EV Basics

There are so many acronyms that zip around in the EV world, it’s no wonder people’s heads are spinning when an EV’s (electric vehicle) owner or fanatic chats about them. We’re going to start by giving you some general terms that have developed over the years. Fasten your safety belts everyone, it’s gonna be a zippy ride!

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
A battery electric vehicle (BEV) is a type of electric vehicle (EV) that uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs. BEVs use electric motors and motor controllers instead of internal combustion engines (ICEs) for propulsion.

Electric Vehicle (EV)
An electric vehicle (EV), also referred to as an electric drive vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. Three main types of electric vehicles exist, those that are directly powered from an external power station, those that are powered by stored electricity originally from an external power source, and those that are powered by an on-board electrical generator, such as an internal combustion engine (a hybrid electric vehicle) or a hydrogen fuel cell. Electric vehicles include electric cars, electric trains, electric lorries, electric aeroplanes,electric boats, electric motorcycles and scooters and electric spacecraft. Proposals exist for electric tanks, diesel submarines operating on battery power are, for the duration of the battery run, electric submarines, and some of the lighter UAVs are electrically-powered.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) is an element in an infrastructure that supplies electric energy for the recharging of plug-in electric vehicles, including all-electric cars, neighborhood electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. As of June 2012, the United States has almost 8,000 public charging stations, over a quarter of which are in the Blink Network; and Norway, the world’s leader in electric car ownership per capita, has 3,239 free public charging points. As of December 2011, Japan had 800 public quick-charge stations, and China only 168 public charging stations.

Ford Focus Electric (FFE)
The Ford Focus Electric is a 5-door hatchback electric car produced by Ford Motor Company. The Focus Electric is Ford’s first full production, all-electric passenger vehicle, and production began in December 2011. The Focus Electric shares the glider of a third generation Ford Focus. Its electric powertrain uses a 23kWh, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack, which delivers a range of 76 mi (122 km) according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. The agency rated the Focus Electric combined fuel economy at 105 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (2.2 L/100 km), and ranks the Focus Electric as the most fuel-efficient car sold in the United States in the compact class. The Focus Electric was awarded the 2011 Green Car Vision Award at the 2011 Washington Auto Show.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)
hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is a type of hybrid/electric vehicle which combines a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) propulsion system with an electric propulsion system. The presence of the electric powertrain is intended to achieve either better fuel economy than a conventional vehicle, or better performance. There are a variety of HEV types, and the degree to which they function as EVs varies as well. The most common form of HEV is the hybrid electric car, although hybrid electric trucks (pickups and tractors) and buses also exist.

Internal Combustion Engine (HEV)
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel (normally a fossil fuel) occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the working fluid flow circuit. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high-pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine. This force is applied typically to pistons, turbine blades, or a nozzle. This force moves the component over a distance, transforming chemical energy into useful mechanical energy.

SAE J1772 is a North American standard for electrical connectors for electric vehicles maintained by the Society of Automotive Engineers and has the formal title “SAE Surface Vehicle Recommended Practice J1772, SAE Electric Vehicle Conductive Charge Coupler”. It covers the general physical, electrical, communication protocol, and performance requirements for the electric vehicle conductive charge system and coupler. The intent is to define a common electric vehicle conductive charging system architecture including operational requirements and the functional and dimensional requirements for the vehicle inlet and mating connector.

Level 1 Charging (L1)
Level 1 Charging provides AC energy to the vehicle’s on-board charger; from the most common U.S. grounded household receptacle, commonly referred to as a 120 volt outlet. Level 1 charging stations are few and far between in the United States. Most people refer to Level 1 charging as plugging into a standard 120 volt outlet with a connivence EVSE charging cord. Level 1 charging will provide a full range in around 12 to 14 hours depending on the vehicle.

Level 2 Charging (L2)
Level 2 Charging provides AC energy to the vehicle’s on-board charger; 208 – 240 volt, single phase. The maximum current specified is 32 amps (continuous) with a branch circuit breaker rated at 40 amps. Maximum continuous input power is specified as 7.68 kW (= 240V x 32A*). Level 2 charging stations are most common in the United States and depending on the car can provide a full range in just four hours.

Level 3 Charging (L3 / See also DC Charging)
Level 3 Charging provides DC energy from an off-board charger; there is no minimum energy requirement but the maximum current specified is 400 amps and 240 kW continuous power supplied. Level 3 DC Fast charging stations can provide around 80% capacity in approximately 20-30 minutes of charge time.

Solar Power + Electric Vehicles (PV/EV)
The term PV/EV (PEV) refers to electric vehicles that are charged using photovoltaics, which is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect.

Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV)
plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) is any motor vehicle that can be recharged from any external source of electricity, such as wall sockets, and the electricity stored in the rechargeable battery packs drives or contributes to drive the wheels. PEV is a subcategory of electric vehicles that includes all-electric or battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles, (PHEVs), and electric vehicle conversions of hybrid electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.

Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV)
partial zero emissions vehicle is a vehicle that has zero evaporative emissions from its fuel system and meets SULEV tailpipe-emission standards.

Range Anxiety
Range Axiety refers to the common feeling an EV driver experiences that the vehicle will not have enough battery range to make it to the next destination, leaving the driver stranded without a way to charge up. The term range anxiety was first reported in the press on September 1, 1997 in the San Diego Business Journal by Richard Acello referring to worries of GM EV1 electric car drivers.

Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV)
zero-emissions vehicle, or ZEV, is a vehicle that emits no tailpipe pollutants from the onboard source of power. Harmful pollutants to the health and the environment include particulates (soot), hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone, lead, and various oxides of nitrogen. Although not considered emission pollutants by the original California Air Resources Board (CARB) or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) definitions, the most recent common use of the term also includes volatile organic compounds, several air toxics, and global pollutants such as carbon dioxide and othergreenhouse gases. Examples of zero emission vehicles include muscle-powered vehicles such as bicycles; battery electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen. Hydrogen-powered vehicles are not strictly zero-emissions, as they do emit water or water vapor, although they are still usually included in this category.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L |M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z