What Is the Difference Between EV, BEV, PHEV, REEV, MHEV, and FCEV?9 min read

What Is the Difference Between EV, BEV, PHEV, REEV, MHEV, and FCEV?9 min read

23/05/2019 1 By Vasyl Tsyktor

Electric vehicles, also known as EVs, have been become our reality. A couple of decades ago, we could only dream about fully electric cars which surprise nobody anymore. However, there are different types of vehicles that use electricity to run. They use different principles to generate torque and move forward. The main thing about them all is that EVs are more eco-friendly than cars that use only an internal combustion engine to generate power. The electric vehicle (EV) term unites all types of cars equipped with an electric motor. With the growing production of EVs, we will see more and more “green” cars on roads. According to Statista, the global market of electric vehicles will reach the value of $567.3 billion in 2025 compared to $118.86 billion in 2017. This almost a 500% growth relies on various advantages of EVs that include savings besides a lower level of CO2 emission.


The first hybrid car was Lohner-Porsche Mixed Hybrid manufactured in 1899. Developed by Ferdinand Porsche, this car had an electric motor and petrol engine. However, it couldn’t use standard home sockets for charging. This vehicle was the starting point for cars that could use power generated in two different ways.


What Does PHEV Stand for?

How hybrid cars work
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Which Model Is Toyota's PHEV

Toyota Prius rear view
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Continue reading to learn more about PHEV

Seventy years later, General Motors presented their XP-883. The car had 6 12-volt batteries, an electric motor, and gasoline-powered engine. A driver could plug the vehicle into a standard 110 Volt AC outlet to recharge car batteries. GM XP-883 became the first PHEV ever.


PHEV refers to a plug-in hybrid vehicle. This is a type of cars that combine both an internal combustion engine and electric motor. Unlike non-plug-in hybrids, also known as plain hybrids, that can’t receive electricity from external sources and use their internal combustion engine (ICE) to generate electricity instead, PHEVs can be plugged into standard home sockets for recharging.


Plug-in hybrids unite the advantages of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and conventional cars. As electric vehicles, PHEVs are eco-friendly and have a stable torque available from the start while the maximal torque of ICE-powered vehicles becomes available at a specific number of rotations per minute (RPM). Like conventional cars, plug-in hybrids have large ranges because they can use gasoline or diesel offered by numerous fueling stations all over the world.


PHEVs can use different powertrains which determine their types that include: series, parallel, and series-parallel plug-in hybrid vehicles.

REEV (series PHEV)

REEV refers to a range-extended electric vehicle, also known as a series plug-in hybrid vehicle. REEVs have range extenders that allow such cars to run much longer distance compared to as if they use only a battery and electric motor. As a means of a range extender, plug-in series hybrid electric cars use internal combustion engines based one diesel or gasoline.


Which Car Is REEV?

Porsche Taycan battery
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Range-extended electric vehicles use an electric motor and internal combustion engine one by one. They mostly work like typical battery electric vehicles since they use only an electric motor to generate torque. When a battery becomes empty, a REEV uses its ICE to transmit power to a generator that charges the battery. Examples of series hybrids are Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3 which offers a two-cylinder engine that recharges a battery.

Parallel PHEV

Those plug-in hybrid vehicles powered with parallel drivetrains, use an electric motor and internal combustion engine seamlessly, thus making acceleration more efficient. In particular, a PHEV based on a front-wheel-drive can use an electric motor to generate torque for rear wheels. For example, BMW 740Le has an intelligent all-wheel drive (AWD) system capable of distributing the combined power of the ICE and electric motor between front and rear wheels.

Series-parallel PHEV

Many modern plug-in hybrid vehicles are series-parallel since they have both modes: series and parallel. In other words, a driver can choose a suitable mode in various conditions as well as the hybrid system can automatically do it depending on a driving style. Examples of series-parallel plug-in hybrids are Toyota Prius, BMW i8, and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

“Unleash the power!”, Jeremy Clarkson

Drivers can choose a series mode when they need to a little bit more power than a battery can provide, for example, while uphill driving. In this mode, a car will get period assistance from the internal combustion engine. When they need to “unleash the power”, as Jeremy Clarkson says, drivers can choose the parallel mode.


MHEV refers to mild hybrid electric vehicles. They are parallel hybrid electric vehicles (HEV)  that use an electric motor as a means of a supplementary torque generator. In other words, an electric motor and internal combustion engine work simultaneously. In mild hybrids, an electric motor can’t push a car forward on its own. Instead, it gets activated to bridge the ICE torque gap at low RPMs.


Which Car Is MHEV?

How MHEV works
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What Can You Use to Re-charge Your MHEV Battery?

Audi A8 MHEV
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Mild hybrid systems accumulate energy while car braking and transform it into torque, thus increasing the overall power mostly generated by an ICE. MHEV includes an advanced start/stop system that stops an engine once a complete stop is made, for example, at a stop light. Thus, the system saves fuel.


The capabilities of mild hybrids can vary from car to car. For example, installed in Suzuki Ignis and Suzuki Swift, a mild hybrid system called Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki (SHVS) has a small battery with a capacity of 0.37 kW/hour. SHVS starts an engine smoothly with its start/stop system and improves acceleration when a driver presses down hard on the accelerator pedal.


Unlike SHVS, new Audi A8 powered with the 48-volt system can run for 40 seconds using only its battery. The mild hybrid system also helps the car launch some vehicle systems, for example, the active suspension that can raise and lower each wheel independently to ensure better vehicle stability on the road.


Volkswagen also announced their new mild hybrid system coming in Autumn 2019. Enabled with this system, Golf VIII MHEV will be able to collect energy when braking in order to use it during acceleration. Moreover, its eco-coasting function will enable the car to stop the engine on the move when the gas pedal is released and use the 48-volt generator instead. As soon as the driver presses down the accelerator pedal, the system starts the engine to ensure fast acceleration. This saves 0.4 liters of gasoline per 60 miles.


When it comes to the PHEV vs MHEV comparison, mild hybrids have a couple of significant disadvantages. For instance, drivers can recharge batteries of their plug-in hybrid cars of using external electricity sources like home sockets. In addition, mild hybrid electric vehicles have a higher level of the CO2 emission since they always use their internal combustion engine. MHEV is rather about efficiency than eco-friendliness.


BEV refers to battery electric vehicles. They are cars that use only an electricity generator as a means of the torque generation system. Unlike ICE-powered cars, BEVs use Li-Ion batteries as a source of energy instead of gasoline or diesel. Unlike PHEV and MHEV, battery electric vehicles have no ICE.


Which Car Is BEV?

Electric car BMW i3 BMW i3
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Which Is the Avarage Nitrogen Oxyde Emission for a BEV ?

Nissan Leaf 2019
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The advantages of BEV over ICE cars are significant:

  • Battery vehicles are easy and cheap to maintain since they have much less moving parts than conventional cars.
  • Furthermore, they have zero CO2 emissions that’s why they’re called eco-friendly.
  • Modern BEVs have the same range as ICE-powered cars.
  • Battery vehicles have a stable torque available at low RPMs.

Examples of BEV:

  • Tesla Model 3
  • Tesla Model S
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Volkswagen e-Golf
  • BMW i3

Like plug-in hybrids, drivers can recharge batteries of their BEV using a standard home socket. However, such cars also have important disadvantages compared to conventional cars and PHEVs. It’s poor infrastructure: a lack of charging stations and long charging time. Even though some battery cars have a fast charging option, it will take about 20 minutes to charge batteries for 80%.


FCEV refers to a fuel cell electric vehicle. Like PHEV, MHEV, and BEV, fuel-cell vehicles have an electric motor that transmits power to wheels. However, this motor receives energy from gas, hydrogen in particular. Instead of burning fuel in a tank, fuel-cell cars rely on the chemical reaction of oxygen from the atmosphere and H2 in a tank. The result of this reaction is water (H2O) further coming out from the exhaust system and electricity release.


Can You Re-charge a FCEV Battery Using Your Home Socket?

Correct! Wrong!

How Does Toyota Mirai Generate Power for Its Wheels?

How Toyota Mirai Works Toyota
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FCEV examples are:

  • Toyota Mirai
  • Honda Clarity
  • Hyundai Nexo

Toyota’s fuel cell technology has the hybrid system in FCEVs like Toyota Mirai. At low speed, the car can work in the same way as a typical battery electric vehicle. In other words, Mirai can run using the energy stored in its battery. When a driver presses down brakes, the car recharges its battery by capturing braking energy and returning it to the battery. During sudden acceleration, Mirai uses energy from both a battery and fuel cells to ensure more efficient acceleration.


When it comes to the FCEV vs BEV comparison, cars based on fuel cell have both benefits and drawbacks. FCEV are more eco-friendly since hydrogen production leads to a lower amount of pollutions than Li-ion battery manufacturing. Furthermore, the FCEV fueling process takes as much time as fueling an ICE-powered car. However, hydrogen-based vehicles are more expensive than BEVs as well as there are few hydrogen fueling stations across the U.S.


FCEVs store hydrogen in high-pressure tanks.1 kg (2.2 lbs.) of hydrogen has as much energy as 1 gallon (3.8 liters) of gasoline. While H2 costs $16 per kg, the price of gasoline is less than $1 per liter or over $3 per gallon. As a result, $16 vs $3 for the same range. It’s another significant disadvantage of fuel cells.



Characteristic/Type PHEV MHEV BEV FCEV
Drivetrains ICE and electric motor ICE and electric motor electric motor fuel cells and electric motor
Charging home sockets, external sources, and energy recuperation energy recuperation home sockets, external sources, and energy recuperation energy recuperation
Battery capacity medium low high medium
CO2 emission low medium zero zero
Fuel consumption medium high zero zero
Driving modes series, parallel, and series-parallel parallel battery only series & parallel

Today’s electric vehicles aren’t city toys anymore. Like many modern ICE cars, EVs can have luxury interior and advanced object detection systems, such as LIDAR, radar, and sonar. Many of them even have a similar range. However, different EV types have their own working principle that defines their benefits and drawbacks.