BEV vs PHEV | What’s The Best Electric Car For You?

Battery Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles are the two most common types of electric vehicles on the market. Still, the BEV is projected to outgrow the PHEV significantly over the next five years.

Key Takeaways:
1️⃣ Full electric vehicles are battery-operated only and require recharging
2️⃣Plug-in Hybrids use both battery-power and gasoline engines (ICE)
3️⃣ Plug-in Hybrids and BEVs can recharge using Level 1 and Level 2
4️⃣ Plug-in Hybrids have a limited range on battery power
5️⃣ Full electric vehicles produce zero emissions

Before we get into side-by-side comparisons, it’s worth pointing out some of the abbreviations you’ll read in the article:

BEV: Battery Electric Vehicle
PHEV: Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
ICE: Internal Combustion Engine
DCFC: Direct Current Fast Charging

Now, let’s get into this!

Similarities Between BEVs And PHEVs

These two EVs have some similarities, though the main one is that both utilize a battery for propulsion with their electric drivetrains, and each is rechargeable.

PHEVs and BEVs utilize regenerative braking to recharge the battery. Kinetic energy lost during the braking process is converted to electrical energy using the vehicle’s electric motor, which is fed back into the battery.

If you have an existing PV system, you can plug your PHEV and BEV in for recharging, so you won’t be paying to recharge your electric car where you have capacity.

Another similarity is that both BEVs and PHEVs can be recharged using Level 1 or Level 2 chargers, so either 120V or 240V systems. But a PHEV cannot use a Level 3 DCFC (DC Fast Charger), while a BEV can.

Notable Differences Between BEVs And PHEVs

The most notable difference between the PHEV and BEV is the power source. 

The BEV is only powered using chemical reactions stored in a battery that produces electricity for propulsion and powering the vehicle’s onboard systems and does not have an ICE.

The PHEV has both battery and ICE but only has a limited range when using the battery.

A PHEV has an auxiliary battery (like conventional cars do) and a traction battery used to power the electric motor until the speed is too high, the ICE takes over, or the battery is depleted.

Electric motors operate more efficiently at lower speeds, so as the vehicle accelerates, the ICE will take over as the primary source of propulsion. 

The BEV Battery would typically range in size from 40kWh to 80 kWh and would be used to power all the systems in the EV and the motor, while a PHEV battery averages about 13.5kWh and is only used for short-range travel.

Regarding the range of the EV using the electric motor, the BEV will outperform the PHEV by some margin.

Most BEVs can get between 300 and 500 miles on a full charge, while a PHEV’s battery would only be good for about 30-50 miles.

The PHEV would use the gasoline-powered engine for long distances, and the battery would be utilized for short-range trips instead.

Side-By-Side Comparison

Let’s look at these two EVs and see how they stack up against each other, so you can see which would be better for you.


Because hybrids have a smaller battery, they can recharge faster than a BEV, only needing about an hour or two to reach full charge using a Level 2 charger and about 5-6 hours with Level 1.

While a fully electric vehicle would take around 4-10 hours to recharge fully utilizing a Level 2 charger and about 40-50 hours on Level 1.

However, using the DCFC or Direct Current Fast Charging system or Level 3, BEVs can achieve 80% charge in around 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the BEV’s charging capacity, as the DCFC delivers up to 350kWh of charge.

A hybrid vehicle cannot use Level 3 charging as the onboard charger only uses AC and does not have DC fast charging capability.


Remember that the PHEV has a combustion engine, so it will have a longer overall range than the BEV. However, when comparing the range using electric power only, the BEV wins hands down.

Most PHEVs can only get around 30-50 miles on a fully charged battery, while a BEV can deliver ten times that much – 300 miles to 500 miles depending on the model.

The PHEV is ideally suited for short-range commuting using the battery, and if you live close to schools and your offices, then the PHEV is a great option.

The BEV is preferable if you need long distances and prefer a zero-emissions option.

Remember that public charging stations will increase significantly as the government implements the charging infrastructure plan. Many of these require DCFC charging capacity for BEVs.

Environmental Impact

If your primary concern is lowering your carbon footprint, then the BEV is the only EV to choose here. It is the only EV with zero emissions, and while generating electricity will create CO2, driving the EV is 100% environmentally friendly.


Of course, the main consideration when looking at an EV is the price, and while PHEVs are cheaper upfront, they incur more maintenance costs than BEVs will.

This is because they have more moving parts as they utilize the ICE as the primary source of propulsion, with the electric system as a secondary source. This means services for the engine as you would for a regular car.

The BEV has far fewer moving parts, and the long-term costs in terms of maintenance will be significantly lower than a PHEV;

The plug-in is also heavier because it has a battery and an engine. So fuel economy will be lower than a BEV.

Not only that, but the Federal Government’s $7500 incentive depending on the EV model you buy, is also in effect, and this can offset the upfront costs when purchasing a BEV.

Because the PHEV uses gasoline, having a BEV will also mean lesser fuel costs, so while the initial cost of the BEV may be higher, the overall cost of ownership is much lower.

BEV vs PHEV | Which Electric Car Do You Choose?

The PHEV would be a good choice if you only do short commutes in residential areas at lower speeds and are unlikely to do any actual long-distance driving.

It will charge reasonably quickly at home, and you’ll need to invest in a Level 2 charger to charge the battery faster.

Where you need more than 500 miles for long distances, the PHEV is also possibly a better option as you won’t need to stop for recharging.

But if you prefer a zero-emissions vehicle that can deliver a reasonable distance with lower operating and maintenance costs, the benefit of federal tax credits, and a growing national charging infrastructure. Then choose battery power exclusively.

Also, with DCFC available at many charging stations, the time to recharge or top up your BEV battery is less. For example, a DC fast charger can recharge a flat BEV battery to 80% in under an hour!

Aside from the $7500 incentive, the government also offers a tax credit for domestic charging stations installed in your home.

You would require a proper installation for a level 2 (240V charger) and a GFCI circuit by an accredited installer. The tax credit offers up to 30% available on this installation for a maximum of $1000.

The demand and sales for BEVs are increasing, and in December of 2022, 79058 BEVs were sold against 19598 PHEVs in the USA. This trend is expected to increase as more manufacturers produce BEVs to meet demand.

As the number of available BEVs increases, the prices will drop as more models become available, and the used-BEV market will also grow, increasing the options for first-time EV owners to enter the market.


Is Tesla BEV Or PHEV?

Tesla vehicles are only battery-powered cars, and so have no vehicles that use gasoline. All Teslas require plug-in charging and have zero emissions as they do not use gas-powered engines.

What’s The Difference Between PHEV And HEV?

HEVs and PHEVs are similar, with the main difference being that the HEV cannot be plugged in to charge, while the PHEV has an onboard charger with an AC/DC converter that allows AC charging current to be converted to DC and stored in the battery.

The Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle uses gasoline and electricity to power the motor. While the battery range is low compared to a BEV, this EV can be charged by plugging it into a Level 1 or Level 2 charger.

The Hybrid Electric Vehicle cannot be charged by plugging it in; it uses regenerative braking to recharge the battery using the motor as a generator to recharge its battery.

HEVs use one or more electric motors to aid the gas motor and reduce emissions while maintaining performance.

Can PHEVs Charge While Driving?

The PHEV can charge while driving. It uses a regenerative braking system that uses the electric motor as a generator to convert lost kinetic energy during braking.

This is converted to electrical energy that is then distributed back to the traction battery for use when needed.

Final Verdict

The BEV will get more range on the battery alone but will take longer to charge using Level 1 or Level 2 chargers since it has a larger battery than the plug-in.

But they can accept DC fast charging at public charging stations, which the PHEV cannot.

The PHEV will have a more extended overall range due to its ICE, but it still has emissions, and the BEV will be more fuel efficient.

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The maintenance costs of the PHEV are higher, and the market trends are moving towards BEVs as more people seek zero-emission EVs.