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Getting to Grips with the EV Lingo to Understand EV News

Posted on 13 November 2018 - by EVision - The Latest EV News


Something you find when looking at tech websites is that people like to use abbreviations, and they like to use them a lot! You would be forgiven if, when looking at a tech website for the first time, you start to think that the person posting is actually speaking a foreign language. Well, the world of electric cars certainly falls into this category.
If the sentence “are you using DC or AC for your BEV in the ULEZ, or are you using a HEV instead of a pure EV” leaves you feeling as though you have walked into a conversation that you want to understand, but everyone around you is speaking Chinese (assuming you don’t actually speak Chinese), then this blog post is especially for you. I will be looking at the common terms used in the electric car world, and will hopefully be providing you with a new understanding of the language used.

What does EV mean, and why do electric car owners all seem to own one?

A good place to start is with the most common term you will come across. Everywhere you look you will see people talking about EVs. Some car and charge point providers even have EV in their brand name (soon the 2 capital letters at the beginning of EVision will make sense). EV is simply an abbreviation for Electric Vehicle. This term applies to all types of electric vehicle, whether it is a pure electric car or a hybrid electric car. EV is all encompassing.

Who is HEV, and why are electric car people talking about her?

Hybrid Electric Vehicle Diagram

Well, I can confirm that HEV is not a person but a type of EV. HEV is the abbreviation for Hybrid Electric Vehicle. A hybrid car is one that uses both electric and another fuel source, such as petrol or diesel. The most well-known of the hybrid cars is probably the Prius. The Prius was the first major car brand to really break through with lower emission fuel, paving the way for electric car companies, such as Tesla, to seize upon the green car market later on.

The traditional hybrid vehicle typically has only a very small range on the electric battery, with most of the power coming from the traditional fuel source. The battery is charged by the engine and the use of regenerative breaking (regenerative breaking is where power is put back into the battery when you take your foot off the accelerator or put your foot on the break when moving).

What is PHEV? Is it the same as an HEV?

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Diagram

Well yes and no. A PHEV is a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle. The principle is the same as a HEV car; however, you plug a PHEV in to charge the battery. As with a HEV, the PHEV also uses a combination of battery power and conventional fuel, such as petrol or diesel. A plug in hybrid vehicle will usually have a much bigger battery than a pure HEV. This means that the PHEV can travel further distances on the battery power alone than the HEV can, making it a greener car than the HEV. Not to mention cheaper as well, assuming you make the most of the battery power (some PHEVs allow you to choose which fuel source you wish to use at any given time).

So, I’m Guessing BEV isn’t a Person Either?

You would be correct. BEV isn’t short for Beverly; it’s an acronym for Battery Electric Vehicle. This is what we usually think of when people say ‘electric car’. A BEV is a pure electric vehicle rather than a hybrid. A BEV car needs to be plugged in to charge the battery, and there is no alternative fuel used to power the vehicle at all.

All Electric Vehicle Diagram

Although, traditionally, many people have chosen to use a hybrid vehicle over a pure electric vehicle due to the extra range available on a hybrid, this is becoming much less relevant these days. The advance of BEV battery technology is happening at such a rate that battery cars are actually able to provide the mileage required by a majority of car drivers. Long-gone are the days of electric cars with a limited range of 40 to 50 miles. Modern electric cars are capable of travelling much further. If you were to hire a Tesla from EVision, for example, you would benefit from a range of up to 350 miles (the Tesla Model S P100D).

Even our small cars, such as the BMW i3 and Renault ZOE, are capable of achieving 150 miles and 180 miles of range respectively. This advancement means that hybrid cars are becoming less and less relevant in the modern age.

AC/DC – What’s a Heavy Metal Band got to do with Charging?

Although AC/DC is a heavy metal band, when you see people talking about AC and DC in the sense of an EV, they are actually talking about the different types of charging current. AC stands for Alternating Current (a system invented by Nikola Tesla by the way) and is much more stable type of current. It requires less power to operate, can be more easily distributed over longer distances, and is the standard type of charge connection that you see at most charge points. DC stands for Direct Current and requires a much higher capacity electric network, which is why you will see fewer of them.

The advantage of a DC charger is that it is capable of charging a battery much quicker than an AC charge. This is because the AC charge needs to go through a DC converter in the car before going into the battery, due to the fact that EV batteries require a DC current for charging. A DC charger will bypass the converter taking the charge straight into the cells.

Why do EV Drivers talk about ICE when it is Really Hot Outside?

AC VS DC Voltage

As far as EV drivers are concerned, ICE on the road is bad. However, the acronym ICE, as opposed to the ice you skid on, actually stands for ‘Internal Combustion Engine’. An ICE vehicle is any pure petrol or diesel vehicle that you see on the road. Basically, this is pretty much any traditional car.

You may also come across the term ICED. This is where a petrol or diesel car parks in a space that is supposed to be for BEVs to charge. This is a big no-no in the EV world and is something we try to educate traditional car drivers not to do.

I Keep Seeing ULEV and ZEZ Being Mentioned. What are They?

These are terms that you will see being used more and more in the coming years. A ULEZ is an Ultra-Low Emissions Zone, such as those that are starting to appear in certain parts of London and some other major Cities. An ultra-low emissions zone prohibits cars that produce more than a certain level of CO2 from entering the area. These zones will generally permit both electric cars and many hybrid vehicles to enter without being subject to a fine.

Low Emission Zones Map

A ZEZ is a Zero Emissions Zone. These areas are starting to appear in certain Cities, such as Oxford. Unlike the ULEZ, a ZEZ doesn’t allow any vehicle producing CO2 to enter that particular zone. This means that only electric cars are allowed entry to these roads. Hybrids, although much greener that an ICE car, still produce CO2 and are therefore banned.

Are There any Other Acronyms I Should be Aware of?

As stated earlier on, we tech people like our acronyms (sorry for the confusion), so OF COURSE there are more acronyms relating to electric cars! However, most of these you will be unlikely to come across on any regular basis. Below are 4 more acronyms that you may be more likely to see in EV news.

ZEV – This is a zero emissions vehicle. All BEVs are ZEVs. Electric cars don’t produce any emissions. You may have seen this term in relation to the recent ZEV Summit that took place in the UK (the first of its kind in the World).

ULEV – You may have guessed this one. It stands for Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle. This will also include many makes of hybrid vehicle as well as any BEV.

OLEV – This stands for the Office for Low Emission Vehicles. OLEV is the government department that has been set up to implement the ‘Road to Zero’ initiative. The Road to Zero initiative being the plan to ban all new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 and to have the majority of cars on the road be a ULEV or pure BEV by 2050.

V2G – This is a relatively recent addition to the electric car world. V2G means ‘Vehicle to Grid’. This is where an electric car will put energy back into the grid through a special charge cable set up. This is seen as one of the key ways to tackle the energy supply issues when the time arrives where everyone takes up cars that require charging.

What About the Cars at EVision Electric Car Hire

Silver BMW i3

All the EVision electric fleet cars are BEVs. We have one BMW i3 REX (Range Extender) which has a very small petrol motor in it. Whether this can be classed as a PHEV or not is a controversial issue. As opposed to general plug in electric hybrid vehicles, the range extender doesn’t actually drive on a petrol engine. The BMW i3 REX only drives using its electric motor. The petrol element will only kick in when the battery is running low, and its only purpose is to charge the battery, not drive the car.

We don’t have hybrids on our fleet at EVision Electric Car Hire and we don’t intend to add any in the future. With the advances of battery technology, as explained earlier, the need for a hybrid car is quickly becoming obsolete.

Time to Go Electric

Without beating around the bush, traditionally fuelled cars are on borrowed time. As more and more cities introduce some form of emission control or other, petrol and diesel car users will fall on hard times.

Are you ready to stand up and make the switch to electric cars? If so, hire a Tesla from EVision Electric Car Hire if you want to feel the rapidly rising power of a true electric supercar. Maybe you would like to hire a BMW i3 or rent a Renault ZOE. If so, come and get it from EVision. From the moment you take an electric car out on the road for the first time, you will be amazed at how smooth the ride is. It truly is love at first feel.

Making the right choice of electric car for you can be a difficult decision, so let’s make it together. EVision Car Hire’s EV experts are on hand to help you understand the cars on our fleet so you can choose the right one for you.

A Final Word

EVision likes to add a bit of fun to our service. See if you can spot the 10 AC/DC song titles I’ve slipped into the ‘Time to Go Electric’ section. Answers below.

  • 1) Come and get it
  • 2) Borrowed Time
  • 3)Beating Around the Bush
  • 4) Are You Ready
  • 5) Emission Control
  • 6) Let’s Make it
  • 7) Rising Power
  • 8) Stand Up
  • 9) Hard Times
  • 10) Love at First Feel