EV Dictionary | #1 Jargon Buster
At myenergi we know that the world of electric vehicles is growing rapidly.
So, to help bring you up to speed with all the latest terminology, we have done the hard work for you creating an EV dictionary as a go-to guide containing all of our need-to-know terms and phrases, making them easy for everyone to understand.
You can also check out our renewable energy jargon buster for all things renewable.
Alternating Current (AC) – Is an alternating sine wave, which is an electric current that frequently changes direction and as a result, the voltage level also changes with the current. UK homes have AC current running through the mains because AC can travel longer distances over the grid system.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) – This is a term used to describe any car that is not fuelled by petrol or diesel e.g. hydrogen or electricity.
BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) – Sometimes referred to as an All-Electric Vehicle (AEV) runs solely on a battery.
Converters – Converters are devices which convert higher voltage AC currents to a lower voltage DC currents, usually for power storage purposes whereby batteries require the current in 12v DC.
Current – This is the flow of electricity through a wire. There are currently two types of electric current AC and DC.
Current Transformer (CT Clamp) – This device usually clamps around the main grid feed below the consumer unit, to measure import/export data from and to the grid. However, it can be used to measure any part of a mains circuit or PV system such as battery storage or solar panels. It is essentially a measuring tool, which is constantly measuring the flow of current in kW’s. This data then allows users to see real-time energy usage and the flow of current to a particular device in the home, through software such as the myenergi app.
Direct Current (DC) – An electric current which is one-directional meaning the voltage level is constantly the same. Batteries always require current in the form of DC, which is why convertors and inverters make up part of a PV and battery storage setup to convert mains AC and back again.
Eco charging mode – This is one of three charge modes for our zappi smart EV charger. This mode is a mixture of both green energy and energy imported from the grid. Eco mode is designed to minimise the use of grid power and can revert to charging using solely green energy. The charging power is continuously adjusted in response to changes in self generation or power being used elsewhere in the home. For example; EV’s require a minimum charge rate of 1.4kW, if surplus energy drops below 1.4kW, Eco mode will trickle feed energy from the grid to at least charge the EV at 1.4kW. When the property’s surplus energy is higher 1.4kW, Eco mode will only use the green energy generated.
Eco+ charging mode – Another charging mode on the zappi. This mode ultimately tells zappi to charge using only the surplus self-generated green energy from your solar PV or wind systems. Eco-plus mode means the charge power is continuously adjusted in response to changes in self generation or power consumption elsewhere in the home. Your EV charging will pause when your self- generation drops below 1.4kW, continuing only when more than 1.4kW or more energy is being generated.
Electric Vehicle (EV) – An EV stands for Electric Vehicle. An electric vehicle is a vehicle that runs solely on electricity which is stored in lithium-ion batteries. EV’s are regularly charged up using a charger such as the zappi. You could say an EV is a laptop on wheels!
Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) – The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme governed by OZEV (Office for Zero Emission Vehicles) provides grant funding of up to £350 at residential properties across the UK. Each household can claim for a maximum of two chargers, equalling £700 in total funding. (This grant is due to end on 31st March 2022)
Fast Charging – A fast charge is the next step up from slow charging, not to be confused with Rapid charging. Fast chargers typically have an output of either 7kW or 22kW, with 7kW being the most common charger for the home and workplace. Note, it is only possible to charge at 22kWh if your building has a three-phase supply. Therefore, most residential chargers tend to be 7kWh.
Fast charge mode – The third zappi charge mode. In this mode, the vehicle will be charged at maximum power. This power can come from a renewable energy source, or simply straight from the grid. If you don’t have solar panels or wind generation, zappi will charge just like any ordinary Mode 3, plug-and-go charge point.
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) – These vehicles are powered by hydrogen. They use a system that is like an electric vehicle, however energy is stored as hydrogen and is converted to electricity by the fuel cell. FCEV’s do not produce emissions; they emit warm air and water only. They tend to be less common and extremely expensive when compared to electric vehicles, and therefore not readily available to the mass market.
Full Hybrid (also known as Self-Charging Hybrid) – Regarded as a low emission vehicle opposed to a zero emission vehicle, the car runs solely on either it’s battery (usually smaller than EV’s) or ICE, though most commonly they can run simultaneously together, constantly switching dependent on speed. Full hybrid vehicles will be banned from 2035 as they still emit carbon into the atmosphere in order to self-charge the battery and therefore not regarded as good for the environment.
Green Energy – Green energy is defined as power generated from natural sources, such as wind, water, and sunlight.
Granny Charger – Is the slowest and eldest form of electric vehicle charger, hence the name. Granny charging simply takes power from a typical 13amp 3 pin socket in the home and charges at the rate of 2.3kW. Charging through a mains socket is 3 x slower than using a fast charger. Many EV’s provide a granny charger as a means of emergency charging, much like an emergency wheel.
Grid Power – This is a term used to describe electricity pulled from the grid i.e. pylons. The grid is simply an interconnected network that delivers electricity from producers to consumers, such as UK’s National Grid.
Hybrid vehicle – Hybrid’ is the term used to describe any car which has both a battery and an internal combustion engine (ICE). There are three main types of hybrids: Full Hybrid, Mild Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid.
Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) – This is an engine which generates power using fossil fuels such as petrol or diesel.
Inverters – Invert lower voltage 12v DC currents stored in batteries, to a higher voltage 110 – 240v AC current so that the power can be released back onto an AC grid system and utilised.
kW – Electricity is often measured in watts. A kilowatt is simply 1,000 watts and is a measurement of electricity, particularly in relation to the power drawn by an electric appliance, or in this case EV. If you think of a kW in terms of the size of a petrol/diesel fuel tank, the bigger the tank the more fuel the car can take. In relative terms, the higher the kW of a battery, the more electricity it can store.
kWh – Stands for a kilowatt-hour and refers to the energy used. If you think of this in terms of food, we eat calories to give us energy, and the energy used is how many calories burned which can also be quantified as energy. So, an electric vehicle battery is charged using kW and the amount of energy stored in the battery can be referred to as kWh’s.
Load balancing – Also commonly referred to as ‘Dynamic Load Balancing’ this is a software function that monitors the properties electricity usage and adjusts the amount of electricity going to your devices this protects the properties main fuse from being overloaded by your myenergi devices and gives priority to the property.
Microgeneration – is the energy generated through solar or renewable energy sources on a smaller scale, such as a typical residential property, with a solar array on the roof.
Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) – This type of EV cannot run solely on battery power. The battery is there to support the petrol or diesel engine allowing the car to run more eco-friendly.
Mode 3 charger – A mode-three EV charger is permanently charged through a power supply that is directly connected to grid power.
Net-zero carbon – means free from carbon emissions, often known as being carbon neutral. Net-zero mean that there is no carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
OLEV –The Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) traditionally supporting hybrid vehicles, which still emit carbon into the atmosphere though in lesser quantities than none hybrid fossil fuel powered vehicles. This is now known as OZEV.
OZEV – The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), formerly known as The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) are a team in the UK Government which support the movement towards zero emission vehicles.
PEN-fault technology – PEN stands for Protective, Earth and Neutral conductor. PEN-fault technology identifies when there is a problem with the PEN conductor and prevents an electric shock. This is traditionally achieved by installing an additional earth rod, however some EV charge points such as the zappi have built in PEN-fault technology eliminating the need to install additional earth rods.
Plug-in Electric Car Grant -A government grant which enables consumers to get up to £2500 off the price of brand new low-emission car, £1500 for bikes, £3000-£6000 for vans, £7500 for taxis and £16,000 for trucks. You can read more about the grant here.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) – this type of EV allows you to charge your battery via a chargepoint, the ICE or regenerative breaking. Usually, this EV will run from the battery until the charge is low, the car will then automatically switch to using fuel from the ICE.
Public charge points – Most EV drivers tend to opt for a home chargepoint for most of their charging, however for those who don’t have off road parking, or who need to top up their charge on a long-distance journey, there are numerous networks of public charge point all around the UK. There are typically two types of public charge point: Fast and Rapid. Rapid chargers are often referred to as DC chargers and these are the quickest to charge, usually around 30-40 minutes for a full charge. ZapMap is the UK’s leading app and digital platform for locating UK public charge points.
Range-extended Electric Vehicle (REEV) – A REEV, or Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV) is like a Plug-in hybrid. However, rather than the car automatically switching to fuel from the ICE when the battery gets low, with a REEV, once the battery reaches a certain level, a smaller ICE powers a generator that supplies the electric motor further extending the vehicles range.
Rapid charging – A rapid charge is typically anywhere between 50kW and 350kW output, compared with Fast which are between 7kWh – 22kWh. Rapid chargers are the fastest way to charge your EV, especially when on the move. These are usually found at service stations and charge parks along motorways in the UK. To use a rapid charger, it requires a card payment either on the machine itself or via the relevant app, and costs vary dependent on the network and location. Tesla offer ultra-rapid charging which is usually between 150-350kW of charge.
Regenerative breaking – On normal cars, braking wastes energy. When you brake friction is created when the brake pads come into contact with the brake discs producing kinetic energy. Regenerative breaking uses the energy generated from breaking and turns it into electricity to recharge your car’s battery.
Single Phase charger – When it comes to electricity, phase refers to the power supply. A single-phase charger can charge your EV at a maximum of 7.4kW.
Slow Charging – A slow charge typically has an output between 2.3kW and 3.5kW. 3.5kW chargers are becoming less common due to the up take in 7kWh fast chargers. Another form of slow charging is directly through a typical 13amp 3pin mains socket, often known as granny charging.
Smart charging – For an EV charger to be ‘smart’ it must be connected to the internet. This is to ensure the charger can accept firmware updates in order to keep it future proof and also allows the unit to monitor time-of-use data, as well as integrate with other technologies and services.
Solar power – Solar power is energy from the sun. It can be harnessed in several ways, including through photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power systems (CSP). These systems work by absorbing the energy from the sun that shines on the panels, which creates electricity.
Tethered – A tethered EV charger simply means that the cable comes attached to the chargepoint. This is a convenient option for home charging if you have only one EV to charge.
Three Phase Charger – A Three-phase charger can charge your EV at a maximum of 22kW (vehicle permitting). They are more common on workplace and commercial buildings, though modern homes with 3 phase supplies can benefit from faster charge rates.
Type 1 connector – Type 1 chargers have been phased out in favour of the superseding Type 2 connection type. A Type 1 connector has a total of five pins alongside a clip to lock the charge cable in place whilst charging. Only a handful of very early EV’s have the Type 1 connection type and almost all modern EV’s now have Type 2.
Type 2 connector – All modern EV’s come with a Type2 connector and is the current industry standard for an EV chargepoint connector. Unlike the Type 1 connector, the Type 2 connector has a total of seven pins.
Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) – This is a term used to describe all vehicles that emit extremely low carbon-emissions.
Untethered – Opposite to a tethered, an untethered EV charger means the charger does not have a cable hardwired to the charge point, the charger only has a socket outlet. This offers more flexibility in terms of custom cable lengths and to accommodate both Type 1 and Type 2 EV’s. Most public charge points are untethered.
Vehicle to Grid (V2G) – Vehicle to Grid is the process of sending your excess power, from your vehicle, back to the grid during peak times. So, if you have left over battery in your car when you get home from work in the evening, you can plug your car in and send this energy back to the grid to help support the demand on the grid during this time. By doing so, this helps to maximise the use of renewable energy.
Vehicle to Home (V2H) – Vehicle to home allows you to utilise your car’s battery like that of a home battery storage system, allowing two-way charging. This means, similar to V2G, if you had excess power left in your battery when you get home from work you can plug your car in and divert this energy elsewhere – the only difference being rather than sending it back to the grid, V2H allows you to divert this energy to your home.
Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) – The Workplace Charging Scheme is a voucher-based scheme that provides support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle chargepoints, for eligible businesses, charities, and public sector organisations.
zappi – The world’s first solar compatible EV charger, made in Britain. zappi is a smart charger and comes in both single-phase 7kW and three-phase 11-22kW versions, tethered or untethered.