Electric Car Types
There are 3 types of Electric Vehicle (EV) listed on the charge2drive site: Fully Electric (FEV), Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), and Hydrogen Fueled (HFEV). Don't worry, an explanation of the terms is coming...
FEV - Fully Electric Vehicle
FEVs are fully powered by electricity taken from its battery. It has no Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) or exhaust pipe and therefore has zero CO2 emissions.
Sometimes referred to as a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), this is where the EV market is trying to get to and with some of the excellent cars available today, this is already a viable option for many.
PHEV - Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle
A plug-in hybrid can recharge its battery from an external electricity source i.e. plugging it in. They run on battery power whilst it's available and switch over to the petrol engine when it's depleted but it can also switch over to the petrol engine when faster acceleration is required. The ability to switch over to a regular combustion engine (which you can refuel at any petrol station) alleviates the range issues of an FEV.
The difference between a plug-in hybrid and a "normal" hybrid is that it can be plugged in. A normal hybrid can only recharge its battery using the engine and/or via regenerative braking.
EREV - Extended Range Electric Vehicle
Range Extenders, like hybrids, have a combustion engine and an electric motor. The difference is a range extender will use up all the battery power first and then use the combustion engine to power the electric motor. The engine is not connected to the wheels and the vehicle doesn't use the engine when accelerating fast.
Range Extenders are also plugged in to external power sources to recharge the battery.
HFEV - Hydrogen Fuel Electric Vehicles
Hydrogen fueled electric vehicles are a little different from the types above but we feel they deserve a place on the charge2drive site.
Although they use electricity to power a motor, the electricity doesn't come from a lithium-ion battery, it comes from a Hydrogen Fuel Cell. Therefore, HFEVs are not plugged in to charge as all the energy is stored in the Hydrogen Fuel.
People are interested in the development of Hydrogen Fueled vehicles because there are no local pollutants coming out of the tailpipe, only steam (hot water).
Here comes the science
At a very basic level, the Hydrogen Fuel Cell strips the Hydrogen atoms of their single electron (remember from high school - a Hydrogen atom consists of one proton and one electron) and uses them to form electricity (electricity is the flow of electrons). The resulting Hydrogen ion (it's called an ion now because it has a missing electron) is now happy to pair up with two oxygen atoms thus creating H2O (water). This process generates a lot of heat and creates steam.
Next: Pros and Cons of Electric Vehicles