Know Your Acronyms: Types Of EV

The terms BEV, PHEV, HEV & ICE were created by clever people just to confuse you. So, what is a BEV? What does PHEV stand for?

This page should explain the terminology in simple terms.

You will notice the first three acronyms – BEV, PHEV and HEV – all have ‘EV’ in them.

EV stands for ‘Electric Vehicle’ which means BEV, PHEV and HEV are all types of electric vehicle, although some much more than others.

The odd one out is ICE.

Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)

Internal Combustion Engines generate power by burning liquid fuel such as petrol or diesel.

These are gradually being phased out with a 2030 date set for the end of ICE powered vehicles.

These vehicles emit toxic tailpipe emissions which are harmful to the environment and our health.


Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

Battery Electric Vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions and are only powered by one or more electric motors and a battery.

Many models (such as the Nissan Leaf) will also charge through regenerative braking whilst being driven.

A BEV is a 100% electric vehicle.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle​ (HEV)

Hybrid Electric Vehicles are powered by an ICE that runs on conventional fuel such as petrol or diesel and an electric motor that uses energy stored in a very small battery. 

HEV batteries are charged by the combustion engine and through regenerative braking. 

HEVs are not plugged in to charge and simply improve the vehicle efficiency by recovering some energy.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles are like HEVs in that they combine an engine with an electric motor.

However, a PHEV will typically go about 30 miles on battery alone before the engine takes over.

Unlike HEVs, a PHEV requires you to plug it in to charge the battery and the engine is off until its needed.