A plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) is any motor vehicle that can be recharged from an 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 subset of electric vehicles that includes all-electric or battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). In China, plug-in electric vehicles are called new energy vehicles (NEVs). Sales of the first mass-production plug-in cars by major carmakers began in late December 2010, with the introduction of the all-electric Nissan Leaf and the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt.
An aftermarket electric vehicle conversion is the modification of a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV) or hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) to electric propulsion, creating an all-electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
PEVs have several advantages. These include reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved air quality, noise reduction and national security benefits. According to the Center for American Progress, PEVs are an important part of the group of technologies that will help the U.S. meet its goal under the Paris Agreement, which is a 26-28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2025.
All-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles also have lower maintenance costs as compared to internal combustion vehicles, since electronic systems break down much less often than the mechanical systems in conventional vehicles, and the fewer mechanical systems on board last longer due to the better use of the electric engine. PEVs do not require oil changes and other routine maintenance checks.
The magnitude of the potential advantage depends on the mix of generation sources and therefore varies by country and by region. For example, France can obtain significant emission benefits from electric and plug-in hybrids because most of its electricity is generated by nuclear power plants; similarly, most regions of Canada are primarily powered with hydroelectricity, nuclear, or natural gas which have no or very low emissions at point of generation; and the state of California, where most energy comes from natural gas, hydroelectric and nuclear plants can also secure substantial emission benefits. The United Kingdom also has a significant potential to benefit from PEVs as natural gas plants dominate the generation mix. On the other hand, emission benefits in Germany, China, India, and the central regions of the United States are limited or non-existent because most electricity is generated from coal. However these countries and regions might still obtain some air quality benefits by reducing local air pollution in urban areas. Cities with chronic air pollution problems, such as Los Angeles, MÈxico City, Santiago, Chile, SÖo Paulo, Beijing, Bangkok and Kathmandu may also gain local clean air benefits by shifting the harmful emission to electric generation plants located outside the cities. Nevertheless, the location of the plants is not relevant when considering greenhouse gas emission because their effect is global.