There has been a sharp rise in electric vehicles on the roads, and this only looks set to continue. They come with many advantages, and the government are encouraging motorists to make the switch by offering grants (which can be as high as 35% of the cost) towards the cost of plug-in vehicles. |
It seems plausible that the roads will be dominated by electric cars in the near future, so it is important to be up to date on the acronyms and terminology that are currently flying around the field. Here are the terms that you need to be aware of:
• EV – An easy one to kick things off, “EV” simply stands for electric vehicle. This includes any vehicle which uses an electric motor as propulsion, even if only in part. Hybrids, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell cars and extended range electric vehicles are therefore all EV’s.
• E-REV – This stands for “extended range electric vehicle”. This type of EV uses an internal combustion engine (ICE) in addition to an electric motor, with the combustion engine providing power for a generator. The generator maintains a minimum level of charge on the battery; this allows the car to have unlimited range as long as the gas tank is topped up. When an E-REV is charged, it can typically run for 40 miles before the combustion engine is used.
• PHEV – A “Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle” is similar to a hybrid (a car that integrates an electric motor and small battery maintained by the ICE engine), but a PHEV has a much larger battery pack, which can be charged by plugging it into a regular electricity supply. Electric driving is increased before the ICE kicks in to assist powering the wheels.
• V2G – This stands for “Vehicle-to-Grid” and refers to the transfer of electricity from an EV’s battery back into the National Grid whilst plugged in. This can reduce the risk of power cuts by balancing the grid during periods of high demand.
• W2W – W2W stands for “Well-to-Wheel” and is the measuring of CO2 emissions which take into account the production of electricity or fuel. EV’s may have zero emissions at point of use, but have an environmental impact earlier in the chain and this provides a fair assessment of their impact. Essentially, it is analysis that enables you to compare emissions from the energy used to power a car, right through to direct tailpipe emissions.
These are a few of the key terms to be aware of, but it is also important to know the difference between the types of batteries that are used.
• Lithium Ion Battery – The standard in EV’s which provide good energy density, power and quick charging. Their life is around 8 to 10 years (same as an EV) - they will still be usable after this but will work at 80% efficiency. Currently expensive, but this will change as more people switch to EV’s.
• Lead Acid Battery – A cheap alternative to lithium, this battery has much lower energy density, which means lower output and more frequent charging.
• NiMH battery – Used in older EV’s, “Nickel-Metal Hydride” has less energy density than lithium but more than lead, putting it in between the two in terms of quality.
This is a quick overview of what you need to know about the terminology of electric vehicles. Contact me today if you would like to know more.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides a valuable service, updating members with the latest information on issues affecting road safety, fuel costs, technology, electric vehicles and other news from the industry. Matching delivery work with available vehicles, over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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