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Buying Guide

Electric Car Basics

What is the difference between a hybrid and an electric car? 

A hybrid car derives some of its power from a conventional gasoline engine, and all of its energy from gasoline. A hybrid’s battery is typically only recharged from regenerative braking energy when the car slows being put back into the battery.

On the other hand, an electric car gets driving power from an electric motor, and that energy is from a battery that has been recharged from the grid or another external source.

There are two types of electric cars, or plug in electrified vehicles (PEVs): Battery electrics (BEVs) which run on electricity only, and plug in hybrid electrics (PHEVs) which can first run on electricity from the battery for a shorter range (often the distance of a daily commute, or more), then seamlessly switch to a full tank of gasoline if the battery gets low.

PHEVs therefore will always have the range you need, and can be driven and fueled just like the car you drive now. Today’s BEVs have more range than 90% of commuters and others drive daily. Some models are available in either BEV or PHEV.

Most BEVs have a range of between 114 and 315 miles depending upon model. They must be recharged when the battery gets low, and can be done slowly (typically overnight at home while you sleep) or more quickly using a public fast charging station. But mostly, they are charged conveniently at home, overnight while you sleep.

Today’s PHEVs a have a battery range between 14 and 114 miles, and then typically a full tank of gasoline range, 300-500+ miles. When operating in hybrid mode, they also get better gas mileage than comparable gasoline only vehicles.

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