Electric Vehicle Basics

Research output: NRELFact Sheet


Electric vehicles (EVs) use electricity as their primary fuel or to improve the efficiency of conventional vehicle designs. EVs include all-electric vehicles, also referred to as battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). In colloquial references, these vehicles are called electric cars, or simply EVs, even though some of these vehicles still use liquid fuels in conjunction with electricity. EVs are known for providing instant torque and a quiet driver experience. Other types of electric-drive vehicles not covered here include hybrid electric vehicles, which are powered by a conventional engine and an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery, and fuel cell electric vehicles, which use a propulsion system similar to electric vehicles, where energy stored as hydrogen is converted to electricity by the fuel cell.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/FS-5400-80605

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102021-5606


  • all-electric vehicles
  • battery electric vehicles
  • electric vehicle charging
  • electric vehicles
  • electric-drive vehicles
  • emissions
  • emissions reductions
  • EV charging
  • plug-in hybrid electric vehicles


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