Jargon Buster

AC - 'Alternating Current' - an electric current that reverses direction at regular intervals. Electric car motors are either AC or

DC (see below)


AMP  - A unit of electric current.


A vehicle powered solely by electric motors using power provided by on-board batteries. The batteries are charged using electricity from the national grid or through home power generation


Some manufacturers, notably Renault and Nissan offer their vehicles with a lifetime battery lease warantee. For a fixed monthly fee, the battery is guaranteed to a level of 75% capacity or will be replaced. These vehicles are much cheaper than those bought outright. 


The dedicated infrastructure (upstand or wall unit) where an Electric Vehicle can be plugged in and charged. A charge

point unit may also be called a wall pod, encompasses one or more dedicated sockets or tethered plugs that can

charge EVs. A charging station encompasses the charge point unit and all the ancillary equipment and signage etc

that goes with it including a weather shelter.

DC  - 'Direct Current' - an electric current which flows in one direction only. 

EPA Range - a measure of a vehicle's range of fuel economy according to the US Environmental Protection Agency standards as opposed to the NEDC standard used in Europe.  


EV - 'Electric Vehicle' - any vehicle that uses electric motors, either in full or in part, as propulsion. This includes pure

electrics, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, extended range electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.


E-REV  - 'Extended Range Electric Vehicle' - a vehicle that uses an electric motor for propulsion but also has an internal combustion engine onboard to provide power for a generator, which maintains a minimum charge level on the battery – as long as petrol in the tank is topped up, an E-REV has unlimited range. E-REVs can be plugged in and charged up, allowing an electric range of around 40 miles before the engine fires up. Unlike a PHEV, E-REVs don't use the petrol/diesel engine to directly power the wheels.



Charging at a higher current than a domestic supply (about 7kW as opposed to 3kW). This will fully charge an average electric car in three to four hours but does depend on size of battery pack. Rapid charging is quicker still (see below). 



A car that integrates a traction battery (electric vehicle battery) and an electric motor to enhance the efficiency of the engine. The battery’s charge is provided by the ICE engine, but it cannot be plugged into an electrical supply.  Hybrids travel a very short distance on electric power only.



Internal Combustion Engine - an engine powered through the burning of fossil fuels. 


kWh - 'Kilowatt-hour' - a unit of energy equivalent to the energy transferred or expended in one hour by one kilowatt of power. Electric car battery size is measured in kilowatt-hours, so think of it as the electric car's equivalent of litres of fuel in a petrol tank.


Many governments offer incentives to encourage buyers to choose electric, ultra low emission vehicles in order to reduce local pollution. These may be in the form of grants or such other incentives like free or subsidised charge point installation, free parking, zero road tax, low company car tax and exemption from city emissions and congestion charges etc. 


A type of battery used in earlier electric cars or specialist vehicles. The energy density is much lower than that of lithium Ion batteries, which is the current standard. That means less power output and the need for more frequent charging. Lead acid batteries also have a shorter service life. They are, however, a lot cheaper than lithium ion batteries.



These are the current standard in electric vehicle batteries, offering good energy density, power and fast charging ability. The life of a lithium Ion battery is estimated to be the same as the life of the car (eight to ten years). Of course 'end of life' here does not mean the cars or batteries won't work - after 10 years a lithium ion battery is expected to be at 80% efficiency, so they will still be usable - replacement will be a choice, not a requirement. Should you wish to replace your car's battery, it's possible they will still be in demand as storage devices for renewable energy in industry. They are expensive at the moment, but prices will reduce over time as more EVs hit the road.


NEDC - New European Drive Cycle - the European standard for measuring electric vehicle range. This is being replaced by the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP), a test cycle that when compared to NEDC, more accurately reflects real world driving and emissions. However it will not be fully implemented until 2020


"Nickel-Metal Hydride" - a type of battery used in some older electric vehicles, offering better energy density than lead acid but less than lithium ion.



Onboard charging is the capacity of a vehicle's onboard charger. This will dictate the charging speed of the vehicle. Most EV's have onboard charging of 3.3 kW or 6.6 kW whereas a top of the range super car will charge at around 20 kW.  A typical home charger is rated at 7 kW.  To work out the charge time take the battery size and divide by onboard charging capacity. 


'Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle' - a type of car that is configured like a regular hybrid, but with a bigger lithium ion battery pack that can be charged up by plugging in to a regular electricity supply. Pure electric driving is increased over a standard hybrid (12.5 miles on the first example to market, the Toyota Prius Plug-in) before the ICE fires up to help power the wheels. PHEVs, as they are known, offer the chance to make short journeys on cheap, zero tailpipe emission electricity but also enable long journeys.



Used on solar panels to convert radiation from the sun into electricity. Solar panels are becoming much more commonplace and can be installed at home to help charge electric cars, allowing true zero-emission motoring and a large cost saving over time. Even in the UK, users report it is possible to completely charge electric cars using solar power only. Feed-in Tariffs may also allow unused electricity to be supplied back to the utility supplier  ie. Guernsey Electricity  or  Jersey, Jersey Electricity and Alderney, Alderney Electricity. Meaning you could earn a little money from installing a solar panel system if you have suitable roof alignment.



A four-wheeled vehicle with low power and of the same class as a moped or scooter. Electric quadricycles are not subject to the same stringent crash tests necessary to comply with EU rules but are well suited to places with very low speed limits ie. towns/cities and small islands.



Rapid charging usually operates at 20-50kW current, allowing an 80% charge of a typical electric car in around 20-30 minutes.   Rapid charge points are generally found in public car parks, shopping centres and motorways services. Tesla superchargers operate at 120 kW+ and are therefore much faster. New superchargers are being developed with 350 kW although the amount of charge will be limited by the vehicle's onboard charging capacity. See above.



An energy recovery system used in EVs that helps charge the battery whilst the car is

slowing down. Typically the electric motor acts as the generator, so power can flow both ways

between it and the battery.



"Revolutions Per Minute" - the number of times the shaft of an electric motor turns through

360 degrees in one minute.


A Charge point that has a fixed tethered lead. Home Charge points can be ordered with or without a tethered lead. Public charge points of 43 kW capacity always have fixed tethered leads for safety reasons.



Torque is the major factor in a car’s accelerating ability. With generous torque, the car’s throttle response is much sharper. Petrol and diesel engines deliver torque over a curve as RPM increases, meaning they have peak power at a given RPM. Electric motors, on the other hand, deliver maximum torque from zero revs, meaning acceleration from standstill can be phenomenal. This explains why the Tesla Model P100D is the fastest production car in the world.



'Vehicle-to-Grid' refers to the transfer of electrical current from the battery of an EV back into the National Grid whilst plugged into the mains. This technology will help balance the grid in periods of high demand whilst also benefiting the consumer for peak and off-peak charging rates.

WLTP is the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, a new lab test introduced at end of 2017 used to measure car emissions  This replaces the NEDC test and is a more thorough and effective method better able to replicate real world driving conditions. 

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV