What Is A BEV? [Battery Electric Vehicle]

A BEV is a battery-electric vehicle that uses electricity stored in a battery for propulsion. It has no secondary fuel source like hydrogen, a fuel-powered engine, or an exhaust pipe. They release no emissions during operation and are currently the most environmentally friendly of all vehicles.

Key benefits of BEV’s:
1๏ธโƒฃ BEVs can use Level 1, 2, and DC fast stations to charge the battery
2๏ธโƒฃ They can run for 300-500 miles once fully charged, depending on the model
3๏ธโƒฃ They have zero emissions
4๏ธโƒฃ Lower maintenance costs due to simpler design

A battery pack at the Rivian factory (๐Ÿ“ทยฉ๏ธ Rivian Newsroom)

So let’s dive further into the topic of this type of electric vehicle or jump straight to your question below:

Definition Of A Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) 

A BEV is powered solely by chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs as its primary power source. These vehicles are also known as only electric, pure, fully electric vehicles.

The energy stored is used by battery-powered electric motors and power control systems for propulsion and powering the vehicle’s onboard electronic systems.

How Do BEVs Work?

The BEV is powered by a single electric battery charged using an external charging source, home or public charger.

Using a series of electronic motors and controls, the power control system allocates power to the motor or series of motors to drive the wheels and propel the car when the accelerator is pressed.

Let’s look at the parts of the BEV to understand how this electric car works.

  • The charging Port is where the charging cable would connect to the onboard charger and allow either AC, DC, or a combination of both to recharge the BEVs battery.
  • The Traction Battery or battery pack is the BEV’s power source and uses DC converted to AC to drive the electric motor. DC motors are available but are typically not used in mass-produced BEVs.

๐Ÿ“– Related article: Are Tesla’s AC or DC?

  • The electric motor โ€“ this uses the electricity supplied from the battery to drive the wheels and is often an AC motor that uses converted AC from the inverter.
  • AC Inverter โ€“ much like the inverter found in domestic PV (solar) systems, the onboard inverter converts DC from the battery to AC to drive the motor. The DC is used to power other systems in the vehicle.
  • Battery Management System โ€“ this is the heart of the control system and manages the power levels going to the motor and the current flowing in and out of the battery. BMS systems are custom matched to the battery to ensure performance and longevity.
  • Onboard Battery Charger โ€“ This is designed to protect the battery and regulate the level of current going into the battery while charging. Most EVs utilize Level 1 or Level 2 AC Charging but can also use DCFC (DC Fast Charging) available at public charging stations.

Advantages Of BEVs

BEVs have several advantages over ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles as well as the other main types of electric vehicles such as PHEVs (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles) and HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles).

While hybrid vehicles outnumber BEVs in the market, the appeal of an all-electric vehicle is easy to understand.

Firstly, BEVs are ZERO emission vehicles, and while the electric power needed to charge them creates emissions during its generation, the car has no emissions.

With no exhaust system or ICE, the BEV is the best option to kill your vehicle’s CO2 footprint!

Another big plus for BEVs is the very low maintenance costs. BEVs have very few moving parts compared to cars with engines of any kind.

And the electric motors they use are durable and efficient, meaning they are very unlikely to break down and require repair.

BEVs are fun to drive! It’s quiet and smooth and responds well on both acceleration and steering. It’s quite an experience to have your BEV cruising along the highway keeping up with other cars, and knowing that you are driving an all-electric vehicle!

You can also charge your BEV on your existing PV system, so you wouldn’t need to spend big money on a charging station for your house if you had an existing renewable energy system.

BEVs vs PHEVs vs HEVs

The PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) has a smaller battery and a limited range compared to a BEV. They may be cheaper, but they still require fuel for their combustion engines.

While PHEVs charge faster as their battery is smaller, the maintenance, operational costs, and emissions are higher than BEVs.

An HEV or Hybrid Electric Vehicle cannot be plugged in to charge. They use regenerative charging (much like BEVs do) from energy used in braking to recharge the battery partially. The rest is topped up via the ICE.

Regeneration is used to assist the ICE and steering systems- but their sole power source for propulsion is gasoline. Remember, there is no such thing as a self-charging hybrid!

Both PHEVs and HEVs are low-emission vehicles and don’t emit as much as regular cars, but they are no match for the zero-emission BEV, along with their larger battery.

Charging And Range Of BEVs

BEVs can charge using level 1 and level 2 AC charging, and they can also use the DCFC stations (which depending on the onboard charge controller), can charge up to 350kW.

This AC and DC direct charging level can charge a BEV battery to 80% in just 20 minutes and 100% in an hour!

PHEVs and HEVs cannot use Level 3 charging and can only be plugged into Level 1 or Level 2 chargers.

On a full charge, A BEV can have an effective range of between 200 and 500 miles depending on the model, and more manufacturers are looking to provide BEVs with a 500+ mile range using larger and more efficient batteries.

The Mercedes EQS has a range of 420 miles, and the Lucid Air Dream Edition all-wheel drive has a range of 520 miles.

Ultimately range depends on the load, the size of the battery, the battery charge level, and the level of acceleration used while driving.

The heavier the load and the higher the acceleration, the lower the range of the BEV will be.

Another factor affecting range is the effect of cold weather on the battery performance of a BEV.

Higher capacity batteries toward the 80kWh mark will deliver a longer range and take longer to charge.

Current And Future BEVs

There are currently around 19 BEV models available vs. the 34 PHEV models.

According to Statista, BEV sales are higher than PHEV sales, and this trend is projected to continue and accelerate over the next five years.

Estimates put BEV sales at 13 million units by 2027, against the 2,8 million PHEV unit sales over the same period.

Models like the DeLorean Alpha 5 (yes, it looks like the one from Back to The Future), KIA’s EV 9 with an integrated solar panel, BMW’s iX1, and Audi’s A6 E-Tron will all be available shortly. 

The time of the ICE and even PHEV is slowly coming to an end as more people seek more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient cars.

Key Takeaway

The BEV is the ultimate electric vehicle. With lower maintenance costs, zero emissions, and ranges set to increase.

Paired with an ever-improving national charging station infrastructure and more models set to become available, the BEV is already the car of the future.