Electric Vehicles Explained

Know your Acronyms

ICEs (internal combustion engines)

These generate mechanical power by burning a liquid fuel (such as petrol, diesel, or a biofuel) or a gaseous fuel (such as compressed natural gas). They are the dominant propulsion technology for on-road vehicles today.

These vehicles emit toxic tailpipe emissions which are harmful to the environment and our health.

EVs (electric vehicles)

These are powered solely by one or more electric motors and are sometimes called BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles).

EVs plug into off-board sources of electricity and store the energy in a battery. Many models (such as the Nissan Leaf) will also charge through regenerative braking whilst being driven.

These vehicles produce absolutely no tailpipe emissions.

HEVs (hybrid electric vehicles)

These are powered by an ICE that runs on conventional or alternative fuel and an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery.

HEV batteries are charged by the ICE and through regenerative braking. HEVs are not plugged in to charge.

PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles)

These are powered by an ICE and by an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery.

PHEVs can be plugged into off-board sources of electricity to charge the battery.

EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment)

This delivers electrical energy from an electricity source to charge an EV’s battery. It communicates with the EV to ensure that an appropriate and safe flow of electricity is supplied. EVSE units are often referred to as “charging stations” or “charge points”.


  • "I have been driving a Nissan Leaf supplied by DriveElectric for over three years. The car is fantastic, is well engineered and a pleasure to drive. It feels very futuristic and clean and conventional internal combustion cars now seem primitive in comparison, so I will never buy another. I love the way the Leaf's satnav helps me to find charging points and have used it to travel quite significant distances without any problems."

    Dan Grierson Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • "It's not just a great EV, it's a great car. It's quiet, it's comfortable, and it's spacious. It's safe. The driving experience is fantastic."

    Tesla Model S driver Buckinghamshire