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Understanding The 4 Different Types Of Green Cars

Electricity is the ubiquitous energy source that every single one of us makes use of every day of our lives. Produced from a variety of sources, including nuclear fission reactors, wind and water turbines, coal plants, even solar panels, electricity is available everywhere we live. From our homes and jobs and everywhere in between, we can tap into this power source easily and safely to power everything from desktop computers to mainframes, street lights and even subway locomotives.

Some electricity is portable, and while they have very different construction, the batteries in standard vehicles, electrified vehicles, laptops, and mobile phones are very similar in theory of operation. The development of more efficient and powerful rechargeable batteries has been key to the further development of electrified vehicles.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV)

There are a few types of electrified vehicles being developed or manufactured today. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) combine a gasoline- or diesel-powered engine with an electric motor and battery packs. HEVs have a limited electric-only range, perhaps a few miles, and are not designed to run on electricity alone. Most HEVs are designed so that both the internal combustion engine and electric motor drive a single transmission to power the wheels. Depending on the demand, the engine can charge the battery and/or propel the vehicle, or may not run at all. On deceleration, the electric motor becomes a generator, converting the forward momentum of the vehicle into electricity to charge the battery pack.

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) are similar to HEV types, but have a higher electric-only range. The battery pack in a PHEV takes advantage of the same regenerative braking systems in the HEV and EV types, increasing range. Like an EVer, a PHEV may never run the engine if the electric-only range isn’t exceeded. Like an EV, a PHEV can be recharged at a charging station, and like an HEV or EVer, it can rely on fuel to recharge the battery packs. GHG emissions may vary depending on driving and recharging habits.

Extended Range Vehicles (EVer)

Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EVer) are essentially EVs with on-board electric generators. The battery packs in an EVer have sufficient range to drive a good distance, some models up to 300 miles, until requiring a recharge. On longer trips, or when a recharging station is unavailable, the gasoline-powered generator starts to provide electricity to recharge the battery pack and power the electric motors propelling the vehicle. Unlike a true hybrid vehicle, there is no direct connection from the range-extending generator to the drive-train.

Pure Electric Vehicles (EV)

Pure Electric Vehicles (EV) do not rely on any fuel for power, only electricity to recharge their battery packs. These vehicles are typically lighter and more aerodynamic than their petroleum-powered counterparts. An EV can be charged at recharging stations mounted in your home, place of business, or even some public parking facilities. Charging can, depending on vehicle model and charger type, take between one and twelve hours. Instead of a fuel gauge, a meter in the instrument cluster will indicate a state of charge and an estimated mileage range before recharging will be required.

Benjamin Jerew is certified as a master-level Toyota/Lexus technician and has a keen interest in alternative fuel technology.  He has provided this article on behalf of MyBadCreditAutoLoan.com, a leading resource for people in need of bad credit car loans in CO and nationwide.


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