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Local Authority EV Toolkit

Electric Vehicle technologies

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)


Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have a battery which powers an electric motor. The car is plugged in to charge the battery. Many early BEVs had driving ranges from 90 to 120 miles however many of the latest battery electric cars have ranges in excess of 250 or 300 miles – or more in some cases.

As well as producing zero emissions from the tailpipe, these vehicles are currently exempt from congestion charge and clean air zone fees. There are significant benefit in kind tax advantages for company car drivers that choose this type of vehicle – just 3% BIK from April 2023. See electric car reviews here.

Key Point: Driving ranges have increased significantly with new battery electric cars that have come to the market over recent years; 250 or 300 miles or more is now the norm and we are starting to see more vehicles with even greater range. The average miles travelled per vehicle per day is much, much lower than that! These vehicles are exempt from all congestion and clean air charging zones, and many local authorities offer special, lower rate, parking permits too.

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV)

Hyundai NEXO

Fuel cell electric vehicles use a hydrogen fuel cell to charge the batteries. There are currently very few fuel cell vehicles in the UK as the hydrogen fuelling network is extremely limited and the purchase price of these vehicles is very high. They currently offer similar efficiency and range to a petrol-powered car but have the benefit of emitting only water from the tailpipe.

Although the hydrogen fuelling network in the UK is very limited, Hyundai and Toyota are leading the way in developing hydrogen cars. They have similarly low emissions on the road compared to a BEV but, crucially, have a higher range and can be refuelled in 5 minutes compared to around 30 minutes for an 80% charge using a rapid charger.

Key Point: The hydrogen fuelling network is currently very limited in the UK and FCEV vehicles and infrastructure are currently very expensive. This technology will appeal most to fleet users that have access to, or can install, the refuelling infrastructure and is likely to be the next source of ‘clean’ fuel for HGVs.


Hybrids and Plug-in Hybrids

Hybrid cars primarily run on a petrol engine (or a diesel engine in rare cases). They can’t be plugged in to charge them. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) have a petrol (or in some cases a diesel) engine and a battery and electric motor, and can be plugged in, resulting in them having a longer zero emission driving range than a Hybrid vehicle – possibly 20-30 miles, or even over 50 or 60 miles in some cases. Although Plug-in Hybrid cars can be driven with zero tailpipe emissions, there is no guarantee that they have sufficient battery charge to do this. The same applies to Extended-Range Electric Vehicles (E-REVs) (there are currently no new E-REV passenger cars on sale). Only Battery Electric Vehicles can be guaranteed to have zero tailpipe emissions.

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