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EV Charging terms explained

EV Charging Terminologies Explained

For new and prospective electric vehicle (EV) owners, the switch from a gasoline-powered car to one powered by a battery is intimidating enough. Not only are you changing power sources, but you're also altering your entire driving routine and possibly your lifestyle. Reading through all these electric vehicle terms doesn't help alleviate the anxiety one bit.

To ease your transition into e-mobility, we've compiled a list of terminologies that you're likely to encounter as you delve deeper into the EV world. So, the next time you come across these terms, whether in discussions, user manuals, or conversations with fellow EV enthusiasts, you'll have a reliable reference to decode the language and enhance your understanding of EV technology.

Classification definitions

Level of Charging

  • Level 1 Charging: Refers to the basic charging from a standard household outlet. It provides a slow charging rate suitable for overnight charging.

  • Level 2 Charging: Involves a higher-powered charging station, typically installed at homes or public spaces. It offers a faster charging rate compared to Level 1.

  • DC Fast Charging: High-powered charging stations that deliver a significantly faster charging rate than Level 2. Commonly found along highways and in commercial areas.

Connection Types

  • Type 1 (J1772): A standard charging connector used in North America and some other regions, commonly for Level 1 and Level 2 charging.

  • Type 2 (IEC 62196): Widely used in Europe and becoming more common globally. Supports both AC (Level 1 and Level 2) and DC charging.

  • CHAdeMO: A DC fast-charging standard, mainly used by Japanese and Korean automakers.

  • CCS (Combined Charging System): A universal charging standard that combines AC and DC charging. Widely adopted by many automakers globally.

  • NACS (North American Charging Standard): The proprietary connector used by Tesla and EVs in the NACS alliance.

Types of Vehicles

  • Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle: A traditional automobile that relies on an internal combustion engine fueled by liquid petroleum products, such as gasoline or diesel.

  • Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV): A type of electric vehicle that relies solely on battery power. BEVs produce zero tailpipe emissions and are charged using external electric power sources.

  • Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV): Combines electric propulsion system with an internal combustion engine. The electric component assists the engine, improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.

  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV): Similar to HEVs but with a larger battery that can be charged by plugging into an external power source. PHEVs offer electric-only driving for a limited range before switching to hybrid mode.

  • Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV): Features a small internal combustion engine that acts as a generator to recharge the battery. EREVs primarily operate on electric power, with the engine extending the overall driving range.

  • Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV): Have a small electric motor that assists the internal combustion engine, improving fuel efficiency. Unlike full hybrids, MHEVs cannot operate on electric power alone.

  • Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV): Utilizes hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity, powering an electric motor. FCEVs emit only water vapor and offer a sustainable alternative to traditional internal combustion vehicles.

Part definitions

  • Inlet: The port on the electric vehicle where the charging connector is inserted. Different electric vehicles may have different inlet designs.

  • Charge Port: The location on the electric vehicle where the charging inlet is located. It can be on the front, rear, or side of the vehicle.

  • Motor: The electric motor converts electrical energy from the battery into mechanical energy to drive the vehicle. Electric motors vary in design and technology, with common types including AC induction motors and permanent magnet motors.

  • Battery: The core energy storage component in electric cars. Batteries store electrical energy chemically and release it as needed to power the vehicle. Common types include lithium-ion batteries, nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, and, in some cases, solid-state batteries.

  • Battery Cells: The fundamental building blocks of an EV battery, serving as the basic units that store and release electrical energy. Thousands of cells comprise a battery.

  • Battery Module: A structured assembly that combines multiple individual battery cells into a single unit.

  • Battery Pack: A collection of individual batteries grouped to form a single unit. The battery pack is designed to provide the required voltage and capacity to meet the energy demands of the electric vehicle.

  • Lithium-ion Battery: The most prevalent type of battery used in electric vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries offer a high energy density, longer life cycle, and better performance compared to other battery chemistries.

  • Solid-state Battery: An emerging battery technology that replaces the traditional liquid electrolyte with a solid material. Solid-state batteries have higher energy density and faster charging times compared to lithium-ion batteries.

  • Battery Management System (BMS): A system that ensures optimal performance, longevity, and safety by balancing cell voltages, controlling temperature, and preventing overcharging or over-discharging.

  • On-board Charger: The component within the electric vehicle responsible for converting alternating current (AC) from an external power source, such as a charging station, into direct current (DC) to charge the vehicle's battery. On-board chargers are essential for Level 1 and Level 2 charging and are integrated into the vehicle's electrical system.

Electrical definitions

  • Amps: The measure of electrical current. Higher current results in faster charging. Charging stations and electric vehicles are designed to handle specific current levels.

  • Voltage: The force that moves electric charge. In EV charging, voltage is a critical factor in determining charging speed. Common voltages include 120V (Level 1), 240V (Level 2), and higher voltages for DC fast charging.

  • Power (kW): The rate at which electric energy is transferred or consumed. Power is the product of voltage and current (P = VI). Charging speed is often measured in kilowatts.

  • Kilowatt-hours: The measure of electricity consumption or storage capacity. It represents the amount of energy consumed or produced over time.

  • Alternating Current (AC): Alternating Current, abbreviated as AC, is an electric current that periodically reverses direction. It is the standard form of electricity delivered to homes. In an AC system, the flow of electric charge regularly changes its polarity, creating a sinusoidal waveform.

  • Direct Current (DC): Direct Current, abbreviated as DC, is an electric current that flows consistently in one direction. Unlike AC, which oscillates, DC maintains a constant polarity. DC is commonly used in batteries and electronic devices, and it is the form of electricity that electric vehicles use for fast-charging (DC fast charging) and for powering their onboard systems.

Mechanical definitions

  • Torque: Torque is a measure of the rotational force or twisting effort applied to an object. In EVs and cars with internal combustion engines, torque is a critical parameter for assessing the vehicle's ability to accelerate. Electric motors in EVs often provide high torque at low speeds, contributing to quick acceleration and responsiveness.

  • Horsepower (hp): Horsepower is a unit of power used to measure the rate at which work is done or energy is transferred. It is used to express the engine's or electric motor's capability to perform work, specifically in terms of propulsion.

  • Regenerative Braking: A braking system used in electric and hybrid vehicles to recover energy during deceleration. Instead of dissipating braking energy as heat, regenerative braking captures and converts it back into electrical energy, which can be stored in the battery for later use.

  • Range: Refers to the distance a vehicle can travel on a single charge

  • All-electric Range: The maximum distance an electric vehicle can travel solely on electric power before the internal combustion engine (if present) or a range-extender (if equipped) is engaged.

Infrastructure definitions

  • EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment): Also known as charging stations or chargers, EVSE manages the flow of electricity to the electric vehicle's battery. It includes the physical connector, cable, and charging point.

  • Charging Connector: The plug or port through which electricity is transferred from the charging station to the electric car. Connectors vary based on region and charging standards.

  • Charging Cable: The insulated cable that connects the charging station to the electric vehicle. Length and thickness may vary, affecting charging speed and flexibility.

  • Grid: The electrical grid, often referred to simply as "the grid," is a complex network of interconnected power generation, transmission, and distribution systems.

  • Charge Point Operator (CPO) and eMobility Service Provider (eMSP): CPO manages and maintains charging stations, while eMSP offers services like billing, user authentication, and roaming agreements, creating a seamless charging experience.

Lectron is Leading the Charge

Lectron is on a mission to make electric vehicle charging fast, easy, and affordable for all EV drivers. We offer a wide selection of convenient and easy-to-use EV charging stationschargers, and adapters. Lectron is pioneering ways of eliminating range anxiety and compatibility issues for both Tesla and J1772 EV drivers by making it easier and more reliable than ever to charge EVs at home and on the road.

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