Plug-in electric vehicle

All-time top-selling plug-in cars
(global sales as of December 2018)

A plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) is any motor vehicle that can be recharged from an external source of electricity, such as wall sockets, and the electricity stored in the rechargeable battery packs drives or contributes to drive the wheels. PEV is a subset of electric vehicles that includes all-electric or battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs).[1][2][3] In China, plug-in electric vehicles are called new energy vehicles (NEVs). Sales of the first mass-production plug-in cars by major carmakers began in late December 2010, with the introduction of the all-electric Nissan Leaf and the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt.

Plug-in cars have several benefits compared to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. They have lower operating and maintenance costs, and produce little or no local air pollution. They reduce dependence on petroleum and may severally reduce greenhouse gas emissions, depending on the electricity source, as motors are typically much more efficient than their engine equivalents. Plug-in hybrids capture most of these benefits when they are operating in all-electric mode.

Cumulative global sales of highway legal plug-in electric passenger cars and light utility vehicles achieved the 1 million unit mark in September 2015,[4] 2 million in December 2016,[5] 3 million in November 2017,[6] and the 5 million milestone in December 2018.[7] Despite the rapid growth experienced, the plug-in electric car segment represented just about 1 out of every 250 vehicles on the world's roads by December 2018.[8] As of December 2018, the Nissan Leaf is the world's top selling highway-capable all-electric car in history, with global sales since inception of over 380,000 units,[9] followed by the Tesla Model S with 263,500 units.[10][11][12][13][14]

As of December 2018, China has the world's largest stock of highway legal light-duty plug-in electric vehicles with cumulative sales of 2.2 million plug-in electric passenger cars.[15][16] More than 1 million light-duty plug-in electric passenger cars have been registered in Europe by June 2018,[17] with sales led by Norway with over 296,000 units registered as of December 2018.[18] Cumulative sales in the U.S. totaled over 1.1 million plug-in cars at the end of 2018.[19] In October 2018, Norway became the first country where 1 in every 10 passenger cars registered is a plug-in electric vehicle.[20]

Terminology

Plug-in electric vehicle

A plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) is any motor vehicle with rechargeable battery packs that can be charged from the electric grid, and the electricity stored on board drives or contributes to drive the wheels for propulsion.[1][2] Plug-in electric vehicles are also sometimes referred to as grid-enabled vehicles (GEV)[2] and also as electrically chargeable vehicles.[21]

PEV is a subcategory of electric vehicles that includes battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles, (PHEVs), and electric vehicle conversions of hybrid electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.[1][2] Even though conventional hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have a battery that is continually recharged with power from the internal combustion engine and regenerative braking, they can not be recharged from an off-vehicle electric energy source, and therefore, they do not belong to the category of plug-in electric vehicles.[1][2]

"Plug-in electric drive vehicle" is the legal term used in U.S. federal legislation to designate the category of motor vehicles eligible for federal tax credits depending on battery size and their all-electric range.[22][23] In some European countries, particularly in France, "electrically chargeable vehicle" is the formal term used to designate the vehicles eligible for these incentives.[24] While the term "plug-in electric vehicle" most often refers to automobiles or "plug-in cars", there are several other types of plug-in electric vehicle, including electric motorcycles and scooters, neighborhood electric vehicles or microcars, city cars, vans, buses, electric trucks or lorries, and military vehicles.[25]

Battery electric vehicles

A battery electric vehicle (BEV) uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs as its only source for propulsion.[2][26] BEVs use electric motors and motor controllers instead of internal combustion engines (ICEs) for propulsion.[2]

A plug-in hybrid operates as an all-electric vehicle or BEV when operating in charge-depleting mode, but it switches to charge-sustaining mode after the battery has reached its minimum state of charge (SOC) threshold, exhausting the vehicle's all-electric range (AER).[27][28]

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV or PHV), also known as a plug-in hybrid, is a hybrid electric vehicle with rechargeable batteries that can be restored to full charge by connecting a plug to an external electric power source.[2][29] A plug-in hybrid shares the characteristics of both a conventional hybrid electric vehicle and an all-electric vehicle: it uses a gasoline engine and an electric motor for propulsion, but a PHEV has a larger battery pack that can be recharged, allowing operation in all-electric mode until the battery is depleted.[29][30][31]

Aftermarket conversions

An aftermarket electric vehicle conversion is the modification of a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV) or hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) to electric propulsion, creating an all-electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.[32][33][34]

There are several companies in the U.S. offering conversions. The most common conversions have been from hybrid electric cars to plug-in hybrid, but due to the different technology used in hybrids by each carmaker, the easiest conversions are for 2004–2009 Toyota Prius and for the Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner Hybrid.[32]

New energy vehicles

In China the term new energy vehicles (NEVs) refers to vehicles that are partially or fully powered by electricity, such as battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). The Chinese government began implementation of its NEV program in 2009 to foster the development and introduction of new energy vehicles.[35]

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