Man charging an electric vehicle Man charging an electric vehicle

Types of electric vehicles

There are three main types of electric vehicles (EVs), classed by the degree that electricity is used as their energy source.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)

HEVs are powered by both petrol and electricity. The electric energy is generated by the car’s own braking system to recharge the battery. This is called ‘regenerative braking’, a process where the electric motor helps to slow the vehicle and uses some of the energy normally converted to heat by the brakes.

HEVs start off using the electric motor, then the petrol engine cuts in as load or speed rises. The two motors are controlled by an internal computer which ensures the best economy for the driving conditions.

The Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid are both examples of HEVs.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

Also known as Extended-Range Electric Vehicles (EREVs), this type of EV is powered by both petrol and electricity.

PHEVs can recharge the battery through both regenerative braking and ‘plugging-in’ to an external electrical charging outlet. In EREVs the petrol engine extends the range of the car by also recharging the battery as it gets low.

Read more about charging options on our Charging your electric vehicle webpage.

These EVs vary greatly depending on choice of primary energy source, for example Toyota Prius favours petrol while the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, our new fleet vehicle, favours electricity.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

BEVs are fully electric vehicles, meaning they are only powered by electricity and do not have a petrol engine, fuel tank or exhaust pipe.

BEVs are also known as ‘plug-in’ EVs as they use an external electrical charging outlet to charge the battery. BEVs can also recharge their batteries through regenerative braking. Read more about charging options on our Charging your electric vehicle webpage.

Models available in Australia include the BMW i3 and the Nissan Leaf which produces zero CO2 exhaust emissions1.

EVs available in Australia

The variety of EVs available in our country is growing and our EV poster Electric Vehicles - the future is here (PDF 394.1 kb) (text version below) shows an overview. You can also check out the latest EV models on websites like CarSales.

Electric Vehicles - the future is here (text version)

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)

Model Fuel consumption Charging times Range Power and torque
Nissan Leaf Zero litres per 100km

240 volt / 15 amp = 6 hours

Fast charge = 80% in 30 minutes

151km 80 kW and 280Nm of torque
Tesla Model S Zero litres per 100km Tesla charger = 3.5 hours 345km 280 kW and 440Nm of torque
Mitsubishi I-Miev Zero litres per 100km

240 volt / 15 amp = 7 hours

Quick charge = 80% in 30 minutes

150km 47 kW and 180Nm of torque
BMW i3 101 Zero litres per 100km

80% charge = 6-8 hours

Wallbox Pure charger = 4 hours

190km 125 kW / 170 hp and 250Nm of torque

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)

Model Engine / Motor size Recharge times Range Power and torque Emissions Fuel economy
BMW i8 96kW electric motor, 3-cylinder petrol engine with 170 kW (231 hp)

80% charge = 2 hours

Full charge = 4 hours

35km (electric) Up to 320Nm of torque 59g/km 2.5L/100km
Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0L petrol engine with 60 kW twin motors Full charge = 4 hours 50km (electric) 87 kW and 186Nm of torque 44g/km CO2 1.9L/100km
Holden Volt 1.4L petrol engine with 63 kW electric motor

240 volt / 10 amp = 6-10 hours

240 volt / 15 amp = 4 hours

87km (electric) to over 600km (petrol) 170 kW and 370 Nm of torque 27g/km CO2 1.2L/100km

Please note: Information correct as at November 2014. Source While every effort has been made to present all models of BEV and PHEV currently available in Australia, some makes or models may have been inadvertently left off this poster. For information on availability and price, please contact your local dealership.


  1. Source - Types of Electric Vehicles as outlined by the Australian Electric Vehicles Association on website