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Types of electric vehicles: which is best suited for your fleet?

febrero 02, 2022

man at electric charging station

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), approximately 5.6 million electric vehicles were sold in 2021, up from 3.1 million in 2020 and 2.1 million in 2019. Various developments such as improved battery technology, longer driving ranges and enhanced charging locations have made electric vehicles an increasingly popular choice for many businesses.


Looking to integrate electric vehicles (EVs) into your fleet?

Here are 3 essential steps to help you get started:

  1. Determine your environmental fleet goals and budget  
  2. Review our HEV, PHEV and BEV comparison chart below to help you assess different options
  3. Consult with our team of EV experts to find suitable EV candidates based on vehicle type, geography, and usage

Electric vehicles can generally be broken down into 3 main categories: Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV).

It is expected that the competition, availability, and value-proposition of battery-powered vehicles will continue to increase dramatically over the coming years. With increasing regulatory restrictions on emissions and the heightened sensitivity of environmental concerns, many businesses have slowly started to integrate Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) or Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) into their vehicle fleets.

3 different electric vehicles

3 different types of EVs and their fleet use case

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV)

HEVs combine an internal combustion engine and an electric vehicle drivetrain. The electric vehicle drivetrain allows the vehicle to achieve significantly better fuel economy. However, an HEV does not require an external power source to recharge the battery. Instead, recharging of the on-board battery is done through regeneration, including regenerative braking. HEVs are not commonly considered to be a Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) by climate organizations or government agencies since they rely on the internal combustion engine to recharge the battery.

Fleet use case: HEVs can be a solution for drivers without access to an external power source for recharging of the vehicle's battery. 

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)

PHEVs have a hybrid engine that use both an electric motor and gas engine to operate and can be powered by both a battery and fuel. The battery can be recharged through an electrical power source and the vehicle's tank can be refilled with fuel. The battery can typically last for around 50 kilometers, after which the engine requires gasoline or diesel to continue. The battery in a PHEV can be plugged in to a power source to be charged and, in some cases, can be recharged through regenerative braking. PHEVs are considered a ZEV by many climate organizations and government agencies as they can be recharged without relying on an internal combustion engine and can travel short distances relying solely on electrical power.

Fleet use case: PHEVs are ideal for drivers who typically travel less than 50 kilometers (31 miles) a day but on occasion travel longer ranges. 

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)

BEVs, also referred to simply as electric vehicles, have motors that are solely powered by rechargeable batteries with no internal combustion engine and no harmful emissions. The batteries for these vehicles are recharged through an external electrical power source. The driving range for BEV vehicles can vary from 200 kilometers (125 miles) per charge up to more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) per charge depending on the specific model of the BEV. BEVs are considered a ZEV by most climate organizations and government agencies as they rely solely on electrical power to travel

Fleet use case: BEVs are the most environmentally friendly choice for fleets. These vehicles often require the installation of specific charging capabilities at the residence or workplaces of each driver to facilitate charging of the vehicle. 

HEV, PHEV and BEV comparison chart


Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV)

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)

Energy source

Gasoline fuel pump

Charging power station
Gasoline fuel pump

Charging power station


Good range

Excellent range

Range limitations depending on model

Environmental impact

Lower tailpipe emissions compared to ICE*

Lower tailpipe emissions compared to ICE*

Zero tailpipe emissions

Operating costs

Maintenance and fuel costs similar to ICE

Maintenance and fuel costs similar to ICE


 Lower operating cost compared to ICE

*ICE: Internal Combustion Engine

There are many tailwinds driving fleet electrification forward. Ready to learn more? Find out the 5 trends accelerating fleet EV adoption or get in touch with us to learn how Element can compliment your electric vehicle strategy.

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