There are three main groups of electric vehicles:
- fully electric: they run on electricity alone
- standard hybrids: they combine an electric engine and a conventional heat engine (diesel or petrol)
- rechargeable hybrids: their batteries can be recharged using an ordinary power socket.
Various technologies can be applied to electric vehicles. Hybrid cars are currently those most commonly found on the roads, even though the fully electric vehicle is very much in the public eye. The rechargeable hybrid, a relatively recent development, is a compromise that could win over a great many drivers.
Fully electric vehicles
As its name indicates, a fully electric car runs on electricity alone. Its greatest asset is that it produces zero emissions.
However, the battery has to be recharged for several hours and its range is limited. Most models can only cover 100 to 150 km after being charged. So electric cars are suitable for use in towns and cities or for short journeys, but are unable to meet everyone’s needs at the moment.
The standard hybrid
The hybrid car has been around for almost 20 years now. It has two engines, one electric and one heat (petrol or diesel), which it uses as required. Depending on the level of hybridisation of these two engines, these vehicles are referred to as:
- mild hybrids
- full hybrids.