California Department of Transportation

Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs)

A plug-in electric vehicle is any motor vehicle that can be recharged from any external source of electricity, such as wall sockets, and the electricity stored in the rechargeable battery packs drives, or contributes to drive the wheels. PEV is a general term for electric vehicles that includes all-electric or battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, (PHEVs), and electric vehicle conversions of hybrid electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.


Source: UC Davis PHEV center

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Dillon Miner
Transportation Planner
(916) 653-4287




Plug-In Hybrid  Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (otherwise known as a PHEV or plug-in hybrid) is a vehicle with both an electric motor and a gasoline engine. It can be fueled using both electricity and gasoline. The new Chevy Volt is one example of a plug-in hybrid vehicle.


Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

A battery electric vehicle, or BEV, is a type of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) that uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs. BEVs use electric motors instead of internal combustion engines (ICEs) for propulsion. They are “fueled” with electricity, usually through a special electric vehicle charger, and never use gasoline. The new Nissan Leaf is one example of  a battery electric vehicle.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)

  A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is a type of hybrid vehicle and electric vehicle which combines a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) propulsion system with an electric motor propulsion system.  Hybrids use only gasoline as a fuel and do not plug-in to recharge using electricity.  Some examples of hybrid vehicles are the Toyota Prius, Camry and Highlander, Honda Civic and Insight, Ford Escape and Fusion.


  • Lower operating and maintenance costs
  • Reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Less dependence on imported oil
  • Easy home recharging for many homes
  • Federal tax breaks (for more information go to:


  • The major disadvantage of EVs is that the battery has to be charged regularly. The normal working range of battery is about 50-130 miles and it takes about 4-8 hours to recharge completely. 

  • Cost of batteries may make some of these vehicles more expensive.

  • Availability of recharging infrastructure