Electric vehicle basics
Photo of a Chevy Volt The 2011 Chevy Volt is an example of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

Electric vehicles have number of advantages compared with conventional gas-powered vehicles

  • Better fuel economy
  • Lower tailpipe emissions
  • Lower fuel costs
  • Less required vehicle maintenance
  • Reduced reliance on imported petroleum
  • More fueling flexibility—charge at home or at public charging stations

Read more about the benefits of electric vehicles
(U.S. Department of Energy)

Different types of plug-ins

There are a couple of different types of plug-in electric vehicles:

  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)
    Like a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), a PHEV has both an electric battery and a gasoline engine. In HEVs, the electric motor assists the internal combustion engine. With PHEVs, it is the other way around. PHEVs get most of their power from the electric motor, which acts as primary, while the internal combustion engine acts as a back-up. Additionally, PHEVs can be plugged in to charge the battery to full capacity. The Toyota Prius Plug-in is an example of a PHEV. The Chevy Volt, which is part of the EV Project, is an extended range PHEV.
  • Battery electric vehicle (BEV)
    These electric vehicles are powered exclusively by batteries. BEVs must be plugged in to charge the battery to full capacity. The Nissan LEAF, which is also part of the EV Project, is just one an example of a BEV.
Makes and models

There are a variety of makes and models for each type of electric vehicle. See the Plug-in Vehicle Tracker for a list of what's coming and when. The list includes highway-capable cars and trucks, two- and three-wheeled and commercial vehicles. Eugene-based Arcimoto produces the three-wheeled Pulse, a BEV.