25 EV charging abbreviations you need to know

Most industries, from science to healthcare to marketing, are chock full of acronyms, to the point where reading or listening to anything related to the industry can be mystifying to anyone on the “outside”. 

The electric vehicle industry is no exception. In fact, abbreviations are so common in this industry that we were able to create an entire article out of them.

Whether you’re new to the world of electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging (or you’ve been around for a while and are, at this point, too afraid to ask), we hope that this list helps you understand more about the world of electric vehicles.

the most common ev abbreviations and what they mean

In a hurry? Click on the abbreviations to jump to the definition.


AC (Alternative current)

This type of charging is useful for charging electric vehicles at different speeds through an alternating current. Electric vehicle charging always comes out as AC. With an AC charger, the power is converted to DC by the vehicle itself. This type of charging is economical but takes longer. 

Typical AC charging powers are 3.7kW, 11kW, 22kW (the higher, the faster). However, note that AC charging speed is not only dependent on the charging device capabilities; charging speed is also defined by the vehicle's AC charger. 

BEV (Battery electric vehicle)

BEVs are a type of electric car that exclusively get their energy from rechargeable battery packs. BEVs do not have an internal combustion engine, a fuel tank, or a fuel cell. 

CCS (Combined charging system)

It offers both AC and DC charging on the same port and provides power of up to 350kW. This is the industry-standard method for public charging stations and also home charging set-ups in Europe and America. It may also be called a “combo plug”. 

CHAdeMO (CHArge de MOve)

Contraction of CHArge de MOve, CHAdeMo is a fast (DC) charging technology. The expression finds its roots in the following Japanese sentence: “O cha demo ikaga desuka”, which translates into “would you like a cup of tea?”. The reference to tea is here to remind us that it takes very little time to charge the battery of a CHAdeMO vehicle.

CPM (Charging point manager)

This refers to a type of software responsible for smart charging, i.e., allocating power to different electric vehicles to make sure that each one charges as quickly as possible. It relies on customisable algorithms to work efficiently. 

CPO (Charging point owner)

A CPO is an operator who owns and oversees the operation of electric vehicle smart charging points.

DC (Direct current)

DC is one of the two types of ‘fuel’ that can be used to power electric vehicles. Unlike AC charging, converted into DC power by the car, DC charging can convert the AC power into DC right in the plug itself. DC chargers are larger, more expensive, but faster. It will be more common at public charging stations, such as at a rest stop charge point.

DLM (Dynamic Load Management)

Dynamic Load Management (or DLM) refers to an EV charging technology that makes it possible to evenly distribute the electricity to all the vehicles that might be plugged simultaneously. In other words, DLM optimises charging speed and prevents all grid congestion episodes.

DSO (Distribution system operator)

These are the operating managers and/or owners of energy distribution networks.

EMP (Electro-mobility provider)

An EMP is a company that provides customers access to an electric vehicle charging network. They will often offer a tracking service such as an app for evaluating the availability of charging stations. EMPs are also responsible for determining the price of electric vehicle charging. 

EMSP (Electro-mobility service provider)

EMSP is simply another way to say EMP (electro-mobility provider). 

EV (Electric vehicle)

EV stands for electric vehicles (or electric cars). EVs are equipped with a battery-powered motor instead of a traditional internal combustion engine. Contrary to PHEVs and HEVs, EVs do not have a gasoline tank and output zero tailpipe emissions. They are associated with a lower carbon footprint than traditional vehicle types.

EVSE (Electric vehicle supply equipment)

EVSE refers to equipment that exists to supply electrical energy for charging electric vehicles. It can be residential (such as an at-home charger) or commercial (such as chargers at malls, workplaces, rest stops, etc.).

GHG (Greenhouse gas)

Greenhouse gases are gases in the atmosphere that trap the sun’s heat and warm the Earth, contributing to climate change. The Earth’s most common greenhouse gases are ozone, nitrous oxide, water vapour, methane, and carbon dioxide. Cars with internal combustion engines emit greenhouse gases through their tailpipe.

HEV (Hybrid electric vehicle)

HEVs use both electric batteries and gasoline. More often than not, the electric motor is here to assist the internal combustion engine, during the acceleration phases, for instance. Note that HEVs cannot be plugged into regular EV charging stations. Batteries replenish themselves via the energy generated by the combustion engine or via regenerative braking.

ICE (Internal combustion engine)

Internal combustion engines use liquid fuel (gasoline) to create energy to power traditional vehicles. ICE cars are the most common vehicle on the road (although an increase in EV infrastructure means electric cars are becoming more accessible). 

kW (kilowatt)

kW is a measurement unit used to determine how much power an electrical appliance consumes. 

kWh (Kilowatt-hour)

kWh defines the amount of energy that is required to power an electrical appliance for one hour.

PHEV (Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle)

PHEVs rely on both electric batteries as well as gasoline to power an ICE. These vehicles run on electrical power until the battery is depleted and automatically switch to the ICE. Charging hybrids can also be plugged in to charge their engine. 

RFID (Radio-frequency identification)

RFID is a type of technology that links a card to an account. It can be used in electric vehicle charging to quickly and conveniently start a charge through tapping. 

TSO (Transmission system operator)

TSO is a term defined by the European Commission that describes an organisation in charge of transporting energy and maintaining the infrastructure for transporting energy.

V2B (Vehicle-to-building)

Vehicle-to-building is a technology that lessens a building’s energy consumption by drawing on the untapped energy of multiple idle electric vehicles. 

V2G (Vehicle-to-grid)

V2G is a new smart charging technology that can push the energy stored in electric cars’ batteries back to the power grid. As we’re increasingly relying on renewable energies to power the grid, V2G is the technology that will stabilise the grid when the energy produced via renewable solar or wind sources can’t meet the demand.

V2H (Vehicle-to-home)

A technology that allows the battery of an electric vehicle to power an entire home (or other building of similar size). This is a bi-directional system with the power to convert energy between AC supply and electric car battery. 

V2X (Vehicle-to-everything)

A technology that allows the battery of an electric car to provide general backup power in the case of an outage. 

Ready to step into the future of mobility?

Electric vehicle charging can seem complicated at first glance, especially when industry leaders keep using acronyms you don’t necessarily understand. 

See this post as our Mea Culpa, and we hope that it will help you grasp the unique business opportunities the EV industry offers. The more you know, the more apparent it will become that electric vehicles are the way of the future!

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