Your electric terminology explained.

BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle)

Petrol and diesel are never needed to get a BEV moving. It’s a vehicle that drives solely on battery power.

CO₂ (Carbon Dioxide)

CO2 is considered to be the main cause of greenhouse gases and a big contributor to global warming. It’s a colourless and odourless gas that’s produced during the combustion process of running a conventional car.

Combustion engine

These engines work by burning fuel and using its heat to create their mechanical power.

Cycle life

Every battery has a lifespan that’s determined by the number of charges it can undergo before it starts to lose its capacity. Volkswagen uses lithium rechargeable batteries which are great at retaining their capacity for charging; even when used daily. They use the highest quality components so that each battery will last as long as possible. We’re so confident in ours that we offer an eight-year warranty on everyone. We estimate that they can be charged several thousand times during their warranty without deteriorating.


Downsizing helps you to reduce your fuel consumption and lower your CO2 emissions by reducing the volume of your engine.

Electric vehicles (EVs)

Cars driven by electricity instead of fuel. This term can include any vehicle that uses a battery as its energy supply.

Energy recovery

Electric vehicles don’t just get their energy from electricity. Many have the capability to harness energy from other sources, such as the kinetic energy produced when you brake. Your generator can then store the energy for future use.

Fuel cell vehicle

An electric vehicle that generates energy from hydrogen. The only emission is water vapour, making it a big contender for the future of driving.

Full hybrids

An engine that has an electric motor and a combustion engine that can be used at different times, depending on the style of driving. These cars rely on both traditional fuel and electricity, sometimes at the same time.

Green electricity

Electricity that’s been generated from renewable energy sources, such as the wind, sun and sea. This is the kindest type of energy generation for the planet as it doesn’t use our fossil fuels.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV)

A vehicle that has a combination of at least two engines, such as a traditional combustion engine and an electric motor. Each engine is often used for a different style of driving, such as electric for shorter city drives, and combustion for longer, faster drives.

Lightweight construction

The more a vehicle weighs, the more fuel is needed to get it moving. Many manufacturers use a lightweight construction technique to save on weight, save fuel and reduce emissions.

Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries

A rechargeable battery that’s considered to be one of the best at retaining its charge capacity. One of the main problems with batteries that are used daily is that they stop being able to hold as much charge as time goes on. Lithium-ion batteries are capable of being charged hundreds of thousands of times without losing their capacity.

Memory effect

The term used for the capacity that’s lost over time with certain types of rechargeable batteries. It’s thought that batteries begin to learn your average energy demand and only provide that volume of energy instead of the full volume that it can reach.

Powertrain electrification

Electric motors are the most efficient way to drive, however to get the most out of your motor, you need a powertrain that can optimise the energy recovery. We call this powertrain electrification and the ultimate objective is to create one that is a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV).

Peak Oil

Oil isn’t a never-ending supply and the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that we will reach the maximum production level in 2020. After that, oil extraction will decline. This stage of maximum extraction is called “Peak Oil” and as a result, petrol and diesel fuel will become more expensive as oil becomes more scarce. This is why alternative drive technologies are so important.

PHEV (Plug-in hybrids)

A vehicle that combines a combustion engine and an electric motor. The rechargeable battery can be charged from a power socket and the combustion engine kicks in during longer drives. Plug-in hybrids can drive using just their electric motor for around 50km, which makes them great for city dwellers who occasionally take longer trips.

Post-lithium-ion batteries

The batteries of the future, these are the successor to today’s hero lithium-ion rechargeable battery. The hope is that they’re the key to unlocking long-distance electric mobility.

Quick-charging with Combined Charging System (CCS)

Standard charging requires an alternating current using a basic cable or a wall box, however quick-charging uses a direct current and can only be used at specially designed Combined Charging System (CCS) stations. In 20-30 minutes a battery can be charged to around 80%.

Smart Grid

A modern, more intelligent electrical grid that allows us to use pieces of technology that provide information and communication, like smart meters and smart appliances. It enables renewable energy sources to be integrated into the system; such as plug-in electric vehicle charging. Eventually, the smart grid will replace our current electrical grid so we can rely on more sustainable sources of energy.

Start/Stop system

A system that helps our cars save on fuel by stopping the engine when we’re stuck in traffic or coasting down a hill. The engine starts up again as soon as we press the accelerator or lift our foot off the brake. This is great for urban areas where cars often waste fuel when stuck in traffic.

TDI (Turbocharged Direct Injection)

A Volkswagen term that applies to diesel engines that have a direct injection and a turbocharger. This results in an engine that’s economical, has low emissions, high power output (torque) and very good power efficiency. It’s often considered to be a trademark of Volkswagen.

TSI (Turbocharged Stratified Injection)

A term used to classify a Volkswagen engine that uses a combination of turbocharging and direct fuel injection. The concept includes different charging versions and capacities and the technology allows these engines to be designed smaller, with lower fuel consumption and yet superior power.


This is the total environmental impact of a fuel throughout its life span; all the way from its production to its final use. With crude oil, this starts at the drill hole at the refinery and goes on to include the network of filling stations and vehicle tanks – we call this stage the “well-to-tank” path. The final stage of the fuel being used in a vehicle and the emissions generated as that vehicle burns the fuel is called the “well-to-wheel” path.

Zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV)

This term refers to a vehicle that does not emit harmful exhaust gases when driven. A zero-emissions vehicle must also receive its energy from renewable resources in order for it to fully qualify.


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