The ultimate electric car jargon buster

A is for AC load

There are two types of ‘fuel’ for electric cars: Alternating current, or alternating current, is the type of electricity that powers your home from the national power grid. Home charging is AC charging. However, all batteries store energy in the form of DC or direct current. When you charge your car or smartphone, an adapter converts alternating current to direct current. It has nothing to do with the Australian heavy metal band.

B is for BEV (battery electric vehicle)

Electric vehicles that run exclusively on battery power and need to be recharged. What it says on the tin, basically.

C is for CHAdeMO (Charge of Move)

A fast charging DC standard, established by Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and other Japanese companies in 2010. It currently competes with CCS (Combined Charging System), a fast charging DC standard developed by German automakers Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche in 2012. Most fast charging stations have both, but CCS is more popular than CHAdeMO in Europe.

D is for DC load

The operation of fast and ultra-fast charging, which takes between 15 and 45 minutes to recharge most passenger electric vehicles up to 80%. DC chargers require a lot of power and are usually found in commercial or public places.

E is for EREV (Extended Range Electric Vehicle)

A plug-in hybrid version, the EREV’s small gasoline-powered generator recharges the battery if it runs out while the electric motor still drives the wheels.

F is for FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle)

These electric vehicles use hydrogen fuel cells, generating electricity from a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to power electric motors rather than energy stored in a battery. More efficient than internal combustion engines, they only emit water vapor and hot air.

G is for GOM

The name of the display on the dashboard estimating the remaining range. GOM stands for Guess-O-Meter. Seriously.

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H is for HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicles)

Low-emission vehicles that use an electric motor to assist gasoline engines. All power comes from the gasoline engine.

I is for ICE (internal combustion engine)

What you find under the hood of a regular car – it converts stored chemical energy into energy, releasing heat, noise, carbon, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide, among others. Electric motors convert electricity into motion three times more efficiently than the internal combustion engine, but it is currently not possible to recharge an electric battery in the time it takes to fill a gas tank.

J is for J1772 (aka Type 1)

A five-pin AC charging standard for plugs and sockets used by the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-Miev.

K is for kW, kWh and kWh/100km

Think of kWh as your battery size – your new fuel tank capacity. When charging, the amount of energy transferred from the charger to your car is measured in kWh. The cost of charging is usually based on pennies per kWh. kWh/100 km is the energy used to travel 100 km (62 miles), or the equivalent of miles per gallon.

L is for lithium ion battery

The current industry standard for EV batteries, converting electrical energy into chemical energy for storage. The industry is looking for a better option, like lithium-sulfur.

M is for Mennekes (or Type 2) connector

The seven-pin AC charging socket with a flat edge is now becoming the industry standard in much of the world.

Shutterstock / husjur02

N is for Newton Meters

The unit of measurement for torque, the force applied to the drive shaft. High torque means the shortest possible delay between pressing the accelerator and flashing the headlights. In ICE cars, there is always a lag in reaching peak torque, related to forcing air into the engine. With electric vehicles, there is no lag. Maximum torque immediately.

O is for oil

A thing of the past for you when you switch to electric vehicles because the electric car engine lacks moving parts.

P is for PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle)

Unlike a conventional hybrid, the battery of a PHEV is much larger and can be charged via the combustion engine and via the power grid. Short distances can be purely electric, on long distances the engine intervenes.

Q is for quiet

No motors, no traffic noise. Inside the car, that only means the tires, the wind, and whatever else is on the stereo.

R is for Range Anxiety

The worry that an electric car will run out of battery before the destination is reached. The reality is that the average new electric car travels 200 miles on a charge, while the average UK household drives around 100 miles a week.

S is for solid state battery

Lighter, faster to charge and much less likely to ignite than a lithium-ion battery. Why? Because fast charging requires a metal anode, which creates tendrils of metal called dendrites and these can cause a short circuit. The ceramic-based solid-state battery blocks dendrites, allowing fast metal anodes.

T is for towing

Most electric cars cannot be towed and struggle to tow. There are a few exceptions – the VW ID.4, Audi E-tron or Mercedes-Benz EQC, for example – but being towed can damage an EV as it has no neutral.

U is for utility rate

Essentially, utility companies charge less for electricity when fewer people are using it, so charge your car at night.

V is for Vehicle-to-Grid

Using the energy stored in your electric car’s battery to power your home or to sell it back to the grid, offering the dizzying concept of energy arbitrage where you fill up your car at night and then sell the electricity back to the grid at hours peak for a profit.

W is for Wallbox

Up to 90% of electric vehicles are charged at home, but it can take a long time if you just plug it into the socket near the TV. A charging box — or wall box — is faster, and if you buy a newer smart wall box, it can handle off-peak electricity rates. These can be eligible for grants of up to £350, but you need an aisle. Sorry.

X means… a lot of things.

Ever since the Tesla Model X, automotive brands have been using X to indicate a cool electric vehicle, such as in Chinese automaker Human Horizons’ HiPhi X, high-tech luxury model Genesis X, BMW iX, Alpine A110 SportsX, etc Gen X is the biggest generation of EV buyers to date, but Gen Z is “most likely to buy” in 2022.

Tesla Model X

/ Handout

Y is for Yet-To-Come

A number of alternatives to electric vehicles are currently being developed, including solar-powered vehicles such as the Lightyear One and alternative fuel vehicles running on biofuels, synthetic fuels and e-fuels. Porsche is exploring synthetic fuels to keep classic cars on the road.

Z is for zero emission vehicles

A vehicle without CO in the exhaust2 emissions, natch, that can go at least 70 miles without any emissions at all. Strictly speaking, this requires a charging network powered by renewable energy.

To learn more about the ES campaign for electric cars, visit

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