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Electric and Hybrid Vehicles: Glossary Of Terms

Vehicle Types

  • Electric vehicle (EV) - A general term for all electric vehicles, pure and hybrid.

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEV) - Pure or 100% electric vehicles which are totally powered by a battery and charged from the mains.

  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) - These combine an electric motor with a conventional engine. The emissions are lower than a petrol or diesel car and there is the safety net of a conventional engine for longer journeys.

  • Ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) - This is regarded as a car where the official carbon dioxide emissions are less than 75g/km and therefore eligible for grants and benefits in the UK.

  • Hybrid car - These are powered by battery and either a petrol or diesel engine but cannot be plugged into the mains as they are self-charging.

  • Extended range electric vehicle (E-REV) - These are a version of plug-in hybrids. An E-REV combines a battery, an electric drive motor and a small petrol or diesel generator.

  • Mild hybrid - These are similar to a hybrid model because they have two power sources. However, in these models the small electric motor is used to allow the engine to be turned off as the car is coasting or braking. The motor can also be used to provide assistance to the engine, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

EV Charging

There are a number of different types of connectors and chargepoints. Faster chargepoints are more expensive but can provide an 80% charge in just half an hour. Slower chargepoints are cheaper and more suited to charging when you are parked for a long time - at home for example for an overnight charge.

There are also a number of different connectors depending on the model of car, some are DC and some are AC.

Type 1 - These are 307kW AC connectors and are typically found on older EVs.

Type 2 - These are 3-43kW AC connectors. The Type 2 plug is the European standard for chargepoints. Most EVs will accept a Type 2 charge cable and most home chargepoints will have this connection fitted to the box outside your house.

Combined Charging System (CCS) - This is one of the main connecter types and is used on a wide range of vehicles and are up to 350kW. It is common by European car manufacturers and available at public charging stations with a rapid DC charging capacity of 50kW. Remember though, rapid charging can only be used on vehicles with rapid-charging capability.

CHAdeMO - Again another of the main connecters - mainly on the Japanese cars. It is used for rapid charging points and offers up to 100Kw. All stations with a CCS also have CHAdeMO.

General EV Language

  • kW - A kilowatt is a measurement of the power created by an engine but it's also used to talk about how quickly you can charge up. Chargers range from 3.6kW up to the fastest 350kW.

  • kWh - This stands for a kilowatt hour and is unit for measuring how much electricity you are using. The higher the number the larger the battery and the more electricity it can store.

  • Degradation - As batteries age they do lose some of their capacity to hold power. Modern electric cars have extremely hardy batteries but you can check the condition of your battery in the car's menu, a dedicated app or when your car is being serviced.

  • ICEd - when a charger is occupied by a conventional internal combustion engine care (ICE).

  • Home charging - The cheapest way to charge your car overnight at home - usually from a dedicated wallbox charger.

  • Range anxiety - The fear of running out of charge while out driving. Planned charging and increasing numbers of public charging points are helping eliminate this worry.

  • Chargepoints - these are either slow, fast or rapid. Slow chargepoints are the cheapest and suitable for overnight charges, fast chargepoints are perfect if you are parked for a few hours and rapid are the fastest typically giving you 80% charge in around 30 minutes.

  • ZapMap - this is the leading resource to find a pubic charging station near you. You can specify which kind of connector you are looking for and the app will also let you know the payment terms of the operator - pay as you go or subscription - and whether the charger is operational.

  • Plug-in grant - this is available from the government on new EV car purchases and applies to cars which cost less than £35,000. The maximum grant is £2,500.

  • The Electric Vehicle Consumer Code (EVCC) - Gives you charge confidence by ensuring their approved installers follow a rigorous code of practice.

  • SMART charger - Schedules charging for off-peak times. Energy requirements from the UK infrastructure vary dramatically depending on the time of day. At peak times, your home energy provider often charges peak rates that are higher than other times.

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