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PEV Types

A Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) is a general term for any car that runs at least partially on battery power and is recharged from the electricity grid.  There are two different types of PEVs to choose from - pure battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.   While PEVs have many common attributes, their differences allow you to choose the range, charging, size and styling that makes the most sense for you. You can learn more about the different types of PEVs from our infographic or by downloading the U.S. Department of Energy's PEV Handbook for Consumers. 

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

Pure BEVs run completely on electricity stored in batteries and have an electric motor rather than a gasoline engine.

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BEV Characteristics


Electric motor / battery only


Recharge with electricity


BEVs can travel between 70 – 100 miles (some go even further) on a full charge. Most Californians travel less than 40 miles per day.


Time: Full size BEVs take about 4-6 hours to fully charge using a 220-volt charger.

Charger Type: A 220-volt charger can be used for fastest home charging, but all PEVs can also charge from a 120-volt outlet.

Cost: BEVs typically cost about $1 per gallon equivalent (when charged during off-peak hours at 10₵ kWh).


BEVs on the market today typically have lithium ion batteries that are between 24kWh – 36 kWh in size.


BEVs are zero emission vehicles. The only emissions are from utility generation mix.


Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV)

PHEVs combine two propulsion modes in one vehicle – an electric motor that is battery powered and can be plugged in and recharged, and a gasoline engine that can be refueled with gasoline.  Different PHEVs will vary in how far they can travel on all-electric power and what type of fuel efficiency they have when driving on gasoline.    

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PHEV Characteristics


Electric motor / battery plus gasoline engine


Recharge with electricity OR refuel with gasoline


PHEVs can travel on battery power alone between 15 – 35 miles, and 300+ in gasoline-electric hybrid mode.


Time: PHEVs take about 1 hour to fully charge using a 220-volt charger, and about 3 hours at 120-volts.

Charger Type: Charging from a 120-volt outlet is usually preferred by PHEV drivers, since there is no cost for charging equipment and the time to charge is minimal.

Cost: The cost will depend upon the ratio of electric to gasoline miles you drive.


PHEVs typically have Lithium Ion batteries, but they are smaller than those found in pure BEVs.


PHEVs have very low emissions. Actual emissions depend upon the electric to gasoline ratio used.


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