Words You Should Know
Familiarity with EV terminology will help you follow news and ask the right questions.
- Grid Enabled Vehicle (GEV)
- Grid Enabled Vehicles, or GEVs are vehicles that can plug in to an external power source to recharge. GEVs include BEVs and PHEVs (see below). These vehicles all use electricity to provide at least some of their power and also typically incorporate regenerative braking to recharge the battery with captured energy.
- Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
- Battery Electric Vehicles, or BEVs, rely on a battery for their energy. They can either be plugged in to recharge or, in some cases, have their depleted battery exchanged for a charged one. BEVs do not have a fuel tank, tailpipe, or conventional engine, or any on-board means of generating electricity, and typically have a range of somewhere between 60 and 100+ miles.
- Plug-in Hybrid-Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
- Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, or PHEVs, have two energy systems. In some PHEVs, the main power source is electricity supplied by a battery, with a gasoline engine working to generate additional electricity when the battery is depleted. These PHEVs typically have a battery-only range of 25-50 miles, with additional range of hundreds of miles using gasoline-generated electricity. Other PHEVs use a conventional gasoline engine as the primary power source, supplemented by a battery that can be recharged by the power grid. These hybrids typically have a pure EV range of 10-15 miles, with extended hybrid driving range of hundreds of miles using gasoline.
- Hybrid-Electric Vehicle (HEV)
- Hybrid Electric Vehicles, or HEVs, rely on two or more energy systems, most often a battery and a conventional engine. In HEVs, regenerative braking creates electricity to charge a battery, providing a secondary source of power for the vehicle in addition to the conventional engine. These vehicles can only travel a short distance (3-4 miles) on pure battery power and do not plug in to an electricity source.
- Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)
- The Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle, or ICE, runs on liquid fuels such as gasoline, diesel, ethanol, or biodiesel. The vast majority of vehicles on the road today employ an internal combustion engine.
- Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) refers to charging stations and other fixtures outside of the EV that provide the electricity required to charge the vehicle’s batteries. EVSE are the “gas pumps” of electric vehicles. GE provides end-to-end EVSE solutions, from charging equipment, to supporting electrical infrastructure and generation technology, as well as associated services.
- Level 1 (Basic Charging)
- Level 1, or Basic Charging, runs at 120 volts of alternating current at 15 amperes, such as that provided by a standard US electrical outlet. Charging a vehicle via Level 1 takes between 10 and 20 hours, depending on the capacity of the battery. In Europe, the 220 volt standard electrical voltage results in charge times that are about half as long.
- Level 2 (Faster Charging)
- Level 2, or Faster Charging, runs at a higher voltage of between 208 and 240 volts of alternating current at up to 80 amperes, resulting in a charge time of 4 to 8 hours.
- Level 3 or DC Charging
- Level 3, or DC charging, can provide an 80% charge in only 15-30 minutes, but requires a special adapter and is not widely available today.
- Inductive Charging
- Inductive charging, or wireless charging, is a developing technology that has the potential to charge vehicles without the need to plug them in. If automakers include wireless charging into the design of their electric vehicles, drivers could charge their vehicles’ batteries by parking their vehicles over a wireless energy source that lies flat on the floor of their garage or is embedded in a public parking spot.
- Range Anxiety
- Similar to the fear of running out of gas, range anxiety is the fear of being stranded due to a depleted battery. This is typically not an issue with PHEVs or HEVs, which have onboard gasoline tanks, and can quickly fill up at any station. While range anxiety may be a concern for some BEV owners, the development of EV charging infrastructure will increase the utility of pure electric vehicles, and over time, eliminate range anxiety.
A selection of sources so you can learn more about EVs and associated infrastructure.
Interactive online tools can help you decide if an EV is right for you, or just learn more about them.