All-electric vehicles—also referred to as battery electric vehicles (BEVs)—plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) all use electricity to improve vehicle efficiency. In colloquial references, these three vehicle types are sometimes called electric cars, electric vehicles, or simply EVs even though some of these vehicles still use liquid fuels in conjunction with electricity. BEVs and PHEVs are also referred to more specifically as plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). View a short introductory video for more information on electric vehicle technology.
All-electric vehicles, also called battery electric vehicles, have a battery that is charged by plugging the vehicle in to charging equipment. These vehicles always operate in all-electric mode and have typical driving ranges from 150 to 400 miles.
PHEVs are powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery. PHEVs can operate in all-electric (or charge-depleting) mode. To enable operation in all-electric mode, PHEVs require a larger battery, which can be plugged in to an electric power source to charge. To support a driver’s typical daily travel needs, most PHEVs can travel between 20 and 40 miles on electricity alone, and then will operate solely on gasoline, similar to a conventional hybrid.
HEVs are powered by an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors that uses energy stored in a battery. The vehicle is fueled with gasoline to operate the internal combustion engine, and the battery is charged through regenerative braking, not by plugging in.
Tax Credits and Incentives
Some all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles qualify for a $2,500 to $7,500 federal tax credit. Many states also offer additional incentives for purchasing new EVs.
Find tax credits and incentives in your state.
Electric Vehicle Community Readiness
The U.S. Department of Energy funded 16 electric vehicle projects in 24 states and the District of Columbia to help communities prepare for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. Learn more about conducting EV readiness planning.
Electric School Bus Training Series
Schools interested in electric school buses can access a video training series. Each module will cover a different topic, including an introduction to Clean Cities and an electric school bus 101.