EV charging glossary

Last updated: 6/2/2024

We know EV terms can get nitty-gritty really quickly – and the EV revolution is rapidly introducing more. We've put together this glossary so you can read up on the most common EV terms:


AC charging

AC stands for alternating current and is a type of power most commonly used for EV charging. Level 1 in North America and Level 2 in North America or Europe home and public chargers both use AC power.


An EV adapter allows an EV to connect to different types of EV chargers. For example, Teslas can use adapters to connect to other types of EV chargers.

AER (All-electric range)

All-electric range is an EV's maximum driving range using its battery.


BEV (Battery electric vehicle)

A BEV is an EV that runs only on electricity. BEVs provide the greatest cost and environmental benefits.


CCS (Combo)

CCS stands for combined charging standard, a set of charging standards commonly used for fast charging.


CHAdeMO is a type of DC fast charging connector. Tesla public fast chargers use CHAdeMO adapters.

Charging curve

Charging curves visually show how much energy an EV battery takes in over time while charging. Charging rates generally slow down as batteries get closer to a full charge – which is why it's good to charge your EV to 80% most of the time.

Charging rate

Charging rate refers to how long it takes to charge an EV. Battery size, station power, and state of charge all affect charging rate.

Charging station

A charging station refers to where you charge your EV both in public and at home.


Different types of EV charging connectors, also called plugs, work with different vehicles, charging speeds and locations. Level 2 AC charging uses a J1772 or NACS (Tesla) connector in North America, or a Type 2 plug in Europe. DC fast (Level 3) charging connectors in North America include CHAdeMO, CCS Type 1 (CCS1) and NACS (Tesla). In Europe, DC rapid charging may use the CCS Type 2 (CCS2) connector or CHAdeMO.


DC fast charging (DCFC)

DC stands for direct current. With DC fast charging, the DC charger converts AC power from the grid into DC power for the battery, so vehicles can charge faster. Level 3 is another term for DC fast.

DC Quick Charging (DCQC)

This is another abbreviation for DC fast charging.


EV (electric vehicle)

An EV or electric vehicle runs on electricity. EVs are rapidly becoming the preferred car globally because of cost and environmental benefits. The three types of EVs are Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and Hybrids.


Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2) are generated by by burning fossil fuels. ICE vehicles are a leading cause of GHG emissions. Switching to EVs significantly reduces GHG emissions.



A hybrid vehicle runs on both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and a small electric battery.


ICE (Internal Combustion Engine)

ICE vehicles are old-fashioned cars that run by burning fossil fuels or other liquids. While still the dominant vehicle, they are quickly being replaced by EVs for cost and environmental benefits.


When an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle parks in an EV charging spot and prevents an EV driver from charging, an EV driver has been “ICEd.”


Kilowatt (kW)

A kilowatt is a measure of power or the rate at which energy is used. Kilowatts influence the speed of EV charging.

Kilowatt-hour (kWh)

A kilowatt-hour is a measure of energy use over time and is used to track the amount of energy added to an EV battery while charging. More kWh means more energy for an EV to run on.


Level 1 (L1)

In North America, Level 1 (L1) AC charging is the slowest type of EV charging. Level 1 requires no special equipment and can connect to a standard wall outlet delivering AC power.

Level 2 (L2)

Level 2 (L2) AC charging is the intermediate type of EV charging. Many EVs use Level 2 charging at home and in public.

Level 3 (L3)

Level 3 (L3) DC charging is the fastest type of EV charging. EVs can use Level 3 charging in public when going long distances or when time is scarce.


Miles of range per hour (RPH)

Miles of range per hour or RPH refers to an estimate of how far an EV can travel on one hour of charging.



NACS is an EV connector type and stands for North American Charging Standard. The NACS connector is most commonly associated with Tesla and works for both AC and DC charging.

Networked charging

Networked charging is when an EV charger is connected to a larger smart network of EV chargers like ChargePoint, unlike standalone EV chargers that are not part of a broader EV charging network.


PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle)

PHEVs run on both gas engines and electric batteries. Some PHEVs first run on electricity and then switch to gas when electricity runs out. Others use both simultaneously. PHEVs are not as efficient as BEVs but offer more environmental and cost benefits than hybrids.


Another term for an EV's connector.


A port is where a station's connector plugs into an EV to charge. The different types of connector plugs all have corresponding ports.

Public charging

Public charging refers to EV charging stations available to people away from home. Popular public charging stations can be found at parks, libraries, grocery stores and on the road. Use an app like ChargePoint to find public charging stations right for your EV and location.


Range anxiety

Range anxiety refers to the fear people switching from ICE vehicles to EVs have about running out of electricity on the road. New EV drivers quickly discover that running on electricity is not that different from running on gas as batteries and tanks both have reasonable limits for drivers.

Real-time availability

Real-time availability refers to immediate knowledge of charging station availability in the ChargePoint app. The ChargePoint app provides info about real-time station availability to make charging and driving an EV even more affordable and convenient.

Regenerative braking

Regenerative braking refers to when an EV captures the energy from a driver pressing the brakes. EVs capture and use this energy to charge their batteries.

RFID card

An RFID (radio frequency identification) card, such as a ChargePoint card, allows EV drivers to connect, charge and pay when needed at public charging stations. While not as convenient as charging apps like ChargePoint, RFID cards are a good backup.


Smart charging

Smart charging refers to chargers that are connected to a network. The network allows the chargers to be managed remotely and unlocks smart features like pricing, access control for specific groups of drivers or scheduling charging at times when energy costs are low.

State of charge (SOC)

The state of charge refers to the percentage of charge for an EV battery. For example, 0% is empty and 80% is functionally full to preserve an EV battery's lifespan.


Tap to Charge

Tap to Charge is ChargePoint's proprietary app feature that enables EV drivers to begin charging instantly at certain EV charging stations.


A fun way to describe finishing charging your EV.


An EV turtles when its battery runs low by reducing speed to save energy. An EV's ability to turtle provides drivers with peace of mind on long-distance trips, although running out of battery is very rare as most EVs will remind drivers repeatedly to charge.



Different ways to measure and describe the electrical current that charges your EV.



Waitlist refers to the ChargePoint app's premium feature that enables drivers to virtually get in line for a particular station instead of waiting in person. EV drivers love the Waitlist feature for convenience and time saving.


ZEV (Zero-Emission Vehicle)

Zero-emission vehicles are cars that emit no greenhouse gasses. Full battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are Zero-Emission Vehicles.

Share This: Facebook Twitter Linkedin Pinterest Mail

Need more help?

ChargePoint is always here for you. Call us 24/7 at 1-888-758-4389 or get help online.

Cityscape transparent drawing