The Electric Vehicle Jargon Buster.

Navigating the world of EVs can be confusing at first. What is an EV? What is a PHEV? And what does ICE have to do with anything?

Here's a breakdown of some key terms to get you started:

Types of Electric Vehicles:

  • Electric Vehicle (EV): A broad term for any vehicle that uses electricity, typically referring to purely electric cars.
  • Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV): Relies solely on a battery and electric motor for power. No engine! You charge the battery by plugging it in.
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV): Has both an electric motor and a petrol or diesel engine. You can plug it in to charge the battery for electric driving, but also use the engine for longer trips.

Common EV Terminology:

  • Internal Combustion Engine (ICE): The traditional petrol or diesel engine found in most cars today.
  • Kilowatt-hour (kWh): Measures battery capacity, similar to how engine mileage works for traditional cars. Higher kWh means a longer electric range.
  • Range: How far the car can travel on a single charge.
  • Range anxiety: The worry that an EV won't have enough battery power to reach your destination or that there won't be charging stations available along the way.
  • Charging: Adding electricity to the battery. There are different charging speeds: slow (at home overnight), fast (public charging stations for quicker top-ups), and rapid (very fast charging for long journeys).

Other helpful terms:

  • Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV): Any vehicle that doesn't rely solely on petrol or diesel. EVs are a type of AFV.
  • Direct Current (DC): The type of electricity used for fast charging.
  • Home charging: Plugging your EV into a charger at home to replenish the battery overnight.
  • Public charging: Public car charging stations typically have one or more charging units where you can plug in your electric vehicle (EV) to replenish its battery. They are found in various locations such as service stations, petrol stations, car parks, roadsides and cinema and other entertainment venues. The availability of chargers and charging speeds can vary depending on the location. There are generally three types of chargers you might encounter:
    • Ultra Rapid: Ultra-rapid charging takes place at 100kW and above, and can see a 20-80% recharge take as little as 15 minutes. Many EVs will not accept charges that are faster than 50 or 125kW, however.
    • Rapid: These are the fastest option, typically providing up to 80% charge in 20-30 minutes.
    • Fast: Slower than rapid chargers but still significantly faster than slow chargers, taking a few hours for a full charge.
    • Slow: These are best suited for overnight charging or topping up the battery while parked for longer periods.
  • Smart charging: Smart charging for EVs uses intelligence to optimise charging for cost, grid stability, and your driving schedule.
  • Ultra-Low Emmision Zone (ULEZ): The ULEZ is a zone in London charging drivers of polluting vehicles a daily fee to improve air quality.
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