After decades of using internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, not everyone is aware of the terminology associated with an electric vehicle. The basics of EV charging encompass a range of parameters that are crucial for understanding charging methods.
With an EV you will come across these charging parameters daily.
- Ampere (Amp): Unit of electrical current measurement.
- Connector / Cord set: A device with an attached cable connected to an EV to charge.
- kW (kilowatt): Unit to measure electric motor power output (motor energy generated over time). 1 kW = about 1.34 HP
- kWh (kilowatt-hours): One hour of energy transferred by one kilowatt of power. It measures the EV battery capacity.
- Volts: Unit of measurement for electrical force in a wire.
- Plug-in Vehicle (PiV): The term describes any vehicle equipped with a plug-in socket, including both Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs).
- Single-phase Power: It is commonly found in UK homes and businesses, and is an alternating current system that effectively utilizes only two wires to deliver ample energy, that can effectively power a dedicated charging point with a capacity of up to 7kW.
- Smart Charging: It refers to the wide range of capabilities and functions that a charge point connected to a wireless network can offer. It includes live availability and status monitoring, reporting, and individual charge point usage.
- State of Charge (SOC): It can be considered as the fuel gauge for the rechargeable battery in an electric vehicle, telling how much charge is available in your EV. It is expressed in percentage points, spanning from 0% to 100%.
- Three-phase Power: It is a widely used form of alternating current (AC) in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. It is commonly found on commercial and industrial sites, providing three distinct types of current and enabling 22kW AC charging.
- Time of Use (TOU): Measure and charge energy consumption based on usage time. (Utility companies charge more during peak hours when electricity demand is high.)
- Top-up Charging: It is the habit of charging your electric vehicle whenever you park next to an EV charging station. The vehicle battery is constantly being charged, so it never runs out of power.
Additional EV Charging Terms
Here are a few more terms for electric vehicle charging basics that you should know if you own an electric car.
- Input voltage is the amount of power required to operate the charger. It is expressed in Volts (V).
- Power output is the amount of power a charger can generate each time. It is expressed in kilowatts (kW).
- The charging speed of an electric vehicle (EV) is the rate at which the EV’s battery charges, measured in miles added per hour of charging. The charging speed is determined by the power output of the charger.
- The power intake of an EV relies on the capacity of its battery, which determines the maximum power output it can draw from a charger in kilowatts. Check your vehicle’s specifications to know which charging level your vehicle can use.
Note that there is a wide range of EV chargers available from various manufacturers, each with distinctive features, prices, uses, and capabilities. To ensure the perfect match for your needs and financial situation, it is crucial to understand the EV charging basics and select an electric vehicle charger that aligns with your intended usage and budgetary constraints.
Recommended: What are EV Charging Levels?