800V is one of the most powerful types of charging that can add as much as 60 miles of power in just 5 minutes.
This references both Alternating and Direct Currents. See our definitions of AC and DC for specific definitions of these types of electricity flows.
An Alternating Current is a type of electricity flow that can charge electric vehicles at slower speeds. You’ll find AC on home charging wall boxes.
Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles run on fuels that aren't the traditional petrol or diesel.
This is when a car has self-driving technology. Tesla is one of the most famous electric cars to incorporate this type of technology with its Autopilot system.
Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems generate an artificial noise in electric cars so that pedestrians and cyclists can hear them coming. The AVAS will make a sound when the car is reversing or is travelling slower than 18.6mph (30km/h).
This is the amount of power that an electric car’s battery can hold. Over time, the battery capacity of your car will decrease.
Business Contract Hire is a type of leasing contract for businesses rather than individuals. See our guide on finance options here.
Battery Electric Vehicles are another way of saying fully electric vehicles. These are cars that are powered solely by a battery and do not require petrol or diesel like hybrid cars do.
Benefit-in-kind is a tax on employees who receive benefits or perks on top of their salary. If you have a company car for private use, you will need to pay a BIK contribution or company car tax.
This is when power is recycled back into the battery when you brake. Brake recuperation can turn what would have been wasted kinetic energy into useful electrical energy. This process is also called regenerative braking. See our article for more information.
Car clubs are a car-sharing scheme that often take place in city areas. A resident rents a car by the hour and then returns it to a dedicated parking spot.
CCS stands for Combined Charging System and is the standard for charging electric vehicles in the EU. Its layout consists of two DC pins that sit below the standard Type 2 connector plug.
Lots of cells combine to make a battery pack that can store lots of electrical energy.
The small plastic door that covers the charging socket on your electric car.
This is the amount of power the battery can hold. Greater charging capacities generally means longer driving ranges.
The name for the location where you fill up your car with electricity. Charging points are rapidly growing in numbers. If you'd like to see what chargers are near you, Zap-Map is a great resource!
This is the speed at which your battery will accept electricity when being charged.
This is the name of a large, round four-pin charging plug that is only used at rapid charging stations. ChDeMo plugs are capable of Vehicle to Grid (V2G) charging but are less powerful than CCS. Many Asian manufacturers like Nissan and Toyota use these chargers.
Tesla’s Cheetah Stance feature utilises a dynamic suspension to dip the front of the car before acceleration from a stopped position. This ‘crouched’ position is much like a cheetah that’s ready to pounce.
This is a term used by some EVs to describe the heating and conditioning inside the car.
This is the name given to the wire that connects your car to the charging point via connectors.
These are the ‘plugs’ that sit at the end of the commando cable. They come in different types and attach your electric vehicle to the charge point.
Cost per kWh
Cost per kilowatt-hour is the electrical equivalent of the price you'd pay for a litre of petrol or diesel. To calculate the charging costs of an electric car, multiply the cost of electricity per unit (kWh) by the battery capacity of the vehicle in kW.
A Continuously Variable Transmission is a type of automatic gearbox that is common on hybrid vehicles.
Direct Current is a type of electricity flow that can charge electric vehicles at faster speeds. Electric cars have to convert AC power from the mains into DC before they can store it in the battery and this process takes extra time. DC charging stations cut out this process by providing DC power straight to the battery.
An electric car’s battery will lose capacity over time, much like the battery on your mobile phone. This will happen naturally as they get recharged numerous times, other factors like the temperature can also have an impact.
The amount your car drops in value as it gets older.
When you charge your electric car away from home.
A hidden feature in an electric car’s software. Tesla is well known for putting easter eggs onto their models.
This is the energy-efficient setting on an electric car. EcoMode will cut back on performance and power to maximise the car’s range output.
Nissan’s one-pedal driving system. E-Pedal means you can decelerate by lifting your foot off of the pedal. This type of driving also utilises regenerative braking.
An Extended-Range Electric Vehicle is an electric car that uses a petrol-powered range extender to charge the battery when it's depleted. An E-REV is only ever directly powered by electricity but petrol can be used to power an onboard generator to recharge it. Another term used for these vehicles is a REx or a REEV.
This type of charging ranges from 7kW – 22kW and can charge up an electric vehicle in about 3 – 10 hours. You’ll often find fast charging at homes, workplaces and public places.
A Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle is another name for a hydrogen car. They run on hydrogen instead of electricity and typically have ranges that exceed 300 miles. Infrastructure for FCEVs is very limited at the moment. Read our article on hydrogen cars here.
This is Formula One but for electric vehicles. The first season of Formula E began in 2014.
This is the storage at the front of an electric car. The terms derive from ‘front boot’ or ‘front trunk’ - if you’re American.
A fuel cell generates electricity via a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen from the air. Fuel Cells are used on hydrogen cars like the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo.
This is the abbreviation for greenhouse gas. C02 is a greenhouse gas that electric cars do not emit whilst driving.
A word used for very large factories that make electric cars. Gigafactory is usually a term reserved specifically for Tesla facilities.
Heat pumps are a more energy-efficient way of heating an electric car without wasting valuable energy. They extract the warmth from the air and condense it to raise the temperature.
A Hybrid Electric Vehicle is a petrol or diesel car that also has a small electric motor and battery. HEVs don't have a plug, instead, they get their power from the engine or through regenerative braking.
Home Charging Point
Home charging points make owning an electric car much easier. Usually, they'll come in the form of a wall box that's installed in your garage or near where you park your car.
Hybrid cars come in many shapes and sizes. They combine either a petrol or diesel engine with an electric battery and motor to create a vehicle that emits less carbon dioxide. Plug-in hybrids contain a bigger battery and can be recharged.
Hydrogen is the gas used to power Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles. Hydrogen cars don't emit any C02 emissions - just water (H20). Click here to read our article on hydrogen cars.
This is when an owner of a petrol or diesel vehicle parks in the space of an electric charge point.
An Internal Combustion Engine is a traditional engine that typically runs on either petrol or diesel. In 2030 there will be a ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles in the UK.
Inverters switch AC currents from the mains into DC currents for your car’s battery. Inverters are also fitted to rapid charging points so that they can invert the current before charging your car to make the process quicker.
This is another name for a J Plug, which is a type of connector that is more commonly found in North America or Japan.
A Kilowatt is a measurement of power.
A kilowatt-hour is a unit of measurement for calculating how much electricity you've used and how large a battery is. It is the mpg equivalent for electric cars.
This is an older type of battery that has since been replaced by the more efficient Lithium-Ion battery.
An affordable and hassle-free way of acquiring a new electric vehicle over a fixed period. Leasing contracts tend to range from 2 to 4 years. You can view our leasing special offers here or see our guide on finance options here!
Lithium-ion is the type of battery that is used in electric cars, phones and laptops.
A setting on high-end Tesla models that allows drivers to accelerate very quickly.
A Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle can be either petrol or diesel and will usually come with a 48-volt system that includes an extra battery. This helps assist the engine as well as power onboard tech. MHEV batteries don’t have enough power to run the car on electrical energy alone.
Otherwise known as a MHEV (see above).
The New European Driving Cycle was the old system for measuring fuel economy and pollutants. This was replaced by the much more accurate WLTP testing.
Nickel Cadmium was a type of battery that was used on older EVs.
Nitrogen Oxides are a polluting gas ICE vehicles emit.
The Office for Zero-Emission Vehicles is a team working across the government to support the transition to zero-emission vehicles. This used to be called the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
This is a grant that the Office for Zero-Emission Vehicles offers on some electric vehicles to promote the uptake of these cars across the UK.
Pay as you go is a service that’s available across all charging stations. This allows drivers to pay for a charge wherever they go without the need to sign up for annual memberships.
Personal Contract Hire is a type of leasing contract for individuals rather than businesses. See our guide on finance options here.
Personal Contract Purchase is a type of leasing contract where you pay the depreciation and the interest. When the contract is finished you can either hand the car back or pay off the remaining value and purchase it. See our guide on finance options here.
A Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle is a petrol or diesel car that also has an electric battery that can be plugged in and charged up. Unlike a MHEV, a PHEV can run on electric power alone before switching to petrol/diesel when the battery runs flat.
Also known as a PHEV (see above).
The Plug-in Car Grant scheme is run by the Office for Zero-Emission Vehicles and is designed to make new electric cars more affordable. The grant has fallen steadily since its introduction. For the latest updates, visit the Government's page here.
Preconditioning is a feature where you can schedule your electric car to heat its interior before you get in. If you charge your car up overnight, the heating can be scheduled for the morning where it will be heated using the mains electricity and will not reduce your range before setting off.
Preheating is another term used for preconditioning (see above).
This is the name of Nissan’s self-driving technology.
Another way of describing a car that runs on electricity alone and releases zero emissions.
This is the official classification for microcars such as the Renault Twizy and Citroen Ami. These vehicles are exempt from certain safety rules as a result.
Where electric vehicles are concerned this usually refers to the distance a car can travel on just electric power before having to recharge.
This is the fear of running out of charge before reaching your destination or another charge point.
This type of charging will usually charge your vehicle up in under an hour. They charge at speeds of 43kW and up.
The Real Driving Emissions test accompanies WLTP testing and puts cars through a variety of driving conditions.
A Range Extended Electric Vehicle is an electric car that uses a petrol-powered range extender to charge the battery when it's depleted. An E-REV is only ever directly powered by electricity but petrol can be used to power an onboard generator to recharge it. Another term used for these vehicles is an E-REV or a REx.
This is when power is recycled back into the battery when you brake. Brake recuperation can turn what would have been wasted kinetic energy into useful electrical energy. This process is also called brake recuperation. See our article for more information.
The percentage of the original capacity remaining on the battery of a car.
This is how much your vehicle is worth at the end of its lease term.
Range extenders – or an extended-range electric vehicle - is a car that's similar to a traditional PHEV but operates only on electric power. A small lightweight petrol motor is on board that recharges the battery as you drive, meaning the electric motor will always be powering the wheels. Another term used for these vehicles is an E-REV or a REEV.
RFID cards are a way of paying for electricity at charge points. As contactless payments become the standard, RFID cards will slowly be phased out.
The Road Fund Licence is a fee that’s paid to the government in exchange for using UK roads.
This is when old batteries from electric cars get put to other uses such as storing electricity in people’s homes.
This is just another name for a Hybrid Electric Vehicle which is a petrol or diesel car that has a small battery to assist with some driving features. This battery cannot be recharged through plugging-in, instead it relies on the combustion engine and regenerative braking to re-energise.
Slow charging has a speed of 3.7kW and is one of the slowest types of charger. It’ll take about 6-12 hours to fully recharge with one of these, some older charging points still use this technology.
Also known as intelligent charging, this is a system where the electric vehicle charges up less when electricity is expensive and increases charging when it’s cheap.
State of Charge is the current percentage of the power in the battery.
Solid State Battery
This new type of battery is still undergoing testing, but If successful could change the EV landscape with vastly quicker charging times and much longer electric ranges.
This is the name of Tesla’s rapid chargers.
The Total Cost of Ownership is the total cost of the vehicle plus other factors such as the cost of charging, tax, servicing and depreciation.
This is the standard UK plug that can be used for charging electric vehicles. However, charging with a three-pin plug charger isn't advised except only for emergencies because they can lack certain safety features.
Time of Use
This refers to the time that you use your electricity. Time of Use tariffs will allow you to choose the most power when there's less demand on the grid and prices are lower.
This type of charging offers very low voltage and can take more than a day to recharge a battery back to full capacity. The standard 3-pin plug will provide trickle charging, however this is not advised because these chargers lack certain safety features.
Turtle Mode kicks in when your car is about to run out of power. It uses all the energy it has left so you can drive to a place of safety or get off the road.
A circular charging plug that has 5 pins and a clip. This type of connector is much more common in the US.
A charging plug that has 7 pins and a flat edge. This type of charger is becoming the standard on most new electric vehicles.
An Ultra Low Emission Vehicle is a car that emits less than 75g of CO2 per km (g/km) from its tailpipe.
The Ultra Low Emission Zone is an area in London where high polluting vehicles get charged a daily rate if they drive within its borders.
Vehicle to Grid is a feature that allows you to sell excess power from your electric car back into the grid during periods of high demand. This feature also allows users to send power back into their homes.
Vehicle to Home is like Vehicle to Grid except you can only move power back into your home. This feature is particularly useful during power cuts.
Vehicle to Load means that you can use your electric car to power external devices. Some of the latest EVs are capable of boiling a kettle.
Vehicle Excise Duty, also known as road tax, for electric cars is based on the CO2 emissions a vehicle releases from its tailpipe (on vehicles registered since March 2001). VED takes into account the vehicle’s list price and the year it was registered. EVs tend to benefit financially due to their reduced emissions.
This measures the power of electricity. Higher voltage cars tend to be more powerful and quicker to charge up.
The Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure is used to measure the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from passenger cars and vans. The testing is conducted in a laboratory across different temperatures to reflect real-world driving conditions. In 2018, WLTP became mandatory for measuring the C02 emissions and EV ranges on all new cars in the EU.
A Zero Emission Vehicle is a term used for any car that does not emit any C02. Currently, this covers electric and hydrogen cars.