Many drivers and property managers who are new to the world of electric vehicles are surprised to discover that EVs have their own culture and lingo. In a previous post, we talked about general etiquette for using a public charging station. This week on the SemaConnect Blog, we’re talking about some of the key words you should know when discussing electric vehicles.

Cars, Trucks, and Automobiles

ICE– ICE refers to an Internal Combustion Engine, which is the type of engine used by any vehicle that runs on fuel. This term does also refer to the hybrid car models that exclusively use gasoline or diesel (without a charging port).

ICE’d– The term for when an EV charging station is blocked by an ICE car that’s parked in the spot.

PHEV and BEV– PHEV refers to a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, and a BEV refers to a Battery Electric Vehicle. Both models have a charging port that you can use to plug your vehicle into a charging station.

EV Charging Standards

J1772– The SAE J1772 is the standard plug for all plug-in electric vehicles in North America, whether plug-in hybrid or fully electric vehicle.

Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 Charging Stations– These three levels refer to the amount of energy transferred to your car.

  • Level 1 refers to your basic 110V outlet in your garage. When buying your new EV, your dealer will usually include a cord so you can plug your car into a wall outlet. The Level 1 cord is useful so you can charge wherever you find an outlet, but many drivers choose to upgrade to a Level 2 station for a faster charge. Think of Level 1 as a trickle charge.
  • Level 2 refers to medium-speed, 240V and 30-40amp charging stations. There are residential stations for single-family homes and commercial stations for shared parking (such as at an apartment, office building, or retailer). Many commercial properties purchase Level 2 charging stations that also feature a smart network or station software. All plug-in electric vehicles can use a Level 2 charging station.
  • Level 3, also known as DC Fast Charging, refers to high-speed charging stations with energy supply ranging from 200-600V. While a DCFC station can charge a vehicle in as little as 30 minutes, it can only charge a fully electric BEV. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles cannot use DCFC. The second caveat is that fast chargers do not use the J1772, but instead use one of two competing plug standards (CCS or CHAdeMO). Not every BEV can use every DCFC.

EV Charging Networks

Charging network/smart charging– This refers to the cloud-based software used by some Level 2 and Level 3 charging stations. With a charging network, a station owner can monitor stations, set pricing, and restrict access. Drivers can pay for their charging sessions with their credit card, find a station location, or manage their account. SemaConnect is both a station manufacturer and a network software provider.

Interoperability– Interoperability is one of today’s trends in EV charging networks. This means that stations and networks from different providers can communicate with each other, and drivers may be able to “roam” from one network to another. For example, thanks to interoperability agreements, EVGo users can use their EVGo accounts to access stations on both the EVGo and SemaConnect Networks. Electrify America and SemaConnect have also signed a similar agreement.

Electric vehicles, and their terminology, are quickly becoming more mainstream. Considering installing smart charging stations at your commercial property? Here’s how to get started.