Learning about a new technology can be difficult. There are a lot of new terms to learn and understand. Let’s go through a few of the more common EV terms.
First, there are a number of terms that you will hear that are related to electricity and electrical systems. Some are more important to know than others, but it doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with all of these.
- AC, Alternating Current- This is the kind of electrical power that comes from most power plants. It alternates direction in the wires.
- DC, Direct Current- This is the type of electricity that comes from batteries or solar panels. It flows directly from a positive side to a negative side (or reverse).
- Amp, Amperage- A unit of measuring the flow of electricity.
- Volt, Voltage- A unit of measuring electrical force.
- Watt, Wattage- A unit of electrical power. One watt is equal to one volt multiplied by one amp.
- kW, Kilowatt- 1,000 watts
- kWh, Kilowatt Hour- A unit of electrical storage or usage equivalent to the power consumption of one thousand watts for one hour.
Here are terms that are used specifically in relation to EVs.
- EV/BEV- Battery Electric Vehicle: a vehicle that is powered by a rechargeable battery.
- Hybrid or PHEV- Partial Hybrid Electric Vehicle: A vehicle that is powered by a battery and a gas or diesel engine.
- ICE, Internal Combustion Engine- The engine used in gas or diesel burning vehicles. The term is used frequently in the EV community to describe our vehicle counterparts.
- ICED- When an EV charging station is blocked by a non-electric (ICE) vehicle.
- Charging Station- A device used to supply electrical energy to an electric vehicle, also known as EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment).
- Charging Connector- The piece attached to the end of a charging cable that connects to the EV.
- SAE J1772 (or just J1772)- The most common type of charging connector. This is considered an EV standard for slower charging speeds.
- "Level 1 Charging" (Slow)- Slowest charging speeds experienced while plugging into a traditional 110/120v AC outlet. This, traditionally, will use a battery charger built into the EV.
- "Level 2 Charging" (Faster)- Uses 220/240v AC outlet similar to what is used by an electric clothes dryer or electric stove. Additionally, most public EV charging stations available will be Level 2 with a J-1772 plug. Typical charging times will be only a few hours.
- "Level 3 Charging" (Fastest)- More accurately known as DC Fast Charging (DCFC), they use up to 350kW of power to rapidly charge EVs by bypassing the onboard charger and supplying electricity directly to the battery. Typically, they will use voltages of upwards of 400 volts DC. Typical charging times will be 30min or less. There are commonly three types of charging connectors, CCS Type 1 (or Type 2 in Europe), CHAdeMO, and Tesla’s proprietary connector.
- CCS (Combined Charging System)- A connector used for DCFC that is most commonly found on vehicles manufactured in North America and Europe.
- CHAdeMO- A connector used for DCFC that is most commonly found on vehicles manufactured in Asia.
- NACS (North America Charging Standard)- Originally designed and used by Tesla. Starting in 2024/2025 opening up to other manufacturers. The NACS is the charging connector design that will be widely adopted in, you guessed it, North America.
- Range Anxiety- A term used to describe the fear of running out of battery power while driving an EV. After becoming familiar with owning and driving an EV for a short time, many people find that "range anxiety" becomes "range awareness" and they no longer have a fear of running out of energy.
Well there you have it. We hope this list helps acclimate you to the terms of the EV world. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you feel like there should be something added to this list!