Electric vehicles run on electricity and have lower CO2 emissions than petrol-run cars, but what are the differences between electric vehicles, hybrid cars and plug-in hybrid cars?

What is an electric vehicle, or EV?

An EV is one that runs on and is charged up with electric power alone. This is usually done via a cable and never with petrol or any other liquid fuel. Batteries store the energy which in turn are used to power the wheels. EVs emit no pollution through a tailpipe, which means they have a smaller environmental impact. 

What is a hybrid vehicle?

A hybrid car is any type of vehicle that has both an electric motor and a fossil fuel engine of some kind. The most common configuration uses both the electric motor and a traditional engine to drive the car so you switch between them. This can be done for performance or fuel efficiency. The other less common configuration uses fossil fuel to charge up the battery and the electric motor is exclusively used to drive the car.

What is a plug-in hybrid vehicle, PHEV?

A PHEV has the same elements as a hybrid vehicle in that it has batteries, an electric motor and a fossil fuel engine but it can also be plugged into a power source to recharge the battery.

Looking to purchase an environmentally-friendly car? Here are the top 20 'green' cars.

12 Mar