Weighing up your greener options: BEV, HEV or PHEV?
Trying to decide whether to buy an EV, HEV, or PHEV? Unsure which car is right for you? We’ve put together a handy guide to help.
If you've decided to switch to a greener car, it can be overwhelming to translate all the acronyms in the electric vehicle (EV) world and finding out which one is the right one for you. Hopefully, we can make deciphering it a little easier with this helpful guide.
What do all these letters mean?
BEVs - Battery Electric Vehicles: Fully electric vehicles that are powered completely by electricity and do not have a traditional combustion engine.1
HEVs - Hybrid Electric Vehicles: This type of vehicle has two engines, an electric motor and a combustion engine. The electric motor stores energy every time you brake which you can then use alongside the combustion engine at times when you're going slowly or idling. HEVs can't run on the battery power alone.1
PHEVs - Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles: This type of vehicle has two engines, a combustion engine and an electric motor, similar to HEVs but a step further. With PHEVs, you can fuel with petrol or diesel, and you can also plug it in to charge the batteries. There are two types of PHEVs, EREVs are extended-range electric vehicles, which means the car will switch between the traditional combustion engine and the electric motor to get optimal efficiency. Parallel (or blended) PHEVs use both engines to power the car.1
BEV, PHEV or HEV- what's the difference?
There are lots of things to weigh up when considering whether to choose a BEV, a PHEV or an HEV vehicle, including upfront cost, road costs and environmental impact.
Take a look at the comparisons below:
BEV: Impact BEVs have 80% fewer CO2 emissions than equivalent petrol cars when used in New Zealand, thanks to our extremely high use of clean renewable energy, and 60% fewer over their entire life.2
PHEV: Compared to the equivalent petrol/diesel vehicle, a PHEV has a lower environmental impact if you do most of your journeys in EV mode.2
HEV: HEVs produce fewer carbon emissions than fully petrol cars because they switch to their electric engine when driving at lower speeds, for example when you're idling in traffic. They're the least eco-friendly when compared to EVs.7
BEV: BEVs are more expensive than their petrol or diesel counterparts. For example, a new petrol Volkswagen Golf starts at $52,990 whilst the Golf GTE Plug-in Hybrid starts at $74,990.8
PHEV: PHEVs are generally cheaper than their BEV counterparts but typically more expensive than their petrol/diesel counterparts. For example, the Kia Niro EV starts at $68,990 whilst the PHEV version starts at $55,690.9
HEV: HEVs are similar in upfront costs to their petrol or diesel counterparts. For example, a Toyota Carolla Hatch GX Hybrid is $36,990.10
Clean Car Scheme rebate amount
BEV: Up to $8,625 for new and up to $3,450 for used eligible BEVs3
PHEV: Up to $5,750 for new and up to $2300 for used eligible PHEVs3
HEV: Not eligible for the clean car rebate.
BEV: Requires charging which can take anywhere between 12 hours and 90 mins depending on the make, model and charging method. Wall-mounted units make charging at off-peak times easy, which may save you money in the long run.6
PHEV: The electric motor can be charged at home. Typically battery sizes are smaller so charge quicker. PHEVs can not be charged with DC (Direct Current) fast charging units.6
HEV: HEVs require fuel to function. Their batteries are only charged by re-capturing energy when braking or from electricity generated by the engine.7
BEV: For most new BEVs, a drive of 300km is within easy reach. This will depend on the battery capacity, road conditions, driving style and temperatures.7
PHEV: Approximately 15-60KM for the electric motor. Depending on the make and model, PHEVs can extend the range either by switching to the combustion engine once the electric battery is depleted (EREV) or they work in conjunction with the combustion engine (Parallel PHEV)7
HEV: The electric motor on HEVs has typically a very small range, they are only ever used in conjunction with a traditional combustion engine to improve fuel efficiency.11
Road User Charges
BEV: Eligible BEVs are exempt from road user charges until 31 March 2024, saving an average of $600 a year.4
PHEV: Eligible PHEVs are exempt from road user charges until 31 March 2024, saving an average of $600 a year.4
HEV: These are not exempt from road user charges.
BEV: Your power bill may increase, but it is still more economical to charge an BEV compared to the cost of petrol or diesel working out at an equivalent 0.40c a litre of petrol (when charging at an off-peak time and dependent on your provider).6
PHEV: Your power bill may increase and you’ll still need to pay for fuel, but you'll still see a long-term saving when compared to petrol or diesel-run cars. You’ll also need to regularly service your PHEV and buy oil.
HEV: HEVs are more fuel-efficient than their full petrol counterparts so you'll save money on fuel in the long run.
The prices above are for new vehicles and based on third party information. You are advised to conduct your own independent research before making any purchase decision.
The links we provide to third-party websites are for your convenience and do not constitute any endorsement or authorisation by us. The information provided on this page is general in nature and is not intended to be professional or legal advice. Tower does not accept any liability for the accuracy or content of information on this website that belongs to third parties or on any third-party website.