Electric Car Jargon: What you need to know
Do you know your PHEVs from your BEVs?
Electric cars are becoming more and more common. We’re getting ever-closer to the UK government’s target of phasing out new petrol and diesel cars (and vans!) by 2030, but we realise they’re still a relatively new concept for a lot of people.
With lots of terms, phrases and acronyms floating around the electric car space, it can be confusing; especially as not all of them are entirely relevant in the day-to-day life of electric car ownership. It’s a lot to get your head around.
So, what do you actually need to know? We’ve put together and explained some of the key things you should understand as you transition to an electric car.
General electric car jargon
Here are some of the most common electric car related terms and what they mean for you. You may have come across them before, but let us break it down for you:
Battery & vehicle jargon
You’ve decided to go electric for your next car, it’s exciting!
But, there’s lots of new battery related electric car acronyms and phrases to learn; it can be a bit daunting. Don’t worry though, we’ll help you out. 👇
Here’s the scenario: the manufacturer says your car has a 90kWh battery, will charge “up to 100kW DC” and has a Type 2 charging cable. But, the charging unit you’re using only charges ‘up to 50kW’ and says “CCS” on the front. What does it all mean?
Well, firstly you should know that there are multiple ways of charging your electric car, but it’s not as scary as it may seem.
Electric cars can come with a couple of different cables for you to charge with: the first is the 3-pin plug (which you’ll use for slow charging using a normal plug socket), the other is a Type 2 cable which you’ll use for fast or rapid chargers.
Let’s cover general charging jargon first:
When you’re out and about, there’s the public chargers to contend with. These, unlike your plug socket at home, already have the cable attached to the charger so you don’t need to plug in the one that comes with your car. You just pull up, pop the attached cable in and go about your business.
All you need to do here is check the charger you’ve pulled up at has the right connector for your vehicle (otherwise it’d be like trying to put a US plug into a UK socket – it just wouldn’t fit).
What do the charging connectors look like?
Great question – to break it down visually for you, here’s what the Type 1, Type 2, CHAdeMO and CCS connectors (plugs) will look like.
Generally speaking, nearly all new electric cars will come with a Type 2 cable, with a port for the faster Type 2 CCS connector too, so you don’t need to worry too much:
And that’s it!
You’ve now got everything you need to know to start living with your electric car. Want to try one? Check out how an elmo subscription works to start your transition to electric in as little as a week.
Here are a few of the most common questions people ask about electric cars:
How can I see how efficient my electric car is?
You can use the mpkWh figure, similar to MPG in an ICE car, to determine how efficient your electric car is. However, it’s likely more important for you to check the vehicle’s range and max charging speed, to work out whether it would suit your lifestyle. Try out our electric car suitability tool.
Where can I find public chargers that fit my car?
What happens if I get to a charger and the connector doesn't fit my car?
Like fitting a US plug into a UK socket, the charger would not fit and could damage your car’s charge port. If you’re at a charger and the connector doesn’t fit, you should use an app like Zap Map to find the nearest charger that connects with your car.