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Electric Vehicle Basics

Understand the Difference in Vehicle Technologies and Basic Types of Charging Infrastructure


Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

BEVs, also called a zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) because the vehicle has no tailpipe emissions, are powered solely by electricity stored in batteries and have no fuel-burning engine. Plugging the car into a standard electrical outlet or charging station charges the battery. Depending on battery capacity and driving habits, the driving range of different PEVs is between 80 and 315 miles.

Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

PHEVs are also powered by electricity stored in a battery, but unlike BEVs, PHEVs also have back-up internal combustion engine (ICEs), which provide extended range for the vehicle once the battery is depleted. PHEVs are also charged by plugging the car into a standard electrical outlet or charging station. Depending on battery capacity and driving habits, a PHEV can typically travel between 10 and 50 miles on one electric charge before switching over to the back-up ICE.


The average American commutes 40 miles or less each day. Given the battery range of PEV models currently available, drivers are able to satisfy approximately 85% of their charging needs at home. Additional workplace and public charging locations add travel flexibility and build range confidence for PEV owners.

The time needed to recharge a battery for a PEV can vary greatly and has been identified as one of the top three concerns among prospective buyers in the U.S. When comparing available PEV models, it’s important for customers to consider their own driving habits, as well as the different charge configurations and capabilities.

Currently, there are three basic levels of charging: Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast Charging. The table below highlights key characteristics of each.

Location Supply Power
AC Level 1 Charging 2 to 5 miles of range per 1 hour of charging

Home charging
Workplace (sometimes)
120V: Requires no extra equipment or installation
AC Level 2 Charging 10 to 12 miles of range per 1 hour of charging

Public charging
208/240V: Homeowners may professionally install EVSE, which requires a typical refrigerator outlet.
DC Fast Charging 50 to 70 miles of range per 20 minutes of charging

Public charging 208/480V 3-phase: Homeowners may professionally install EVSE

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