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  • Writer's pictureHersh Thaker

Electric Vehicle Terminology Explained

With people increasingly considering switching to an Electric Vehicle, the initial research can be rather daunting. I've put together this handy list of terms that you might come across:


  1. PHEV: Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle  The car has an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The difference between a PHEV and a standard Hybrid is that the battery which powers the electric motor needs to be charged using an external electrical outlet.

  2. BEV: Battery Electric Vehicle The car runs entirely on an electric motor which is powered by a battery. The battery needs to be charged using an external electrical outlet. BEV’s have zero tailpipe emissions since there is no combustion engine.

  3. ICE: Internal Combustion Engine The car runs with a combustion engine which requires fuel .

  4. ULEV: Ultra Low Emission Vehicle This terminology is used in the UK and refers to any motor vehicle emitting extremely low levels of emissions. This is currently defined as a vehicle that emits <75g of CO2 per KW drive

  5. NEDC: New European Driving Cycle This was the old measure of reporting the range of a vehicle. the measure was based on theoretical driving and therefore did not reflect real world range data. (E.g. Old version of the Nissan Leaf had a NEDC range potential of 150KW but in reality the range was closer to 80KW)

  6. WLTP: Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure This new measure of reporting comes into play in 2017 and reports vehicle range based on real world driving which better reflects on the road performance. (E.g. The old version of the Nissan Leaf would have had a WLTP range closer to the 80KW)

  7. CCS: Combined Charging System This is the rapid DC charging standard which exists across Europe and USA. (E.g. BMW in Europe uses CCS)

  8. CHAdeMO This is the Japanese rapid DC charging standard (E.g. Nissan uses CHAdeMO)

  9. Type 2 This is the AC charging standard which is capable of fast and rapid (upto 43KW) charging

  10. EVSE: Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment  Collective term referring to the collection of equipment installed to deliver energy from the grid to an EV. Includes plugs, sockets, conductors and power outlets

  11. OCPP: Open Charge Point Protocol This is a protocol which enables communications between any recharging equipment and any wider system including a central management system. OCPP also makes it easier to create a large-scale, visible network that uses a range of different charging stations since there is a requirement for only one operating system. (E.g. New Motion Network has a range of different charge posts that are all connected through OCPP)

  12. ISO 15118  This is a standard for Vehicle to grid communication. This protocol allows for bi-directional charging and discharging of EV’s. Inductive charging, seamless payment (Plug and start charge) are examples of functionality that is enabled by ISO 15118.

  13. Single vs 3 Phase Power Both of these are electricity supplies, it’s the amount of power that is different. A single-phase supply is smaller than a three-phase supply meaning you cannot use as much power. A typical house will need a single-phase supply whilst a larger house, flats or commercial building will need a three-phase supply. Single phase power supply will not allow for charging rate beyond 7.5KW. So although a New Motion home charger is enabled for 22KW charging, your house would require a three phase power supply.

  14. Regenerative Braking This is a process which occurs when the drive is not applying power to drive the motor and hence the car is running from kinetic energy and momentum. Hence, the electric motor is turning using kinetic energy which generates electricity. This (AC)electricity flows back through the inverter, converted to DC current and charges the battery.

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