Electric Cars Explained

You have probably noticed the term ‘electric cars’ going around a lot recently. With the recent news that global warming is in a critical state and with the government under pressure to start reducing emissions. This has led to the government announcing they will ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars by 2040, leaving people questioning what they can drive instead. Well, the good news is there is actually quite a few other options.


  • Regular Hybrids

A standard hybrid vehicle gets its power from the electric motor, so when the driver accelerates hybrid cars will switch to its internal combustion engine. If you are going up a hill or are in a situation when the vehicle needs more power, the car will use both power sources. The main fuel source for these types of vehicles is still petrol or diesel, however, they need a lot less fuel compared to conventional fuelled cars. This is due to the electric motor using regenerative braking to accumulate the energy and store it in the onboard batteries, which is then used to provide power to the electric motor.

  • Plug-in hybrids

This type of hybrid vehicle can use an electric outlet to recharge their batteries, as well as charging on the move. They are a mix of conventional hybrids and fully electric cars. Their engine is traditional, but they also have larger batteries than regular hybrids and can drive longer distances on electric power alone.

100% electric

Vehicles that are 100% run on electric power are wholly driven by an electric motor that is powered by a better than can be plugged into the mains. There is no combustion engine in these cars when the vehicle is slowing down, the motor is put into reverse to do so, which acts as a mini-generator to top up the battery. This process known as regenerative braking can add 10 miles or more to the range of the vehicle. These cars do not emit any emissions.

Extended-range electric vehicles (E-REV)

Extended-range electric vehicles have the best of both worlds with a plug-in battery pack, electric motor and an internal combustion engine. The difference between these vehicle types and plug-in hybrids is that the electric motor always moves the wheels, while the internal combustion engine acts as a generator, recharging the battery when it is depleted. These cars have a range of up to 125 miles and generate emissions less than 20g/km CO2.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, also known as Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs), have a fuel cell stack that uses hydrogen to produce electricity powering the wheels of the car. There isn't an internal combustion engine in a Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The fuel cell is an electrochemical device that is similar to a battery, but does not need recharging and will carry on generating power as long as it is consistently fuelled with hydrogen. These cars can travel around 300 miles on a full tank of fuel. Fuel cells produce heat and electricity, as well as water that is just produced at the tailpipe. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are refuelled the same way petrol and diesel cars are at a filling station, taking around 3-5 minutes to refuel.