Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Definitions - part the first

As I was learning more about electric vehicles I found the language of EV's was filled with terms and acronyms that weren't familiar.  I feel it's helpful to have a primer to follow the discussion and so today's post is dedicated to the acronyms and words that I can remember surrounding an electric vehicle, its environment, its owners and anything else that I think is appropriate or necessary. I label this post as part one because I'm sure there are terms and acronyms that I will forget and need to add later.


EV (Electric Vehicle) - Hey, it's the basis for the blog so it should be first right?  =)  An electric vehicle is a car where the means of propulsion is an electric motor. The Chevrolet Volt is classified as an EV because the wheels are powered by the electric motor. The gasoline engine in a Volt is designed to charge the battery which will then in turn power the electric motor. Obviously the all electric vehicles, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Roadster, Tesla S, Coda, are completely powered by only electricity and have no gasoline "range extender".

PEV (Plugin Electric Vehicle) - I guess that's to differentiate it from the buses I saw in Hungary that were connected to the overhead power lines. This is an electric vehicle that you can/must plug in to recharge the battery pack. All the EV's I'm familiar with are also PEV's.

NEV/NHEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) - These are EV's that are not only limited on range but are also limited on speed. They typically are limited to 25 mpg. They may also have limited safety components and are typically referred to as 'golf carts' even when they aren't.

PHEV (Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle) - This would be for "electric vehicles" with "range extenders" that run on gasoline. The best example is the PiP (see below).

PiP (Plug in Prius) - This is one of the latest versions of Toyota's Prius. The PiP has a receptacle in the back of the vehicle to plug in and charge up. The research I've seen puts the electric range around 12 miles. I believe the PiP also qualifies for limited federal tax incentives but it is not a true EV as the gasoline engine does provide direct propulsion to the wheels.

Leaf/LEAF (Leading Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car) - Ok that's the official acronym reference. To me it's just the model of my car.

ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) - Gasoline, Propane, Diesel, Ethanol, Flex fuel, Bio-diesel, any engine that ignites 'something' for the purpose of moving the vehicle. This may not be the dictionary definition but it works for me.

ICE'd - This is when an internal combustion engine vehicle is parked in a marked parking spot designed for electric vehicles.

EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) - The device that takes electric energy and transfers from the electric line to the vehicle. This is the thing you actually plug into the car. It is frequently incorrectly referred to as the charger.

Charger - When people refer to a charger they are typically referring to a charging station or an EVSE. But the charger is a component in the car that receives plug energy and recharges the traction battery.

Charging Station - Typically the phrase 'charging station' refers to a public device where the driver of an EV can park and plug in. If you think of it as an EV filling station you would be correct. Around KC there are a couple of different charging networks with different price points for the energy provided.

Regenerative Braking - This occurs when a vehicle recovers energy when brakes are engaged. As far as I know, all EV's and many hybrids have this functionality to increase the available range of the vehicle.

Range Anxiety - Range anxiety a term that was coined to capture the concept the people have fear or anxiety applied to the idea that they will be stranded and unable to reach their destination due to lack of energy in the car. I will voice more about this concept in a dedicated post later.

Hybrid - It may seem out of place putting hybrid here but it's always best to have all the players listed when discussing technology even when it's a term "everyone" knows. So a hybrid vehicle is a vehicle where the primary propulsion is an internal combustion engine [ICE] but also contains an extended battery pack designed to recover energy on braking, power the vehicle on idle, and assist with acceleration. Hybrid vehicles typically get better city gas mileage compared to an ICE only.

FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) - Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt are the Three Horsemen of the EV Apocalypse. FUD factor is frequently the button pushed by parties interested in challenging the EV movement.

Leaf specific acronyms

DTE (Distance To Empty) - The gauge on the dash that displays the distance the car will go before running out of energy. See also GOM

GOM (Guess-O-Meter) - The commonly used reference to the DTE gauge because of the gauge's level of accuracy. See also DTE.

TB's (Temperature Bar(s)) - The gauge on the dash that displays the temperature of the battery pack. Due to battery capacity concerns, the temperature of the pack is important.

Try reading a book, it's a novel experience

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