xEVs- Difference between Battery Electric Vehicle (BEVs), Plug-in Hybrid (PHEVs) and Hybrid Vehicle (HEVs)

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Comparing Electric Vehicles (EVs): 

HEVs vs. BEVs vs. PHEVs vs. FCEV

   EVs:  Electric Vehicles
HEVs:  Hybrid Electric Vehicles
BEVs:   Battery Electric Vehicles
PHEVs: Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles
FCEVs: Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki
These words look similar and sometimes  really confuse us. In any advertisement of car and side or back of the car body we generally saw mentioned word like- Smart Hybrid, Hybrid Technology, Fuel Cell and Range Extender. So, here In this article we will clear all the confusion with the help of clear pictures and explanatory words for each of the technology.

Why it is important to understand these HEVs, BEVs, PHEVs, and FCEVs:

So, In current scenario of electric vehicle market into India there are some major players like- Mahindra Electric, Maruti Suzuki, TATA, Hyundai and Toyota are offering different category of electric cars here. All the countries including India now pushing hard to prove electric vehicles to the alternate of petrol or diesel cars. Statics shows that by 2040, 57% of all passenger vehicle and over 30% of the global passenger vehicle fleet sales will be from electric vehicle category.
This global figure has statics from India also. Indian government has also decided to switch completely EVs for Wheeler and 3-wheeler in India by 2025. But this growth rate is still looks so slow as compared to China and other European countries. In long term coming future India will share around 28% electric vehicle sales to the global figure.
So, Now it is important to understand these different types of EVs technologies.

How these xEVs are different than Petrol/Diesel Vehicles:

Conventional Vehicle:

So, here is the internal power train layout for the petrol/diesel cars:
Petrol or Diesel is stored into fuel tank of the vehicles and from there it goes to the internal combustion engine. Internal combustion engine generate the power which goes through the flywheel- Clutch- Gearbox- Propeller shaft- Differential to wheels of the car.
There are some advantages of conventional car like-
– Fast Refueling
– Long range
– No electric power

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs):

Hybrid Electrical Vehicles are having a small battery and motor on board but these battery can only be charge from the engine or through the regenerative breaking system. These vehicles don’t have any pure battery range. Vehicle are only run by internal combustion engines.
This battery is only there to support the engine during the high power requirement phase like during initial acceleration or during overtaking. It gives extra push through the motor or stater generator which is attached directly or indirectly to the engine’s flywheel.

Battery range: 0 km
Power generated : 0.5kW-3kW
Voltage: 12 Volt

Example: Maruti Suzuki SHVS technology is a hybrid system which now comes nearly all the high variant models of company car.
other cars are – Toyota Prius, Ford C-Max.

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEVs):

    Chevy Volt , Chrysler Pacifica, Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Energi, Mercedes C350e, Mercedes S550e, Mercedes GLE550e, Mini Cooper SE Countryman, Audi A3 E-Tron, BMW 330e, BMW i8, BMW X5 xdrive40e, Fiat 500e, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, Porsche Panamera S E-hybrid, Toyota Prius, Volvo XC90 T8 are the plug-in hybrid cars. Plug-in hybrid is the advance version of the Hybrid EV in which there is option to charge the battery from the external power source (charging station). Internal setup is same but battery and motor is replaced with more powerful one. These type of vehicles are having pure electric range.

Battery range: >20 kms
Power: >20 kW
Voltage: 130V – 400V

There may be different layout of Engine,Battery,Inverter and Motor inside any PHEVs and those pattern/layout need to understand. Here I will try to explain the different types of Hybrid vehicles-

a) Parallel Hybrid
b) Serial Hybrid
c) Serial/Parallel Hybrid (Power Split)

Parallel Hybrid:
In this design, the internal combustion engine and an electric propulsion system are connected directly to the vehicle’s wheels. The vehicle uses the primary engine for highway driving and the electric motor provides additional power for acceleration, Hill climbing and other on on demand activity. In above picture it can be seen that vehicle’s front wheel is connected with the engine while rear wheels take drive from the battery and motor. This arrangement can be such a way that both engine and e-motors are connected to the drive-train of front or rear wheels and power output from either of unit would be as per choice.So, this is on demand and we also can drive purely at electric for more than 20 kms. Our conventional IC engine car can easily convert into this type of parallel hybrid electric vehicle by putting very little effort. Battery is charged from the regenerative braking system and with external charging station.

Serial Hybrid:
In serial hybrid vehicle either front or rear wheels are connected with conventional engine and electric motor/battery. There is no mechanical connection between road wheel and combustion engine directly. Combustion engine runs the generator and it fills the battery and battery power operate the e-motor to drive the wheels. In above image the vehicle’s front wheels are taking drive from the electric motor/battery as well as from the internal combustion engine. Inverter is placed between e-motor and battery which has a specific purpose. Inverter takes DC current from the battery and convert is into 3-phase AC current to operate the motor. Inverter also do the charging work for the battery when it get’s energy from the re-generative braking system or from the engine (optional). On board battery pack can be charge from external charging stations. The serial hybrid comes with a special technical tag line- Battery electric vehicle with range extender.
Advantage: Internal combustion engine can be run on maximum efficiency point to minimize the fuel expenses.

Chevy Volt Power-train cut section. Image Credit: Wikipedia- Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz 

Serial/Parallel Hybrid (Power Split):
This is simply combination of 1st and 2nd type of hybrid explained above. Electric motor and internal combustion engines drives either front wheels or rear. Planetary gearbox works here to split the power between e-motor and internal combustion engine
First Hybrid Car Toyota Prius 1991 was the serial/parallel hybrid. Maximum hybrid vehicles running on the road are serial/parallel hybrid because it has advantage to run either e-motor and engine or both at their optimum efficiency range. It’s completely choice based. It also offer the facility to charge the battery from the engine. 

Battery Electrical Vehicles (BEVs):

Battery electric vehicles run exclusively on the on-board battery power. There is no other power source or power generator like internal combustion engine is used. Now there are many BEVs in the market. Tesla exclusively produces electric car and Tesla Model 3 is one of the most selling electric car in the world. Other companies like BYD, SAIC, BMW, Nissan, BAIC, Geely, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Renault, Volve and Chevrolet are the major player worldwide in battery electrical vehicle market.
So, in future also the BEVs will dominate the automobile market and expected to reach upto 45% of the total vehicle sell in the world by 2040.

Drive Range (KMs)
Mahindra Electric
i3 & i3s
Bolt EV
Clarity Electric
IONIQ Electric
Kona Electric
Niro EV
241 to 345
Model 3
354 to 498
Model S
555 to 595
Model X
490 to 523

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs):

FCEVs uses same components live BEVs but battery is charged here differently. As in conventional engine there is fuel tank the same way FCEVs are having hydrogen gas tank. There is special unit to make generate the electricity from the hydrogen gas. Basically hydrogen combines the oxyen and produces electricity. As a byproduct only a small amount of water forms. So, on-board battery pack is charged from the electricity generated from hydrogen gas. No external charging facility is required. Currently China is focusing on FCEVs production.
Hyundai Nexo is the first fuel cell vehicle to get the safety award from IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

Read more about the electric vehicle technology👉 Electric Vehicle Power-train