Plug-in electric vehicle

As of January 2018, the Nissan Leaf (left) is the world's all-time top-selling highway-legal all-electric car (over 300,000), and the Chevrolet Volt (right) is the world's best-selling plug-in hybrid (134,500 as of December 2016).[1][2]

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), plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), and electric vehicle conversions of hybrid electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.[3][4][5] In China, plug-in electric vehicles are called new energy vehicles (NEVs).

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. Despite their potential benefits the stock of plug-in electric cars represented just 0.15% of the 1.4 billion motor vehicles on the world's roads by the end of 2016.[6]

As of December 2016, there were over 60 models of highway capable plug-in electric passenger cars and light-duty utility vans available for retail sales in the world.[7] Cumulative global sales of highway legal plug-in electric passenger cars and light utility vehicles achieved the 2 million unit milestone in December 2016.[6] The 3 million milestone was achieved in November 2017.[8] The global ratio between the stock of all-electrics (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) was 61:39 at the end of 2016.[9] As of January 2018, the Nissan Leaf is the world's top selling highway-capable all-electric car in history, with global sales of over 300,000 units.[1] The Tesla Model S ranks second with more than 200,000 units sold worldwide as of November 2017.[10]

As of December 2017, China has the world's largest stock of highway legal light-duty plug-in electric vehicles with cumulative sales of more than 1.2 million plug-in electric passenger cars.[6][11] Among country markets, the United States ranks second with almost 765,000 plug-in electric cars sold through December 2017.[6][12][13] More than 943,000 light-duty plug-in electric passenger cars have been registered in Europe up until December 2017,[6][14] with sales in the light-duty plug-in electric segment led by Norway with over 200,000 units registered.[15] China is the world's leader in the plug-in heavy-duty segment, including electric all-electric buses, and plug-in commercial and sanitation trucks, with a stock of new energy vehicles sold of more than 1,7 million units through December 2017.[16][17][18] As of December 2016, China was the world's largest plug-in electric bus market with a stock of almost 343,500 vehicles.[19]


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.[3][4] Plug-in electric vehicles are also sometimes referred to as grid-enabled vehicles (GEV)[4] and also as electrically chargeable vehicles.[20]

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.[3][4] 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.[3][4]

"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.[21][22] In some European countries, particularly in France, "electrically chargeable vehicle" is the formal term used to designate the vehicles eligible for these incentives.[23] 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.[24]

Battery electric vehicles

A battery electric vehicle (BEV) uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs as its only source for propulsion.[4][25] BEVs use electric motors and motor controllers instead of internal combustion engines (ICEs) for propulsion.[4]

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).[26][27]

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.[4][28] 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.[28][29][30]

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.[31][32][33]

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.[31]

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.[34]

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