-ups or oil changes, and are extremely quiet.

Plug your BEVs into a standard power supply and they fully recharge overnight – enough for an average day’s driving in most models. Driving on motorways or climbing a lot of hills use up more battery power, but travelling downhill or braking recharges them.

Just like a fuel gauge, each vehicle’s dashboard displays how much battery life each vehicle has left, and how many kilometers remain. BEVs have smooth acceleration, quiet travelling, low running costs – and zero exhaust emissions. They’re powered by electricity rather than petrol or diesel so there is an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and no engine noise.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) – the best of both worlds

These vehicles combine fuel and electricity so offer a longer range. Depending on the model, the petrol engine either turns the wheels, or recharges batteries that power the electric motor. While there is growing fast-charging infrastructure around the country, the cars in your fleet that do regular long distance travel might be better suited to a PHEV.

There are some disadvantages with PHEVs, compared with fully electric vehicles. Most of these are to do with running the petrol engines. Just like your existing petrol or diesel fleet cars, the petrol engine components will need more maintenance, will have engine noise, produce emissions and require the purchase of petrol. Because they have a smaller battery than a fully electric car, you’ll generally have less battery range in a PHEV so you’ll rely more on fossil fuels for longer journeys. This means you only reduce your CO2 emissions by 80% for the time the car is running on the electric battery. However, you can recharge your fleet’s batteries at any power outlet, they still recharge when braking (regenerative braking), and town driving can be emission-free and quiet.

PHEVs are still an excellent option when compared to petrol or diesel cars and are often a good first step towards transitioning your fleet to electric.

Conventional hybrids – older technology

Plenty of fleets use old model hybrids in New Zealand – these were an excellent first step towards lower emission driving. This technology differs from EVs because they can’t be plugged in, so there is no way to recharge the vehicle’s battery except with petrol and braking. The battery allows for only up to 2 km in driving. Fully electric vehicles and plug in hybrid electric vehicles are far more efficient and produce far fewer emissions.

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