The basic terms & phrases of an electric car  | Place2Park

The basic terms & phrases of an electric car 

24 Feb 2022

Whether you are a car enthusiast or not, it has probably become evident to you that electric cars are swiftly taking the market by storm. A report published on the BBC website states that by 2025, 20% of all new cars sold globally will be electric. This will increase to all new cars being sold to be electric by 2040.

Despite the amount of interest an average car enthusiast has in these electric vehicles, a huge number of people are still oblivious to the main abbreviations and phrases that are used when talking about electric cars; hence the reason for this article.

What does the term BEV mean?

Battery Electric Vehicles -BEV- are vehicles that run totally on an electric power battery. Unlike hybrid vehicles which partially run with assistance from internal combustion engines. 

What does the term kWh refer to in an electric car?

In essence, kWh stands for "kilowatt per hour" which is a measure of battery capacity. In other words, the total battery capacity of an electric vehicle is measured in kWh. A kWh in an electric car can be compared to a fuel tank in a petrol car. The bigger the kWh capacity, the further an electric car can travel.

If an electric car has a battery capacity of 100 kWh and the average amount of kWh consumed in 1 hour of that vehicle is 20kWh, the car will be able to travel for at least 5 hours.

Therefore, the more kWh an electric vehicle has, the longer the distance it will be able to cover.

Having said that, there are a few factors that can affect the distance it covers regardless of the kWh. A few examples of those factors are changes in temperature, payload and even high speeds. 

What does kWh have to do with the vehicle’s charging?

As mentioned above, the more kWh a car has, the longer it can travel. On the other hand, when talking about the time-duration of charging, a smaller battery will take less time to charge as compared to a bigger battery with a higher kWh.

For example, if you compare a car of 100kWh with a car that is 50kWh, the 100kWh car will take twice as long to charge as compared to the 50kWh car.

 What is the definition of kW in an electric vehicle?

When talking about electric cars, kW can refer to two things. One of the things it can refer to is the amount of energy produced by the vehicle’s motor. The second thing it can refer to is the amount of energy a vehicle's charger can supply. This is explained in detail below.

-      kW as a measurement of a motor's power.

Starting with the one that is much simpler to understand, kW can refer to the amount of power the motor of a vehicle produces. The kW is more commonly calculated in horsepower. Although there is a significant number of new vehicles of which the output of energy is set to kW as the default measurement of power produced by the motor.

kW used for indicating the amount of power an electric vehicle’s charger can supply

To keep things simple, the measurement of kW in a charger is how much electricity it is able to supply to the vehicle in a specific amount of time. In other words, if a vehicle has a 90kWh battery and the charger has a fixed measurement of 30kW, it will take approximately 3 hours for it to fully charge.

Now one might think that if the battery’s kWh is lower than the charger, it will charge faster; however that is not the case. For example, if a vehicle has a 30kWh battery and the charger is 60kW, the charger will still take an hour at 30kW speed and not half an hour to fully charge the battery. Likewise, if a car with a 60kWh battery is plugged into a 30kW charger, it can only be charged at a maximum speed of 30kW per hour and so will take two hours to fully charge from zero. The charging speed is based on the lowest kW rating between the charger and the car.