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What are the different types of Electric Vehicle Powertrain Technologies?

Home > News > What are the different types of Electric Vehicle Powertrain Technologies?

There are three main types of electric vehicles (EVs). BEVs, or battery electric vehicles, PHEVs or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and HEVs, or hybrid electric vehicles.


  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are powered solely by batteries.
  • They use an electric motor to turn the wheels and produce zero emissions.
  • Since April 2020, zero emission EVs (BEVs) are zero-rated standard road tax (VED) for both the first year and all subsequent years.
    • Tesla Model 3, Mini Electric, Nissan Leaf.


  • Plug-in hybrids are capable of zero emission driving, typically between 20-30 miles, and can run on petrol or diesel for longer trips.
  • As the name suggests, they need to be plugged-in to an electricity supply in order to maximise their zero emission capability.
  • They have a reduced road tax (VED).
    • Mitsubishi Outlander, Volkswagen Golf GTE, Toyota Prius Plug-in.


  • Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) are capable of zero emission driving, but typically over less range than a PHEV.
  • They use electric power generated during braking to improve fuel economy and run on petrol or diesel for longer trips.
  • They have a lower road tax (VED).
    • Toyota Yaris Hybrid, Lexus RX450h, Ford Mondeo Hybrid.


  • Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs), sometimes known as hybrid assist vehicles, have a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine equipped with an electric motor that can allow the engine to be turned off as the car is coasting or braking.
  • The motor can also be used to provide assistance to the engine, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
  • MHEVs cannot be driven on electricity alone.
    • Mercedes-Benz S 400, Range Rover Evoque, Suzuki Swift.


  • Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) are zero-emission electric vehicles, which use hydrogen fuel cells to generate power.
  • Hydrogen stored in an on-board fuel tank is combined with oxygen in the fuel cell and the only outputs are electricity, heat and water.
    • Toyota Mirai, Hyundai Nexo.

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