A Guide to EV Terminology

A Guide to EV Terminology

A Guide to EV Terminology

A Guide to EV Terminology

With a new industry and new technology comes a whole host of new terminology and jargon. This is exemplified in the EV world and to make matters even more confusing, it turns out EV people love an acronym. We’re here to help.

Whether you want to learn some EV lingo to chime in on twitter debates or you’re trying to buy an electric car but would like to understand the description better, figure out what on earth it is and does, then this is your guide.

Pro-Tip: If you’re looking for a particular term, just use your control F function. Reading this guide from top to bottom could prove to be like reading… well, an EV dictionary.

Vehicle Types

EV – Electric Vehicle A generic term that is often used to encompass all vehicles that either solely or partly use electric as a fuel source. However, it is most commonly used to reference pure electric cars, such as BEV’s.
BEV – Battery Electric Vehicle A BEV is a vehicle that runs entirely on electric, powered by a battery. There is no combustion engine or fuel tank to fall back on. 100% electric, these vehicles will need to be charged using a dedicated charge point using the mains electricity supply.

PHEV – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle A PHEV is a vehicle that combines both a traditional combustion engine and a battery. To recharge the battery, you will need to use a dedicated charge point – hence the ‘plug-in’ part of its name. A PHEV is more environmentally friendly, mainly if you drive short distances regularly. On average these vehicles will go about 30 miles on the electric battery, after this point the petrol engine will kick in.

HEV – Hybrid Electric Vehicle An HEV is a hybrid that is fuelled entirely by fossil fuels. These vehicles feature a battery that aids efficiency and range. Unlike a PHEV it never runs entirely on its battery. As you may have already guessed from the name, you don’t plug-in either; instead, the battery is recharged through regenerative braking.

FCV – Fuel Cell Vehicle An FCV is a vehicle that uses fuel cells, which are devices that convert chemical energy into electrical energy. In this case, hydrogen is the primary fuel source.

AFV – Alternative Fuel Vehicle Alternative fuel vehicle is a generic term relating to all vehicles that leverage a different type of energy source from traditional petroleum or diesel.

E-REV – Extended Range Electric Vehicle An E-REV is essentially a PHEV, the difference, however, is that they feature an electric drivetrain, with the engine acting as a generator.

PiV – Plug-in Vehicle A PiV is a generic term for all vehicles that requiring plugging-in to charge, including BEV’s and PHEV’s.

ULEV – Ultra Low Emission Vehicle To be considered an ultra-low emission vehicle, it must not produce more than 75g of carbon dioxide emissions for every kilometre driven. The UK government requires vehicles to meet these standards to be eligible for OLEV grants and benefits.

ICE – Internal Combustion Engine ICE refers to the engine, rather than the car type itself. An internal combustion engine is the traditional form of the motor that has been powering our vehicles for over 100 years. Powered by fossil fuels (petrol or diesel). It is these types of vehicles the UK government is working towards phasing out, due to high polluting levels.

Charging Terminology

ELevel 1 aka Trickle ChargeThis is the slowest form of charging. Typically using a 3-pin plug, charging with less than 2kW, this can be time-intensive and occurs at home, often overnight.

Level 2 aka Slow Charge Typically generated using a 3kW+ dedicated home charging device. Ideal for full overnight charging for BEV’s and smaller top-ups charges for hybrids. Better safety features and faster charging times than a 3-pin.

Level 3 aka Fast Charge Fast charging is typically achieved by using a 7kW dedicated charging point, either at home, work or public. This is an excellent option for those with larger battery sizes, particularly BEV owners, boasting faster charging times and enabling owners to make better use of off-peak energy tariffs. Furthermore, some public and en-route chargers offer 22kW, although the rate at which your EV will charge is dependent on its onboard capabilities. For more info on charging times check out our full guide here.

DC Rapid Charging

Rapid charging is the latest developments in EV charge points. These are typically found at service stations, ranging from 45kW to 150kW and are great for en-route charging, providing a roughly 100-mile range for 30-minute charge.

Smart Charging This term refers to charge point functionalities, such as load balancing, Wi-Fi connectivity and supply management. For example, a smart charge point will alter the charging load depending on the demand of the household and grid supply. In 2019, OLEV included the requirement of smart charge functionalities as part of its approval process. As more people switch to EV’s, the management of grid supply will need to be aided by intelligent devices.

Top-Up Charging Top-up charging refers to the process by which EV owner’s plug-in at convenient locations. Making use of the time when your vehicle is not in use. For example, plugging-in while doing the weekly shop. You may not necessarily require the mileage at the time, but it has become common practice to top-up at times of convenience.

Destination Charging This relates to top-up charging, whereby EV owners use available charge points when they have reached their destination (a shopping centre or hotel, for example).

En-Route Charging Charging that is undertaken when making a journey. En-route charging typically occurs when making longer trips that require more mileage than the EV’s full capacity. Often making use of rapid chargers at service stations.

ICE’d ICE’ing refers to the situation when a charging bay is occupied by a traditional combustion engine vehicle, preventing EV owners from using the device.

Energy Terminology

Single-phase Power The majority of UK homes and many businesses operate on a single-phase power supply. A single-phase supply can power a dedicated EV charge point up to 7kW. This explains why it is rare and costly to implement a 22kW charge point at home.

Three-phase Power Commercial and industrial sites will usually have a three-phase power supply installed, enabling 22kW AC charging and provides the foundations for DC rapid charger installation.

AC – Alternating Current This is the form of electricity widely used across all households and businesses. Using AC as a power source, charge points can provide up to 22kW.

DC – Direct Current This is the type of current that is used by rapid chargers.

V2G – Vehicle 2 Grid Vehicle 2 Grid is a future concept that sees EV’s operating as a power bank. Instead of drawing from the grid, the electricity stored in your EV battery can be used to power a building (your home for example) or be exported back to the network during times of high demand.

kWh – Kilowatt Hour A kilowatt-hour is a measurement of how much energy is in use, whereas a kW is a measure of power. For example, a 2kW device will use 1 kWh in 30 minutes. EV batteries are often measured in kilowatt-hours.

Connector Types

Type 1 This five-pin plug is commonly used by Asian and US manufacturers, such as Nissan, Mitsubishi and GM. However, it is worth noting the prominence of this connector is slowly fading with many manufacturers adopting Type 2.

Type 2 A seven-pin plug predominately used by European manufacturers such as Renault and BMW. These connector types can carry a three-phase power supply and lock into the charging socket, making them more favourable with the developments of EVs.

CSS – Combined Charging System A CSS connector is used for rapid charging devices by combing the use of 3 pins from the AC Type 2 connector along with 2 DC pins. Standardised by the EU, this connection can be found on most Type 2 BEV’s.

CHAdeMO Another rapid charger connector type, however, is often less powerful than a CSS connection. The CHAdeMO is a round four-pin plug that is usually compatible with Asian manufacturers such as Mitsubishi.

Range Terminology

Type 1 Range Anxiety Range anxiety refers to the fear of running out of power while driving. Advances in battery capacity alongside a growing public charging network have alleviated this fear for many EV owners. Range anxiety is often the most cited reason for not moving to electric, despite the majority of driving journeys undertaken in the UK averaging below 20 miles.

RPH – Range Per Hour The term RPH refers to the amount of range (miles) added per hour of charging.

NEDC – New European Driving Cycle Despite its name this form of range testing was last updated in 1997 and is prone to tampering, often providing the most generous range estimates.

WLTP – Worldwide Light vehicles Test Procedure WLTP is what you may see many manufacturers quoting when referenced range estimates. This test has superseded the NEDC, providing a more robust examination of emissions and efficiency. Although the test results are often less optimistic than the NEDC, they are arguably still inflated in comparison to the real

EPA – Environmental Protection Agency The environmental protection agency is based in the US and has established its own way to test electric vehicle range, which is arguably more robust than both the NEDC and WLTP. The results from the EPA test are considered more reliable and reflect a more realistic range estimate.

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