While “electric vehicles,” as a broad term, are getting a lot of hype, some people are forgetting that there’s more than one type of electric vehicle. For property owners considering adding EV charging infrastructure, or even individuals who may want to go all-in on their brand-new EV, this news can create some confusion.
But the fact is, if your goal is to figure out what kind of charger(s) you need, it’s not nearly as complicated as you think.
4 Different Types of Electric Vehicles
Here, we’ll go over the different types of electric vehicles available, with a focus on how they can be charged and fueled. Lucky for you, it shouldn’t take too long!
1.) Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)
These were the first wave of environmentally friendly vehicles to really catch on in the market. They’re also the closest to traditional combustion engine vehicles. They use a regular combustion engine but also electric motors powered by an onboard battery. The battery is charged by braking and the movement of the vehicle, meaning that hybrid electric vehicles aren’t plugged in to charge. As such, you won’t be receiving owners of HEVs as customers.
2.) Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)
While the similar naming convention may cause some confusion, plug-in hybrids are starkly different from traditional hybrids. They use an internal combustion engine and a battery-powered electric motor. They can usually operate in pure-electric, pure-gas or hybrid modes, but have a much shorter battery range than all-electric vehicles. Due in part to their smaller battery and dependency on gasoline, plug-in hybrids can be charged, but only by level 1 and level 2 chargers. These chargers can take up to an hour to fill a PHEV battery, so plan accordingly.
3.) Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
These are the current cutting edge of the electric vehicle market. They have no internal combustion engine and are entirely powered by their battery and electric motor. The range of these batteries is increasing fast, with some as high as 400 miles, pushing them to the upper range of gas-powered cars. Because of their focus on batteries and electric motors, all-electric vehicles can generally use every level of charger, including “DC fast chargers.” The greatest benefit of this is that DC fast chargers can allow your customers to come in and out in rapid succession. Just make sure you account for any demand charge issues.
4.) Proprietary Chargers
Frustratingly, not all of the EV industry follows the same standardization rules. While the actual hardware inside the car may not be significantly different, some manufacturers opt to catch consumers “coming and going” by making their cars compatible only with a certain kind of charger. As a result, consumers can only charge their vehicle at chargers made by that manufacturer, unless they pay extra for an adapter. With that being the case, it’s important to notice if you’re getting a lot of a certain make of electric vehicle on your property. If so, then you should see if there’s any proprietary hardware to be concerned about.
So Which Chargers Should I Get?
Well, if you’re an individual looking to focus on your own car, then you just pick from the above. The story’s a lot different if you’re a property owner. In that case, you’ll want to figure out which types of vehicles your prospective clientele usually drives. If you’re mostly getting plug-in hybrids, there’s probably no point in making the jump to level 3 (DC fast chargers). If all you see is all-electric, EV Connect’s software integrates with dozens of charging stations through open standards protocols (OCPP) and partnered with many charging station manufacturers to ensure ultimate uptime and reliability.
That said, a safe bet is to install level 2 chargers, as they’re fast enough to be useful but are compatible with the widest range of EVs. Whatever you do, pay attention to customer trends and see if you can change your hardware to match.
Hope this helps!
Motorbiscuit – Do All Electric Cars Use the Same Kind of Charger?
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) – Electric Vehicles