NY.gov Portal State Agency Listing Search all of NY.gov

How Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicles Work

Electric Drive

Electric vehicles operate on electric batteries, which last for a certain time and range and then are recharged or replaced.

When an EV's ignition is turned on, the battery sends energy to the motor through a sophisticated motor control unit. Electric energy is converted into mechanical energy, and, through a mechanical drive system in the wheels, the motor propels the vehicle. An EV uses energy only while it is in motion. When the vehicle brakes, the mechanical energy is converted back into electric energy to charge the battery.

With no spark plugs, oil or gas filters or mufflers, EVs require less maintenance than gasoline-powered vehicles. Current battery technology provides a range of 40 to 65 miles per charge, but longer-range batteries are under development.

Hybrid Electric

Photo of Toyota Prius hybrid electric vehicleHybrid-electric vehicles are drawing increased attention as the next step in of clean-energy transportation. A hybrid-electric vehicle is equipped with an auxiliary power unit that runs on a variety of fuels, including gasoline, diesel or natural gas. The auxiliary unit can recharge the vehicle’s battery or power its wheels. Hybrids have greater range than their all-electric counterparts and are more efficient and less polluting than standard vehicles.

Through our diverse Clean Transportation Program, we will continue to contribute to the growth and acceptance of clean, efficient electric-drive technology. In so doing, we are demonstrating our commitment to the environment and providing one more example of how we generate more than electricity.