Electric Explained: What do the jargon EV terms mean?
AC, DC, MHEV, PHEV, kWh… these are not randomly generated letters. Meet the jargon EV terms that look like a frankenstein physician’s ultimate mnemonics but with EVs about to take over the world, it becomes necessary for us to know the nitty-gritty of these terms. And that’s why YallaMotor is here with its quintessential EV glossary that explains all the EV terms that need to be understood by the layman.
The basics: EV, BEV PHEV, MHEV, FCEV, ICE
Let’s start with the basics. EV means electric vehicle, which many of you might know, PHEV and MHEV is where things get a bit confusing. PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid electric vehicle) is a hybrid whose battery can be charged by plugging it in like a normal EV while an MHEV (Mild Hybrid electric vehicle) has a small electric motor which assists the big gasoline one. The electric motor is charged by regenerative braking and other energy produced by the car which would normally be wasted and also helps reduce emissions and give better mileage. BEV is the simplest of the lot and simply means Battery electric vehicle - a 100% battery-powered Electric Vehicle.
FCEV, Fuel Cell electric vehicle, is a term that Toyota likes a lot and wants to be a pioneer in. FCEVs use a fuel cell, usually hydrogen-based, to generate electricity that runs an on-board motor. This technology is best on show in the Toyota Mirai. ICE? Oh, don’t you get us started on that. ICE stands for Internal Combustion Engined vehicle like the ones we own right now and these are the cars that we will miss in the coming years… *SOB*.
For Charging: AC and DC
Before you let your inner Brian Johnson unleash let us clear that we aren’t talking about the famous AC/DC band here. We’re talking about two types of electric currents: AC stands for Alternating Current, and DC stands for Direct Current. Now we’re gonna talk about a big EV conundrum here so brace yourselves. Transmitting an alternating current with high voltage is easier than a direct current as less energy is lost in between the transmission but an electric car will have to convert the AC to DC before the electricity can go into its batteries, which in turn increases the charging time of an EV plugged into an AC socket. And that’s why companies like Tesla are rolling out DC rapid chargers because when used locally with less transmission and loads of transformers and rectifiers providing assistance at the charging station, DCs can be very useful for EVs.
The Power Brothers: kW and kWh
Those of you who attended the science classes will know that a kilowatt (kW) is 1000 watts and is the easiest measure of power in an electric car. For those of you who are obsessed with horsepower a) kW will be the new horsepower in the future and b) 1kW=1.35 horsepower. Now meet kW’s close brother - kWh. Simply explained, kWh is the unit of energy equivalent to the energy transferred in one hour by one kilowatt of power. EV’s battery packs are measured in kilowatt-hour, so it's basically a measure of an electric car’s fuel tank, but not in liters.