An electric vehicle (EV) is powered by electricity which is generated either on or off the vehicle.

A plug-in electric vehicle takes energy from the National Grid, often overnight when demand for energy (and therefore prices) are lowest.

An extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) such as the Chevrolet Volt/Vauxhall-Opel Ampera carries an internal combustion engine to act as an on-board generator, recharging the vehicle's batteries if they are exhausted. These are sometimes known as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

It is becoming increasingly common to use the term electric vehicle for all vehicles which can be driven by electricity, including hybrid petrol-electric vehicles. But it makes no more sense to call a petrol-electric hybrid an 'electric vehicle' than it does to call it a 'petrol vehicle'.