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Electric Hybrid Jargon Buster

Feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the terminology and jargon used?

The below A-Z of some of the most frequently used jargon should help!

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Alternating Current – An electric current that reverses direction at regular intervals.


Unit of electric current.


Battery Electric Vehicle- A 100% battery-powered Electric Vehicle.


Refilling an electric car’s battery with electricity.


The location where electric vehicles can be plugged in and charged, whether at home, work or in a publicly accessible location.


An element of infrastructure that safely supplies electric energy for the recharging of electric vehicles, also known as an EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment).


A device attached to the cable from an EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) that connects to an electric vehicle allowing it to charge.


Direct Current – An electric current of constant direction.


The fastest (high powered) way to charge electric vehicles quickly with an electrical output ranging from 50kW – 120kw. This will fully charge an average electric car in 30 to 40 minutes.


Electric Vehicle - Any vehicle that uses electric motors, either in full or in part, as propulsion.


Extended-Range Electric Vehicle. Although the electric motor of a PHEV always drives the wheels, EREVs feature an auxiliary power unit, usually an internal combustion engine, that acts as a generator to recharge the battery when it runs out.


Hybrid Electric Vehicle - A car that integrates a small battery and an electric motor to enhance the efficiency of the engine. The battery’s charge is maintained by the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) engine — it cannot be charged by plugging into an electrical supply. Hybrids offer greater fuel economy than a traditional ICE, but can only travel very short distances on electric power only.


Internal Combustion Engine –The technical name for the gas-powered engine in most cars, SUVs, and trucks. It generates power by igniting an air-fuel mixture within a cylinder that forces down a piston. The number of cylinders in most modern engines varies from three all the way up to twelve, and engines can be enhanced with forced induction devices, called turbochargers and superchargers, that force more air into a cylinder to generate extra power. The byproduct of this power generation, however, are harmful emissions like hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), as well as carbon dioxide (CO2).


Kilowatt-hour - A unit of energy equivalent to the energy transferred or expended in one hour by one kilowatt of power. Electric car battery size is measured in kilowatt-hours, so think of it as the electric car's equivalent of gallons of fuel in a tank.


This is the current standard in electric vehicle batteries, offering good energy density, power, and fast charging ability. The life of a lithium-ion battery is estimated to be the same as the life of the car (eight to ten years). Of course, ‘end of life’ here does not mean a car or its batteries won’t work – after 10 years a lithium-ion battery is expected to be 80% still efficient, so they will still be usable – replacement will be a choice, not a requirement.


What does mild hybrid mean? Mild hybrid cars only use their electric motor to support the engine during acceleration and cruising. The electric motor is not strong enough to power the vehicle by itself. Energy is recovered during driving, so generally mild hybrids do not need to be plugged in. A so called plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, PHEV, would be described as such and would need plugging in.


Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle - A type of car that is configured like a traditional hybrid, but with a bigger battery pack that can be charged by plugging into an EVSE. PHEVs, as they are known, offer the chance to make short journeys on cheap, zero-tailpipe-emission electricity, but also enable long journeys.


A vehicle powered solely by electric motors using power provided by on-board batteries.


The distance you can travel on pure electric power before the battery requires a recharge.


An energy recovery system used in most electric vehicles that can help charge the battery while the car is slowing down. Typically the electric motor acts as the generator, so power can flow both ways between it and the battery. ‘Regen’ helps extend the range, while the process also helps slow the vehicle in a similar way to engine braking in an ICE powered car.


Zero Emission Vehicle – A vehicle that emits no tailpipe pollutants from the onboard source of power. Harmful pollutants to health and the environment include particulates (soot), hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone, lead, and various oxides of nitrogen.