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Glossary of terms

The world of electric cars is filled with a new language for driving so here are some of the most common terms you will hear.



Vehicle types


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

Battery electric vehicles (BEV) –  Pure 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.


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 help the petrol or diesel engine perform more economically rather than power the car, so they don’t ever run with zero 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. Most new plug-in vehicles now have this connector after the European Commission ruled in 2014 that all charging stations must feature a Type 2 connector. Most home chargers also have this connector.


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.

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 public 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.