The Ultimate Guide to Electric Vehicle Terminology

As we move toward the electric vehicle revolution, we are starting to hear more technical terms being passed around that a lot of people have not heard or seen before.

To make things a little simpler, we have pulled together a list of common electric car terminology to help you identify the different types of electric vehicles, charging currents and the many forms of EV charging points.

Types of EVs (Electric Vehicles)

An ‘EV’ is simply an acronym for ‘electric vehicle’. However, there are a few variants of electric vehicles and their accompanying terminology to get to grips with.

BEV (battery electric vehicle): A battery electric vehicle is powered solely powered by an all-electric powertrain*.

* A powertrain encompasses the main components that create power and drive the car forward.

Hybrid electric vehicle: A hybrid electric vehicle combines an electric motor and an internal combustion engine (sometimes referred to as ICE) that charges the battery as well as powering the car when needed.

PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle): A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle are very similar to a regular hybrid, however the electric system in the vehicle can be charged via a mains connection.

ICE (internal combustion engine): A vehicle with a traditional internal combustion engine are powered by petrol, diesel, biofuels or even natural gases. ICEs are significantly more efficient and have lower emissions than these from decades ago. However, their fundamental purpose, i.e. burning fuel to create power, remains the same.

Types of Current

Electric vehicle charging points operate with two main types of currents:

AC (alternating current): Alternating current allows the energy to flow back and forth in an electrical system. This means the AC motor in an electric vehicle can recharge its own battery as well as powering the vehicle.

DC (direct current): Direct current runs directly into the vehicle in one direction to power the vehicle forward.

Types of Electric Vehicle Charging Points & Charging Terminology

There are a few terms that people use when talking about different types of EV charging points, such as:

Fast charger: A fast charging car charger usually has kilowatts of between 7 and 24. Depending on the manufacturer and connection you have, these charge points will generally charge your vehicle in between 3-7 hours. Fast chargers are ideal for domestic, workplace and destination charging.

Rapid charger: An EV rapid charger usually starts with a kilowatt of 50 and normally will reach 150. They can charge up to 80% of the vehicle’s battery within one hour and are usually found at services stations for quick on the go use.

Smart charger: A smart electric car charger refers to a charging system where electric vehicles, charging stations and charging operators share data connections. Through smart charging, the charging stations may monitor, manage, and restrict the use of charging devices to optimize energy consumption.

kW: A kilowatt, is a measure of one thousand watts of electrical power.

Range: This is how far your vehicle can go on its current charge (a fully charged battery). The range will only be affected by performance and driving conditions.

If you have any further queries about electric vehicle terminology or are interested in our EV charging services, get in touch with our friendly team at Elmtronics. Contact us on 0191 417 3719 or send an email to sales@elmtronics.co.uk.


About the Author:

A marketing professional with over 13 years’ experience in various business sectors including retail, financial services, building industry and public services.Passionate about expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure.