A Review of Hybrid, PHEV, and EV Terms
Now that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has revealed their plans for hybrid and electric vehicles going forward, we thought we should do a little review. Break out the textbooks, because it’s time for a vocabulary lesson. It may not be surprising that the average car consumer doesn’t know that much about alternative fuel vehicles, and the terms used when discussing them, just make it all more confusing. So, let’s clear that up with a list of some popular definitions and terms.
What’s a Hybrid? PHEV? EV?
One of the first major departures from automobiles solely powered by gasoline came with the hybrid car. Simply put, a hybrid vehicle comes with two power sources – the gasoline engine and an electric motor powered by an electric battery. In a hybrid vehicle, the electric battery is small, and only powers the electric motor in the vehicle in certain conditions, such as when the vehicle is cruising at a steady speed. When the battery reaches depletion, the engine takes over. To recharge the battery, a system known as “regenerative braking” sends energy to the electric battery’s generator.
Regenerative braking is an important system to hybrids, PHEVs, and EVs. Not only does it help to recharge the battery for free but it can also extend the driving range of an alternative fuel vehicle simply by giving the battery a little more juice. How it works? The energy used by the vehicle to bring it to a stop is recycled and delivered to the battery generator. Of course, not all alternative fuel vehicles rely on regenerative braking, though.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, also known as PHEVs for short, and sometimes referred to as just a plug-in hybrid, could be called the best of both worlds. Equipped with a much larger electric battery, the electric motor can power the vehicle for much longer. Many PHEVs come with the option to power the vehicle with both energy sources or solely by the electric motor for less (or zero) tailpipe carbon-dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions per mile, as well as drive quieter.
Because a PHEV can do this, it will also require an electric charging station, an outside source, to fully recharge and do so much faster. Otherwise, the vehicle defaults to the gasoline engine. The major player for PHEVs within the FCA Group is the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Combined, it has a 520 mile range.
When looking at PHEVs and EVs, consumers may see a unit of measurement they’re unfamiliar with: MPGe. Simply put, MPGe is the unit of measurement used when measuring the average distance traveled per unit of energy consumed in terms of electricity. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses a set amount of electric energy that’s equal to the energy contained in 1 gallon of gasoline to determine MPGe ratings.
Electric vehicles, EVs for short, are the latest development of the three. Purely driven by an electric motor, these vehicles have the largest battery of them all. Releasing zero tailpipe emissions, not only are they very environmentally friendly, but their upkeep is a lot less than a vehicle with many moving engine parts. The savings add up with an EV very quickly.
Speaking of savings, many PHEVs and EVs are eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7500 for the tax year the vehicle was purchased. What does that mean? It means, if a consumer were to purchase the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid in 2019, they would receive a $7,500 credit against their taxes owed for that year. It is a one-time credit for the first year. If the buyer owes taxes less than the credit, they would receive the credit up to the amount they owe and they will not receive a check for the difference. Not all PHEVs and EVs are eligible for the full $7500.
We hope that clears some things up for our readers and consumers. Check out the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and other upcoming alternative fuel vehicles at Aventura Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram.