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What’s the Difference between HEV, PHEV and EV?

Not all EVs are created equal and Kia offers three different types to meet the diverse needs of Canadian drivers. While all benefit the environment, the key difference involves the powertrain – the main components that generate power and transfer it to the wheels. This changes how the vehicle’s internal battery is charged.

The three options:

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Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)

HEV stands for hybrid electric vehicle. As the name indicates, this is a combination of an electric vehicle and a traditional, gasoline-powered vehicle. The components of an HEV include an electric motor, internal combustion engine (ICE, also known as a gasoline engine) and a battery. The HEV derives energy in two ways:

1) through regenerative braking, where the electric motor acts as a generator to save and store the energy produced when a vehicle is slowed down; and

2) fossil fuels that run the secondary gasoline engine.

Benefits: HEVs have a better return on fuel during city driving and while in stop-and-go traffic, in comparison to a standard gasoline or diesel vehicle.

Charging/Fueling: HEVs cannot be plugged into an electricity source and are fueled at standard gas stations.

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Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

PHEV stands for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. These are Hybrid Vehicles (they contain both an electric and gasoline powered engines), with the ability to charge the battery by plugging them in.

Benefits: In a Kia PHEV, you have the option of full EV mode, for zero emission driving, or HEV, where the gasoline engine is the main source of power for longer range needs, supplemented by the battery and electric motor.

Charging/Fueling: The electric motor in a PHEV can obtain power from regenerative braking (see HEV), regular electrical outlets, or from an electric vehicle charging station. The ICE requires gasoline.

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Battery Electric Vehicle (EV)

BEV stands for battery electric vehicle, also known simply as an electric vehicle (EV). EVs run on 100% battery power.

Benefits: An EV does not have an internal combustion (gasoline) engine, meaning it doesn’t produce tailpipe emissions. No ICE means lower maintenance costs in comparison to traditional vehicles.

Charging/Fueling: This type of vehicle derives all its power from plugging into a power source. With charging stations located across the country, your EV can be “fast charged,” keeping your travel capabilities limitless.


There are basically three different options for charging your EV or PHEV:

* Level 1, which uses a regular 110 Volt household outlet;

* Level 2, which uses a 240 Volt outlet, which you can have installed at home or find in public locations; and

* Level 3, which can be found in key public charging stations across Canada.

The main difference is the speed at which each level charges the battery. Here are the details:

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Level 1

Level 1 charging adds about 5 – 9 kms of driving range per hour of charging time.

Plug-in electric vehicle batteries can be fully charged using Level 1 chargers, which are compatible with any standard 120V outlet. This is the most common method for at-home charging

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Level 2

Level 2 charging adds about 25 – 40 kms of range per hour of charging time.

This level is ideal for drivers who travel more than 80 km/day and need to replenish their range overnight. A 240V (Level 2) outlet (like a stove or dryer outlet) can be installed in a garage or outdoors and enables faster charge times. This requires a compatible charger: 16A and 32A chargers are the two most common Level 2 chargers. However, there is a wide range of chargers available, with varying charge times. Level 2 chargers can also be found in thousands of public locations across Canada, such as shopping malls, restaurants, parking garages and private businesses.

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Level 3

Also known as DC fast charging, Level 3 charging can add 300+ kms of range in about 1 hr of charging time.

For drivers going long distances, Level 3 chargers can be used to charge vehicles quicker. Level 3 chargers are usually found in higher traffic public areas and use a 400V system. The most common Level 3 chargers are 50A and 100A, but there are alternative options with a wide range of amperages. 

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