What are the differences between PHEV, BEV, MHEV or HEV

PHEV — Plug-in Hybrid Electric Car

The Plug-in Hybrid car is a great start to those who want to dip their toes in the water when trying to understand how an electric vehicle would work around their commute and lifestyle.

VW Golf GTE — Short Term Car Lease

Pro’s of a PHEV Car

  • Range Anxiety is non-existent due to the on-board engine
  • Generally cheaper than a fully electric vehicle
  • Zero emission commuting (15/20 miles)

Con’s of a PHEV Car

  • The car is a little weighty, so engine use only can have a negative effect
  • VRM is no longer cheaper on PHEV’s.
  • Need a homecharging solution

BEV — Battery Electric Vehicle

Since the UK government announced the demise of internal combustion engines, battery electric vehicles (BEV) are really becoming very popular.

Tesla Model 3 in Leeds — Short Term Car Lease

Pro’s of a BEV Car

  • Company Car Tax (BIK) Benefits
  • Zero Tailpipe Emissions = Cleaner Air
  • Low Running Costs
  • Congestion Charge Exempt

Con’s of a BEV Car

  • Range Anxiety for many
  • Needs to be plugged in
  • UK Charging Infrastructure
  • Charging Time

MHEV — Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Recently introduced by many of the car manufacturers to promote that they are heading the greener way, a MHEV works by having a traditional combustion engine alongside a small battery pack and electric motor.

Pro’s of a MHEV Car

  • Lower Emissions
  • Cheaper to purchase than normal hybrids/PHEV’s
  • Cheaper to purchase/lease

Con’s of a MHEV Car

  • No real benefit to fuel economy
  • No road tax benefits
  • No real electric only range

HEV — Hybrid Electric Engines

Most of the vehicle manufacturers now offer a Hybrid of some sort with Toyota really producing one of the first mainstream Hybrid cars with the Prius.

  • Parallel Hybrid (eg. Toyota Prius) — This has an internal combustion engine alongside and electric motor and battery pack. A parallel hybrid can be powered fully by the electric motor or the engine as well as a combination of the two.
  • Plugin Hybrid (eg. VW Golf GTE) — See PHEV
  • Range-Extender hybrid (eg. BMW i3 Range Extender) — The is vehicle is always driven by the electric motors from the battery packs. But an internal engine is onboard to charge the battery in the same way as a petrol generator would do to provide the power.

Pro’s of a HEV Car

  • Great at low speeds where it generally runs from electric power
  • Some of the HEV’s are congestion charge exempt
  • Better fuel economy than traditional engine cars.

Con’s of a HEV Car

  • No longer exempt from road fund licence
  • Not as economical at motorway speeds
  • Some of the cars are awful to drive

So what is an ICE?

An ICE is an internal combustion engine, such as a traditional diesel or petrol car. In the new world of motoring abbreviations, you will hear ICE mentioned a lot more.

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Rhys Adams

Rhys Adams


I live in a beautiful town called Belper on the edge of the Peak District with my wife Rebecca. I enjoy writing, photography and gadgets.