EV Charging Glossary | Key Terms Explained

Table of Contents

A

Alternating Current (AC)

A type of electrical current that changes direction periodically, used widely in residential and commercial settings. In electric vehicles, AC is converted to DC for battery charging.

AC Charger

A device that converts AC electricity from your wall outlet into a form that can recharge batteries, such as those in laptops, phones, and electric vehicles.

AC Charging

Refers to using Alternating Current to replenish a battery. In electric vehicles, this method is typically slower than DC charging but more accessible in homes.

Amps (A)

The unit of measurement for electrical current, indicating how much electricity is flowing. In the context of electric vehicles, higher amperage means quicker charging.

Adapter

A device that converts one type of electrical input into another, often changing the plug shape or electrical output to match a device. For electric vehicles, adapters facilitate charging at various types of charging stations.

B

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

A vehicle powered solely by electricity stored in batteries, requiring no gasoline. Uses electric charging stations for energy replenishment.

Bi-Directional Charging

Allows electric vehicles not only to charge their batteries but also to send stored electricity back to the power grid or home.

C

Combined Charging System (CCS)

A standard for EV charging that supports both AC and fast DC charging, allowing flexibility in how and where vehicles can be charged.

CHAdeMO

A type of DC fast charging connector and protocol from Japan, used for electric vehicles. It allows rapid charging and is common in many EV models.

Charging Curve

Describes how the charging speed varies over time while an electric vehicle’s battery is being charged, often starting fast and slowing as it nears full charge.

Charging Rate

The speed at which an electric vehicle’s battery is charged, typically measured in kilowatts (kW). Higher rates result in faster charging times.

Charging Station

A setup where electric vehicles are plugged in to recharge. Can vary widely from slow, home-based AC units to rapid DC public stations.

Connector

The plug part of a charger that connects to an electric vehicle to deliver electrical power for charging the vehicle’s battery.

Charging Point

A single charging interface at a station where one electric vehicle can connect to receive power.

Charge Point Operator (CPO)

A company or entity that manages the operation and maintenance of charging stations for electric vehicles.

Charge Point Installer (CPI)

A professional or company responsible for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations, ensuring they are safely and correctly set up.

D

Direct Current (DC)

A type of electrical current that flows in one direction, used in electric vehicles for fast charging capabilities.

DC Charger

A charger that provides direct current (DC) to an electric vehicle for rapid charging, bypassing the car’s onboard AC to DC converter.

DC Fast Charging (DCFC)

A charging method that delivers a very high charging rate via direct current, significantly reducing the time it takes to recharge an electric vehicle.

E

Electric Vehicle (EV)

A vehicle powered by electricity instead of gasoline, capable of being recharged from external sources of energy.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)

The hardware required to deliver electrical energy from the electricity grid to an electric vehicle.

EV Roaming

Allows EV drivers to access charging stations across different networks with a single subscription or payment method, enhancing charging convenience.

eMobility

Refers to electric mobility and includes all aspects of electric transport systems, including the integration of EVs into transportation networks.

F

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV)

A type of electric vehicle powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, producing electricity on-board without combustion.

G

Grid

The network of power lines and stations that delivers electricity from producers to consumers. Critical for supplying energy to charge electric vehicles.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

Gases like carbon dioxide that trap heat in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. EVs typically produce fewer GHG emissions than conventional vehicles.

H

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)

Combines a conventional internal combustion engine system with an electric propulsion system, improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.

Home Charging

Refers to charging an electric vehicle at home, usually overnight, using a personal charging station or standard electrical outlet.

High Power Charging

A method of fast-charging EVs that uses very high levels of power to significantly reduce charging time.

I

ISO 15118

An international standard that defines the communication protocol between electric vehicles and charging stations, facilitating features like plug-and-charge.

J

J1772 Connector

A standard connector for charging electric vehicles, primarily used in North America for AC charging.

K

Kilowatt (kW)

A unit of power equal to one thousand watts, used to measure the power output of engines and the power capacity of motors in EVs.

Kilowatt-hour (kWh)

A measure of energy consumption representing one kilowatt of power sustained for one hour. Used to describe the energy capacity of EV batteries.

L

Level 1 (L1)

The slowest form of EV charging, using a standard household electrical outlet of 120 volts (V) in North America. Typically provides around 1.4 to 2.4 kilowatts (kW) and can add about 3 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging.

Level 2 (L2)

Faster than Level 1, it requires a 240-volt outlet (similar to what large appliances like dryers use) and provides between 3.3 to 19.2 kW, depending on the electric vehicle and the charger. L2 can add about 12 to 80 miles of range per hour, allowing most EVs to be fully charged overnight.

Level 3 (L3)

Also known as DC Fast Charging, uses a 480-volt direct current (DC) supply and typically delivers power from 50 kW to over 350 kW. This level can add approximately 60 to 200 miles of range in just 20 minutes, making it ideal for quick recharging during long trips.

Lithium-ion battery

The most common type of rechargeable battery used in electric vehicles, known for its high energy density and long lifespan.

Load Shifting

Also called load shedding, it moves energy consumption from peak to off-peak times to reduce costs and balance the grid, leveraging lower energy rates and easing demand during high-use periods.

M

Miles per Kilowatt Hour (mpkWh)

A measurement of electric vehicle efficiency, indicating how many miles the vehicle can travel on one kilowatt-hour of electricity.

N

North American Charging Standard (NACS)

Presumably refers to the charging connectors and protocols, like the SAE J1772 and the Combined Charging System (CCS), standardized for North America.

O

Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP)

A communication standard that allows charging stations and central management systems from different vendors to operate compatibly.

Off-peak Charging

Charging an electric vehicle during times when demand for electricity is low, often at night, which can be cost-effective and efficient.

P

Public Charging

Charging stations accessible to the general public, which may include various levels of charging and be operated by different network providers.

Private EV Charging

Charging stations not open to the public, typically installed in private homes or businesses for personal or fleet use.

Plug & Charge

Technology that allows an electric vehicle to communicate with the charging station to start charging automatically once plugged in, without additional authentication.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

A vehicle with both an electric motor and a traditional engine, can be charged by plugging into an electrical source and uses fuel.

Plug-in Vehicle (PiV)

A general term for any vehicle that can be recharged from an external source of electricity, such as BEVs or PHEVs.

Q

Quick Charging

A term often used interchangeably with fast charging, usually referring to DC charging that provides rapid battery charging in a short time.

R

Radio-frequency Identification (RFID)

A form of wireless communication often used for identifying and granting access to EV charging services through a tag or card.

Range

The distance an electric vehicle can travel on a full charge without needing to recharge.

Range Anxiety

The fear that an electric vehicle doesn’t have enough charge to reach the destination, often a concern with earlier or entry-level EV models.

Renewable Energy

Energy sourced from natural processes that are replenished constantly, like wind or solar power, which can be used to charge electric vehicles sustainably.

Rapid Charging

Another term for fast charging, typically referring to high-powered DC charging that can recharge an EV’s battery significantly faster than AC chargers.

Regenerative Braking

A system in electric and hybrid vehicles that recovers energy usually lost during braking and uses it to recharge the battery.

Range Per Hour (RPH)

A metric indicating how many miles of driving range are added to an electric vehicle for each hour it is charged.

Peak Shaving

Peak shaving is the practice of reducing energy usage during peak demand times, which not only decreases the operational costs for EV owners but also supports grid stability and efficiency.

S

Smart Charging

Charging that intelligently manages the charging process, such as timing charging sessions for when electricity rates are lower or when renewable energy availability is higher.

Semi-Public EV Charging

Charging stations that are not fully public, perhaps located in business parks or shopping centers, where access might be restricted to customers, employees, or residents.

State of Charge (SOC)

The available battery capacity of an electric vehicle expressed as a percentage, similar to a fuel gauge in traditional vehicles.

T

Tesla Supercharger

A network of proprietary rapid-charging stations built by Tesla for their vehicles, offering high-speed charging capabilities.

U

Ultra Fast DC Charging

The fastest type of EV charging currently available, significantly exceeding the power delivery of standard fast chargers, usually above 100 kW.

V

Volts

The unit of electric potential difference or electromotive force. In an EV context, it’s a measure of the electrical force supplied by the charger.

V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid)

Technology enabling energy to be pushed back from an electric vehicle’s battery to the power grid, helping to manage supply and demand.

V2B (Vehicle-to-Building)

Systems that allow electric vehicles to provide power to buildings, potentially reducing energy costs and increasing grid resilience.

V2H (Vehicle-to-Home)

Similar to V2B, where electric vehicles supply energy back to a home, offering a backup power source during outages or peak times.

V2V (Vehicle-to-Vehicle)

Communication technology allowing electric vehicles to share information with each other, which can improve road safety and traffic management.

V2L (Vehicle-to-Load)

The capability of an electric vehicle to supply power to external devices or systems, such as camping gear or tools, essentially using the EV as a mobile generator.

V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything)

An umbrella term that covers all forms of the vehicle’s power and information transfer to other vehicles, infrastructure, devices, or the grid.

W

Watts

The standard unit of power in the International System of Units. It quantifies the rate of energy transfer. In EVs, used to measure charging power.

Z

Zero-emission

Vehicles or processes that release no pollutants into the atmosphere. Electric vehicles are considered zero-emission because they don’t produce exhaust emissions like traditional vehicles.
Scroll to Top