A Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) is any motor vehicle recharged by an external source of electricity and operates on public highways. Batteries on the vehicle store electricity, which provides a portion or the entire power source to operate the vehicle.
There are several types of plug-in electric vehicles:
- 1) Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV): These use both gasoline and electricity. These vehicles have two power systems – an internal combustion engine and a battery. The battery can be recharged by using either the internal combustion engine or plugging the vehicle into an external sources of electricity. Examples of PHEVs include a converted Toyota Prius or 2012 Ford Escape. These vehicles utilize all electric power for short trips and the internal combustion engine for longer trips.
- 2) Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV): These have either a small internal combustion engine or another secondary source connected to a generator to resupply the batteries and allow extended driving when the batteries become low. An example of an EREV is the Chevrolet Volt.
- 3) Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV): These use only electricity and do not require gasoline. All of the electricity comes from the grid and regenerative braking (using the vehicle’s kinetic energy to recharge the battery). An example of a BEV is the Nissan Leaf.
The North American standard of electric connectors for electric vehicles is the SAEJI772, as established by the Society of Automotive Engineers. On January 14, 2010, automotive manufacturers such as GM, Chrysler, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Tesla adopted and supported the J1772. Most of the electric vehicles already on the road charge via a 120v outlet, common to US households. Owners of older electric vehicles will be able to charge at Level I stations or purchase a J1772 adapter in order to charge at updated (Level II) stations. Future Battery EVs will utilize the SAE J1772 plug making any charging station accessible to all electric vehicles regardless of model or make.
Electric vehicles have a shorter driving range and slower recharging/fueling rate when compared to their equivalent gasoline vehicle. EV owners will need to charge their cars at or near their residence, office, hotels, cinemas, or shopping centers. A network of publically accessible charging stations is crucial to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles.