RBW’s guide to electric vehicle jargon

RBW explains electric vehicle jargon

If you already own an electric vehicle then you’ll probably be familiar with most of the terminology here. But if you’ve yet to make the swap from a conventional petrol or diesel car, or you’re considering one of our electrified Roadsters, then RBW is here to help with our Electric Vehicle Jargon guide.

RBW explains electric vehicle jargon

Types of electrified vehicles

If you’ve shopped around for an electrified vehicle recently, there is no doubt you’ll have come across a whole host of different options – BEVs, hybrids, PHEVs and possibly even FCVs.

It may seem confusing to understand at first, but they’re pretty simple once you dig in:

  • BEV – Battery Electric Vehicle. They are powered purely by an all-electric drivetrain, which is what RBW uses in the Roadster.
  • Hybrid – A vehicle that uses a combination of power sources, most conventionally an internal combustion engine (often referred to as an ICE) and an electric motor.
  • PHEV – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. Similar to a conventional hybrid but the electric motor can be charged through a mains system.
  • FCV – Fuel Cell Vehicle. The least common of the four in the UK, an electric vehicle that uses a fuel cell instead of a battery for propulsion – most often hydrogen.

Current affairs

When it comes to electric cars, it’s key to know the difference between AC and DC:

  • AC – Alternating Current. As suggested by the name, power from an AC connection flows back and forth. As a result, AC motors in electric cars allow for recharging of its own batteries.
  • DC – Direct Current. Power flows one way with a DC connection, and this is what’s required to charge an electric vehicle. In the RBW Roadster, charging is from an AC domestic power supply, so an on-board device converts this to DC.

Charging your knowledge

Perhaps the most complex part of electric car ownership is understanding the different types of charging, so we’ve broken up the key points in our Electric Vehicle Jargon guide:

  • Home charging – this is a common way to charge an EV, and using a domestic socket can supply a maximum of 3 kilowatts. Recharging the RBW Roadster takes eight hours.
  • Fast charger – chargers capable of delivering between seven and 22 kilowatts, charging an average EV in three to four hours.
  • Rapid charger – a step up from a fast charger, a rapid charger can deliver up to 150 kilowatts, capable of charging an electric car in less than an hour.
  • Supercharger – Tesla owners can use a Supercharger on their car. Commonly found in cities and motorway service stations, a Supercharger is capable of delivering up to 120 kilowatts and fully charging a car in under two hours.

Getting connected

There are different types of charging connector, depending on the electric vehicle you have and what sort of charging point you are able to use. These are main ones you need to know about:

  • Type 1 – these enable the use of AC charging, providing up to 7.4kW. They tend to be found on older EVs, though.
  • Type 2 – for use with rapid AC chargers of up to 43kW, most modern EVs are fitted with this sort of connector.
  • CCS – this is the connector for rapid DC charging of 50kW or more. A large number of EVs use this type.
  • CHAdeMO – basically the Japanese version of the CCS system, this type is used for rapid DC charging.

The RBW electric classic roadster uses a Type 2 connector at present.

 What other electric vehicle jargon should I know?

There’s a whole host of other terms in the world of EVs, but as for key ones, there’s just a few more.

The difference between kilowatts (kW) and a kilowatt hour (kWh). A kilowatt is simply a measurement of how many watts of energy a car can develop, while a kilowatt hour is how much energy a car will use in the space of an hour. For example, the powertrain in the RBW Roadster developed in conjunction with Continental Engineering Services and Zytek Automotive produces 70kW. That’s enough for an 80mph top speed and 0-60mph in just 9 seconds.

There’s also range, which is the distance a vehicle can cover on one full electric charge. Following that, many people have discussed range anxiety – the fear that one full electric cycle just won’t be enough to get them to their destination.  You won’t have to worry about this with the RBW Roadster, though. The Hyperdrive Innovation lithium-ion battery pack provides a range of up to 160 miles, while the optional larger battery extends this to 200 miles.

Then there’s NVH – Noise Vibration Harshness. An electric car may not have a throaty engine sound but it does create a noise, with some EVs being quite draining on the ear drum. Thankfully, over the past 20 years, Continental Engineering Services has accumulated experience of optimising NVH in such vehicles, especially the challenges brought about by the replacement of an internal combustion engine with an electric drivetrain – this has been applied to the RBW Roadster to ensure a pleasant experience during pull-away, city-traffic, cruising and spirited driving.

We know there is plenty to understand when it comes to electric vehicles, but the experts at RBW will always be ready to help with any questions you might have.


For further information:

Contact us on +44 01543 897013
or email hello@RBWEVCars.com

For press and media enquiries
Contact Andrea Seed, Poppyseed Media
on +44 (0) 7812 010 765
or email andrea@poppyseedmedia.co.uk

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