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A to Z of Electric Vehicle terminology

We have probably all heard a word or phrase relating to EVs or an area of Electric Vehicle ownership but not been sure exactly what it means. We have put together a list of the most common EV terms and explained what they mean.

ACAlternating Current
AFVAlternative Fuel Vehicle
AmpA measurement of an electrical current
BarA measurement of pressure. One Bar is roughly equal to the air pressure at sea level. Air pressure is often also measured in PSI (pounds per square inch).
BatteryA storage device containing electrochemical cells which converts chemical energy to electrical evergy
BEVA Battery Electric Vehicle. Usually refers to a vehicle propelled by 100% electrical energy.
BHPThe power of an engine is often measured in Brake Horse Power. This is the notional power generated before any effect from the drivetrain is taken into account.
BMSThe Battery Management System. An internal component of an electric vehicle, similar to the ECU, but with the sole purpose of managing and maintaining the battery system.
CapacitorA capacitor stores energy in an electrical circuit.
CCIDA Charge Circuit Interrupting Device is a safety device which can disable power to an EV charging cable in the event of a fault.
CCSCombined Charging System is type of Charging plug adopted as the European DC charging standard.
CHAdeMOThe Japanese DC rapid charging plug standard.
Charge PointA charging point for electric vehicles
Charge TimeThe time taken to recharge the battery bank on an Electric Vehicle. Usually refers to the 0% to 100% time when referring to AC charging and 10% to 80% for Rapid DC charging.
ChargingThe process of replenishing the electric stored in a battery
CNGCompressed Natural Gas – can be used as an alternative fuel source for vehicles, usually large plant or industrial machinery
CO2Carbon Dioxide is a colourless and odourless gas, occurs naturally in the air but can affect climate. The reduction of CO2 is one of the main areas to reduce climate change.
CurrentThe flow of an electrical charge through a circuit
Cycle LifeThis refers the number of charges a battery can undertake before a reduction in potential capacity is affected.
DCDirect Current
DischargeThe opposite of battery charging.
E-RevSee Range Extender
Electric MotorThe engine of an electric vehicle is powered by the electric stored in the battery and provides power to the drivetrain.
Electro-magnetAn electrically induced magnetic field is created in a coil of wire as current passes through it.
ELVElectric Light Vehicle weighing less than 250kg, often a quad bike or motorcycle.
eLCVElectric Light Commercial Vehicle is a small commercial vehicle or van.
Fast ChargeRefers to any chargepoint able to deliver a higher rate of charge than a standard domestic plug. Usually 3.5kW, 7kW or 22kW.
FCV or FCEVA fuel Cell Electric Vehicle uses a Fuel Cell (see below) to power the motor rather than a battery.
Fuel CellA device which reacts hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity and water.
FlywheelA flywheel is a heavy rotating device which spins. Often used to smooth the power output from a motor or engine.
HydrogenAn abundant element in the universe it can be manipulated to react with oxygen and generate electrical power.
HCUHome Charging Unit
HEVHybrid Electric Vehicle (see below)
HybridA vehicle which combines an electric battery and motor with an internal combustion engine (petrol or diesel) Power to the drivetrain can come from either source with some Hybrids combining the two.
ICEInternal Combustion Engine (petrol or diesel) Burns fuel to force the pistons to turn the crankshaft and provide rotational power to the drivetrain.
ICEDA slang term referring to an ICE vehicle parking in a spot reserved for Electric Charging therefore blocking access to the chargepoint.
KERSKinetic Energy Recovery System.
kWA Kilo Watt equal to 1,000 watts
kWhRefers to the battery capacity of an electric vehicle. Measured as ower in kW over time (hours) 
Lead-AcidA type of battery previously used in vehicles
Li-FeLithium-ion, a type of battery
Li-FeLithium-Iron, a type of battery
Li-SLithium Sulphur, a type of battery
LiCoO2Lithium Cobalt Oxide, a type of battery
LiFePO4Lithium Iron Phosphate, a type of battery
LiPoLithium Polymer, a type of battery
Memory EffectA term used for older batteries where the capacity was reduced to the most frequently used level rather than the total potential capacity
MennekesThe name given to the standard 7-pin charging plug and socket, named after the German company of the same name
Mild-HybridDiffers to a full hybrid in that it uses a much smaller battery system which only briefly provides power to the drivetrain.
MPGMiles Per Gallon, the term used to quantify the efficiency of an ICE vehicle in terms of miles driven per gallon of fuel.
National GridThe UK national grid is the power distribution network which takes electrical energy from the point of generation to the point of use.
NiCdNickel Cadmium, a type of battery
NiMHNickel Metal Hydride, a type of battery
NmThe standard term for measuring torque: Newton Metres
NOxNitrogen Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide
Peak OilThe term used to describe the maximum amount of oil produced in a year. This was originally stated as 2020, after this date international oil production will decline year on year.
PHEVPlugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle combines a plugin battery and motor system with an ICE.
Photovoltaic Cells (PV)These are the components of a solar panel which convert sunlight to electricity.
PowerThe measurement of the output of a motor. Often measured in PS (the metric equivalent of BHP) or HP (horsepower).
RangeThe total distance a vehicle can travel determined by the electricity stored in the battery
Range AnxietyThe Term used to describe the fear that an EV does not have the required range for a particular journey.
Range ExtenderA vehicle where the drivetrain is powered by electricity but has an onboard generator to replenish the battery.
The next level of charging after Fast Charging. Generally refers to DC charging above 40kWh
Regenerative BrakingA method of slowing a vehicle down by limiting the rotation of the motor rather than applying braking force to the wheels. This can momentarily provide power generation to the battery.
Renewable EnergyA term used to describe power generated by non-destructive forces such as wind, solar, waves and geo-thermal.
RFIDA Radio Frequency Identification Card can be used to unlock a chargepoint and provide charging facilities to an EV. Does not require the use of apps or other contactless payments
Single-Phase powerThe UK standard of electrical system for domestic properties. Limited to 32 amps and 240v, enough to power a 7kW chargepoint
Three-Phase powerThe term used for electrical power networks in commercial properties where a higher level of power consumption is expected. Can be used to power an AC chargepoint up to 43kW
TorqueThe measurement for turning force of an object such as a motor
Type 1A five-pin plug/socket for charging EVs, most often found in the USA and Japan
Type 2A seven-pin plug/socket most often found in UK and Europe, see also Mennekes
ULEVUltra Low Emission Vehicle
V2G/V2HVehicle to Grid or Vehicle to Home is the term used for powering a domestic property with the electrical power from an electric vehicle or returning the stored electricity to the national grid.
ZEVZero Emission Vehicle

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