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About EV - What Is It


  1. Electric vehicles use electric motors as their main drive unit instead of a standard gasoline or diesel engine, with electricity as the primary energy source. Unlike conventional vehicles, the electric motors are powered by rechargeable batteries on the car, which are charged by an external grid source such as a power outlet in a car park.
  • Battery Electric Vehicle
  • Hybrid Electric Vehicle
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
  • Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle

Battery Electric Vehicle

This type of vehicle solely uses batteries as the primary energy source and recharge from an external grid. In the past, most BEVs were powered by lead-acid or Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries, but are now being gradually replaced by Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries which have higher energy densities and longer lifespans. Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan Leaf with Li-ion batteries have been widely adopted in Hong Kong since 2010.
Nissan Leaf Mitsubishi i-MiEV Smith Electric Vehicle

Nissan Leaf

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Smith Electric Vehicle

(Photo Courtesy Honest Motors Limited)(Photo Courtesy Universal Cars Limited)(Photo Courtesy Sime Darby Motor Services Limited)

Hybrid Electric Vehicle

A Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) integrates a battery-powered motor and a gasoline-powered engine to achieve high fuel efficiency. Batteries can be recharged by kinetic energy generated from the gasoline engine and also through energy recovered from braking. HEVs are powered by electric motors that use energy from the battery during acceleration, low speed driving or when stopped. This results in lower gasoline consumption and reduces road-side emissions.

By now, many models of HEV have been adopted in Hong Kong. For example, Toyota Hybrid Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid and so on.
Toyota Hybrid Prius

Toyota Hybrid Prius

(Photo Courtesy Toyota Hong Kong)

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) has the characteristics of both a battery electric vehicle and a hybrid electric vehicle. It is similar to a conventional hybrid for it has an electric motor and an internal combustion engine to drive the vehicle. However, unlike conventional hybrid electric vehicle, the battery in a PHEV can be recharged by connecting a plug to standard electricity outlet directly. Compared with hybrid vehicles, PHEV further reduces road-side emissions as well as fuelling costs.

Toyota launched their new Plug-in Hybrid Prius, which will be available in Hong Kong in 2013.
Toyota Plug-in Hybrid Prius

Toyota Plug-in Hybrid Prius

(Photo Courtesy Toyota Hong Kong)

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle

Fuel cell electric vehicles are powered by the electricity generated from the chemical process involving hydrogen fuel and oxygen. The only exhaust is water and hence is considered very environmental friendly. Currently there are some demo projects on fuel cell electric vehicles overseas but no full commercialization of these vehicles have been realised yet. Researchers are working to bring down fuel cell (and related component) costs, and to improve durability to enable full commercialization.