General Knowledge

What are battery electric vehicles?

Unless you’ve spent the past couple of years in a secluded retreat on a remote island somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, you’ll know that the electrification of personal transport is a big deal right now.

For a start, the UK government has pledged to ban the sale of new combustion-engine vehicles by 2030, and secondly, the world’s auto manufacturers are producing an ever-wider variety of electric vehicles.

The buying public is beginning to switch to them in big numbers, too. According to, electric cars accounted for 8.8 per cent of new car sales in March 2021, while figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (the SMMT) show that almost 110,000 new electric cars were sold in 2020, up from just 37,000 in 2019.

But what exactly is a battery electric vehicle?

In simple terms, a battery electric vehicle, often abbreviated to BEV or EV, is a car that has no engine that uses fossil fuels (ie petrol or diesel) so its power comes almost entirely from a battery pack.

We say almost entirely because most EVs also make use of the kinetic energy developed by the car’s wheels under braking in order to help top up their power supply. A few vehicles also support their ancillary systems, such as the air-con or radio, with solar cells, though this is currently a fledgeling technology.

Most EVs use either one or two electric motors to drive power directly to the wheels, often with no gearbox. Power is stored in a battery pack that’s generally of the lithium-ion type and is located as low as possible in the car, normally beneath the passenger compartment. This is because the batteries are heavy and need to be placed low down in the car to maintain a low and stable centre of gravity.

What a battery electric vehicle is not

One thing a battery electric car is not is a hybrid. Hybrid cars use a combination of a petrol or diesel engine and electric power to provide forward motion. So although hybrids are electrified vehicles, they are not considered to be pure BEVs.

For more information about electric vehicles, take a look at the rest of our blog at Rogers Electric today.

Photo: Free image by Pixabay

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