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Learning language of electric cars

The BMW i8 hybrid-electric concept vehicle is seen at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles November 16, 2011.

Photograph by: Danny Moloshok, Reuters

New technology invariably means all of us have to learn a new language. As electric and alternative fuel vehicles roll out, a whole new set of abbreviations and acronyms have entered the automotive lexicon. Here is a current glossary of terms:

• AC motors – Alternating Current motors

Some EVs (Chevrolet Volt, Ford Azure Dynamics Transit Connect) use an Alternating Current induction motor. Some can be three-phase AC motors, which are more compact and less costly as a single-phase motor.

• BEV – Battery Electric Vehicle

Used by Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i MiEV, etc.

• CHAdeMO – an abbreviation of CHArge de MOve

According to Wikipedia it is an abbreviation of O cha demo ikaga desuka in Japanese. This roughly translates as “How about some tea?” – a reference to having to wait while an electric vehicle charges. The CHAdeMO protocol is a proposed global standard that can deliver up to 62.5 kW of high-voltage direct current to a car’s battery. This means it can charge a 16-kWh battery to 80 per cent capacity in 20 minutes.

• Conductive coupling

The transfer of electricity by means of physical contact of a conductive medium. This is how the current EVs are charged.
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