The EV Glossary of Terms

Some of the terminology and acronyms you will find when researching electric vehicles may seem confusing. Here are some definitions that will help you better understand the literature you will find.

BEV - Battery Electric Vehicle

An EV that does not have a combustion engine at all, rather it relies solely on a battery system and must be plugged into a charging source to replenish the charge

CCID - Charge Circuit Interrupting Device

A safety device that will disable utility power to your electric vehicle charger in the event that a loss of isolation is detected

Charge Coupler

The connecter and mating vehicle receptacle that connects the electric charging source to the electric vehicle

EPRI - Electric Power Research Institute

An independent, non-profit company performing research, development and demonstration in the electricity sector for the benefit of the public

EV - Electric Vehicle

A vehicle that is propelled by a motor powered by electrical energy from rechargeable batteries or another power source onboard the vehicle

EVSE - Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment

The "charging" equipment used to maintain a charge on EV battery systems

GFCI- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

An electrical wiring device that disconnects a circuit whenever it detects that the electric current is not balanced between the energized conductor and the return neutral conductor

HEV - Hybrid Electric Vehicle

An EV that combines an internal combustion engine with an electric propulsion system. The charge on the batteries is maintained through regenerative energy from braking and from other onboard power sources (such as an internal combustion engine)


The North American (and Japanese) adopted SAE standard for the design of the Charge Coupler (a pin and sleeve device)

PEV - Plug-in Electric Vehicle

Any motor vehicle that can be recharged from an external source of electricity. The electricity is stored in rechargeable battery packs and either drives or contributes to driving the wheels

PHEV - Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

An HEV that incorporates a separate battery system where the charge is maintained by plugging into an external power source

Level 1 EVSE - 120 Volt Charging Equipment

Can fully charge an all-electric vehicle in about 18 hours. A plug-in hybrid may charge to capacity in as little as six hours depending on the capacity of the battery pack

Level 2 EVSE - 240 Volt Charging Equipment

Similar to what is used for a clothes dryer, and is well suited for more quickly charging PEVs. Charging time is approximately three to eight hours, depending on vehicle type

Level 3 EVSE - High Voltage Charging Equipment

While not formally defined, commonly known as fast or rapid charging and requires high levels of voltage and current to replenish more than half of an EV's battery capacity in as quickly as ten minutes

NEC- National Electric Code

A regionally adoptable standard for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment

NEMA- National Electrical Manufacturers Association

NEMA is the association of choice for the electrical manufacturing industry. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission, and distribution, control and end-use of electricity.

SAE International - Society of Automotive Engineers

A non-profit educational and scientific organization dedicated to advancing mobility technology