Find a dealer     

The 2020 guide to electric vehicles

With a ban on new petrol or diesel cars in the UK potentially starting as early as 2032, it’s time that we all get educated on the different types of electric vehicles available on the market. If you’re looking into buying an electric vehicle, you’ve probably seen they come in quite a variety of different types, which can get confusing. In this article, we’ll outline the different types of electric vehicles, the acronyms you’ll come across, and the benefits of each one to help you decide which type suits you best.

The 3 main categories of electric vehicles

100% electric zero emission

These vehicles produce zero emissions and are great for the environment. They’re powered purely by batteries which owners recharge either at home or at public charging points. Charging at home using a dedicated home charger is usually the preferred method for owners. In terms of costs, a fully installed home charging point costs from £299 with the government OLEV grant and once it’s installed, you’ll only be paying for the electricity you use.

Hybrid/Plug-in hybrid

Becoming increasingly popular in the SUV market, a hybrid vehicle is the combination of a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor and a battery. The vehicle will switch between using the electric motor and the petrol or diesel engine depending on your journey and driving style.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

The newest technology of the lot. A hydrogen fuel cell vehicle powers the car by a series of chemical reactions between oxygen and hydrogen to generate electricity. The potential solution for an eco-friendly method of transport, the only waste product that these vehicles produce is water from the tailpipe. Hyundai have recently developed their own hydrogen powered car with the Hyundai NEXO.

It all sounds pretty simple right? Well if you’re in the market for an EV then you’ll likely come up against some acronyms which explain what type of EV the vehicle is. Many of these are variants of hybrid vehicles, with several options available. See our acronym buster for a summary of what these acronyms mean:


What is an EV?

EV stands for Electric Vehicle. This term usually incorporates all the different type of electric vehicles listed below, so if you hear the term EV then it’s worth checking which type it is.

What is a BEV?

BEV stands for a Battery Electric Vehicles. These vehicles are operated by a battery and have no internal combustion engine (ICE). Also known as “fully electric” cars, they need to be plugged in to charge them, either at home or at a charging point. Interestingly, these cars have no exhausts, no clutch or gears and run silently.

Examples: Vauxhall Corsa-e, KONA Electric, Peugeot e-208

What is a HEV?

HEV stands for Hybrid Electric Vehicle . These vehicles are operated by both electric and an ICE. The key point here is that the battery is charged by the engine so there’s no need to plug these vehicles in. Usually just running at low speeds, the engine will only kick in when you want to go faster. A Hybrid would be better than an electric car if you are likely to be doing longer journeys a few times a week, as it allows you to simple utilise the fuel reserves rather than hunt for a charging point in order to get to your destination.

Examples: Hyundai IONIQ, New Niro Self-Charging Hybrid

What is a PHEV?

You guessed it, PHEV stands for a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. These are the same as the HEV above but you will need to plug these in to charge them. The P used for Plug-in only appears here, fortunately they assume everyone knows that BEVs also need plugging in or else we’d also have PBEV to add to the list of acronyms!

Example: Grandland X PHEV

What is a MHEV?

MHEV stands for a Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle. You’d think a MHEV is very similar to a HEV but it’s actually closer to an ICE vehicle. The battery cannot propel the car forward, it simply assists the efficient running of the engine during certain functions such as the start/stop system.

Example: The New Ford Puma


If you think that’s all the acronyms used, you’d be wrong. How about a quick fire round for the rest?

  • AFC – Alternative Fuel Vehicle
  • FCV – Fuel Cell Vehicle
  • HFCV – Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle
  • LCV – Low Carbon Vehicle
  • ZEV – Zero Emission Vehicle
  • NEV – New Energy Vehicle


As you can see there’s plenty of crossover with all of these terms, so we hope this article has helped you understand the world of electric vehicles a little better. Here at Perrys we’re very excited to offer alternative fuel vehicles at our dealerships across the country. Why not get in touch with your local dealership and check out the types of electric and hybrid vehicles we offer?

Written by Perrys | 7 min read
19 Jun 2020