Is there more to electric vehicles than electric cars, scooters, bikes, buses and trucks? - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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Net Zero by Narsi is a series of brief posts by Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi), on decarbonization and climate solutions.
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This is a part of the EV Innovation Intelligence series

You bet!

There is so much transport around us that we just take it for granted.

All you need is to stand by an urban roadside and observe the traffic flow during peak hours – if you are observant enough, you will likely count more than ten different types of vehicles.

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But when one talks about electric vehicles, it is more than different types of vehicles, it is also different types of electrification – for instance, hybrid electric vehicles are quite different from fully electric vehicles. And then, a discerning customer might also want to distinguish between a virgin electric vehicle and a retrofit electric vehicle.

It should hence be no different that there are many, many types of electric vehicles. Our EVNext team, while working on the EVI2 guide  (our global report on electric vehicle innovation intelligence), identified close to 30 different types of electric vehicles. And if one were really discriminating, we suspect this number could be even higher.

Cars and heavier vehicles

Electric heavy vehicles include cars like SUVs, trucks, loaders, vans, etc.

  • Electric cars – mass market
  • High-end electric cars – luxury and sports cars
  • Electric trucks
  • Electric buses
  • Electric vans
  • Electric LCVs

2 & 3 wheelers

  • Electric two-wheelers play a major role in micro-mobility. It includes electric bikes, electric scooters, electric motorbikes, electric sports bikes, etc. The Global Electric Three-Wheeler Market in terms of value is estimated to reach USD 4.9 Billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 11.10% during the forecast period. Electric Three-Wheeler, also referred to as e-rickshaw, is an electrically powered three-wheeler used to carry both passengers and utility. It is considered one of the common forms of urban and suburban transport. Electric three-wheeler comprises an electric motor that is powered by a rechargeable battery. Moreover, the latest electric three-wheeler vehicles contain plug-in charging options, while earlier, the battery of the three-wheeler was charged after removing it from the vehicle.
    • Electric scooters
    • Electric 3 wheelers
    • Electric motorbikes
    • Electric bicycles

Off-road vehicles

  • An off-road vehicle is capable of driving on and off paved or gravel surfaces. It is generally characterized by having large tires with deep, open treads, a flexible suspension, or even caterpillar tracks.
    • Electric tractors

Micro mobility vehicles

  • Micro mobility refers to a range of small, lightweight vehicles operating at speeds typically below 25 km/h (15 mph) and driven by users personally (unlike rickshaws). Micro Mobility devices include Ebikes, electric scooters, electric skateboards, shared bicycles, and electric pedal-assisted (pedelec) bicycles.
    • Electric golf carts for use in micro-mobility
    • Electric segway

Non-land vehicles

  • Non-land vehicles are used in water and air transportation. Drones, flights, boats are some examples of non-land vehicles.
    • Electric drones
    • Electric aircraft
    • Electric boats
    • Flying electric cars/taxis
    • Electric submarines
    • Electric shipping


  • Hybrid electric vehicles are powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries.  A traditional hybrid electric vehicle cannot be plugged in to charge the battery. Instead, the battery is charged through regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine. Plug-in hybrids can be plugged in and charged directly from an electrical source. (Micro, mild and other kinds of hybrids)
    • Hybrid electric cars
    • Hybrid electric trucks
    • Hybrid electric bicycle
    • Hybrid electric LCVs
    • Hybrid electric 3-wheelers


  • Traditional ICE vehicles can be changed to EVs or hybrids through Retrofitting. This is of importance because there are millions of ICE vehicles on the road and there is a possibility that they can be converted into an EV.
    • Retrofit electric buses
    • Retrofit electric trucks
    • Retrofit electric cars
    • Retrofit electric 3 wheelers


  • Autonomous EVs
  • Fuel cell-based electric trains
  • Fuel cells based EVs

And the above list, long as it is, still does not tell the entire story. There are further custom-built variations available within many specific types of vehicles. For instance, electric vans are also being custom built to be used as ambulances, small three-wheeler EVs are customized for use in internal spaces like large buildings for floor cleaning etc., small electric trucks are being modified to be used as garbage vehicles, etc.

This is a part of the EV Innovation Intelligence series

Posts in the series

Tesla’s Valuation | EV’s in different countries | Purpose built EVs | Mainstream Fuel Cells | IT in Emobility | EVs versus ICEs | Advent of China in Emobility | Charging vs Swapping | Micromobility & EVs | Electric Aviation | Li-ion alternatives | Million Mile Battery | Battery Startups versus Giants | Sales & Financing Models | Ultrafast Charging a Norm | Heavy Electric Vehicles | Material Sciences in Emobility | Lithium Scarcity | Solar Power in EV Ecosystem | EV Manufacturing Paradigm | Innovations in Motors | EV Startups – a speciality Oil Companies’ Strategies | EV Adoption Paths | Covid-19 affect on the EV Industry |

Know more about EV Next’s e-mobility perspectives from here.

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About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.


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