The ban on the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars is set to come sooner than planned, with reports suggesting a new deadline could be announced this week.
All new cars with internal combustion engines – including hybrids – were due to be prohibited from sale in 2040, in accordance with the Government’s Clean Air Strategy.
However, in the coming days Boris Johnson is likely to accelerate the ban to 2030, though some hybrid vehicles will have a later deadline of 2035 as part of a transition period to electric vehicles.
With many different types of hybrid cars and a swirling of acronyms being used across the sector, here’s an easy guide and jargon buster to help you through the minefield of electric vehicle terms…
Do you know your BEV from your PHEV? We explain the different types of electrified cars – and when they’re likely to be removed from showrooms
Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Also referred to as: Electric Vehicle (EV), pure electric, fully electric
Potentially banned in: Never
Example models: Tesla Model 3, Volkswagen ID.3, Nissan Leaf, Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron.
Battery Electric Vehicles are those that are entirely powered by a battery and electric motors 100 per cent of time.
The vehicle itself produces zero emissions, has no fuel tank, no exhaust pipe and no internal combustion engine whatsoever.
The VW ID.3 is the latest BEV to hit the UK market. It’s similar in size to the Volkswagen Golf, though is powered only by electricity
Tesla is the most famous BEV maker. The Model 3 (pictured) is the best-selling BEV in the UK in 2020
All BEVs need to be plugged in to have the batteries replenished, which in most modern examples are packs built into the car’s floor.
Recharging takes considerably longer than refueling a conventional vehicle, though improvements to infrastructure means you can get up to 80 per cent charge in around half an hour in the best-performing models.
These are considered the greenest type of car, though many question the environmental impact of battery sourcing and manufacturing as well as the production of electricity.
MPs want to encourage drivers to use BEVs, which is why they have no scheduled ban date.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Also referred to as: Plug-in hybrids
Potentially banned in: 2035
Example models: Ford Kuga PHEV, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Volkswagen Golf GTE, BMW 330e, Peugeot 508 PHEV.
Plug-in Hybrids are seen as the stepping stone between petrol and diesel cars we’ve always known and battery electric vehicles.
They use an internal combustion engine – usually petrol – and an onboard battery and electric motor(s).
The battery can be charged to full capacity by plugging the vehicle into the mains or a charging device, though these cars also have energy regenerating brakes and systems that help to trickle a little extra capacity to the battery on the move.
The battery pack is not as large as that in a BEV, though when fully charged can provide anywhere between 25 and 55 miles of range using just electric power and the petrol or diesel engine not having to be used.
Charging times are shorter than BEVs, too.
Mitsubishi’s Outlander has been the best-selling PHEV for some years, though more rivals are coming to the market now
Peugeot’s stylish 508 saloon and estate has the option of PHEV technology
For longer journeys – or any trip where you’ve used up to electric driving capacity – the vehicle will become reliant on the petrol or diesel engine to take you to your destination.
Though regenerative systems will continue to slowly replenish the battery you drive, so you will benefit from a little extra electric range.
Ministers are expected to implement a ban of 2035 on this type of hybrid vehicle due to their capacity to be driven more than the daily average journey using only electric power.
However, some green campaigners say PHEVs are dirtier than other vehicles, as they produce higher emissions levels when owners fail to charge them regularly.
This is because the petrol or diesel engine needs to work harder to carry the bulk of the battery.
Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)
Also referred to as: Hybrids, conventional hybrid, self-charging hybrid
Potentially banned in: 2030
Example models: Toyota Prius, Lexus RX 450h.
A Hybrid Electric Vehicle shares the same concept as a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle in that it has an onboard battery and electric motor to supplement a petrol or diesel engine.
However, it can’t be plugged in to be charged, so all of the electric power is generated by the movement of the vehicle.
Batteries are far smaller than those in BEVs and PHEVs for this reason and can only usually provide a handful of miles of range using electric power only.
The most famous HEV of all is the Toyota Prius. However, the Japanese brand has muddied the waters in recent years by also introducing a Prius PHEV, just for extra confusion
Toyota’s premium brand, Lexus, is also a big pusher of HEVs. It removed all diesel engines from its range years ago, though claims of the cars being ‘self-charging hybrids’ gloss over the fact they can’t be driven far on electric power alone
They’re often referred to as conventional hybrids as they were introduced to the market ahead of PHEVs, with the Toyota Prius being the most reknowned model.
Toyota and sister brand Lexus often refer to them as ‘self-charging’ hybrid vehicles, which is misleading if it fails to acknowledge that their electric-only ranges are much less than PHEVs.
The Prime Minister is widely expected to ban the sale of new version from 2030, alongside new petrol and diesel models.
Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV)
Also referred to as: Mild hybrids, Light hybrids
Potentially banned in: 2030
Example models: Suzuki Ignis SHVS, Jaguar E-Pace MHEV, Ford Fiesta EcoBoost Hybrid.
One of the most confusing recent terms introduced to the sector is the Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle.
These are claimed to sit between a petrol or diesel car and a Hybrid Electric Vehicle and are a common theme as manufacturers announce new models and updates to their ranges.
They have a very small battery and motor-generator – usually no bigger than 48 volts – to supplement the combustion engine under the bonnet.
Suzuki has introduced ‘SHVS’ (which stands for Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) variants of its range, which are mild-hybrids
Jaguar has recently refreshed its E-Pace compact SUV, and MHEV powertrains are being pushed hard
The big difference is that the battery and motor do not provide all-electric propulsion and instead the motor-generator uses stored electricity to supply torque to the engine, boosting its output without burning additional fuel.
Other mild hybrids use the generator to enable the car’s engine to be turned off for up to 40 seconds when coasting, automatically restarting when acceleration is called for.
This is said to offer greater fuel-economy from a petrol or diesel engine.
However, because they do no provide an electric-only driving whatsoever, ministers will banish new version from sale in 2030.
Other electric acronyms to know
Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle (ICE): This is the term used for cars with a petrol or diesel engine and no supplementary electric power.
Boris Johnson is expected to confirm the ban on sale of new ICE cars is expected to be accelerated to 2030.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV): Hydrogen vehicles are considered by many as the greenest cars of the future as they use a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity.
The only thing that comes out of the exhaust pipe as a result is pure water. These cars are in their infancy, with just one – the £66,000 Toyota Mirai – brought to market so far. They, like BEVs, have no set ban deadline.
Range Extender Electric Vehicle (REX): A range extender works in a similar way to a PHEV, though the battery and electric motor onboard never actually powers the wheels of the car.
These have become less common in recent years, with the likes of the Vauxhall Ampera and BMW i3 Range Extender being removed from sale.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV): This is a term given to all types of vehicle that aren’t conventional petrol and diesel vehicles, grouping pure-electric and all types of hybrids into one category.
Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG): This is a tax-payer funded grant offered to buyers of battery electric vehicles only.
When launched in January 2011, it could be used to subsidise £5,000 towards the on the road price of any plug-in hybrid or electric cars.
In recent years the Government has removed PHEVs from the scheme and gradually reduced the grant.
Electric Vehicle Home-Charge Scheme (EVHS): Another tax-payer funded government grant that provides a 75 per cent contribution to the cost of one chargepoint and its installation at your house.
A grant cap is set at £350 (including VAT) per installation.