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Useful Vocabulary Terms and Abbreviations

5369 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  ARob
Welcome new members! As you read through these forums, you'll run into a lot of unfamiliar vocabulary terms and abbreviations if you are new to electric vehicles. Here is a handy document that explains some of the most common ones. If you would like to see additional terms added to this list, or corrections made to existing items, contact the author or moderator(s) to add an item. The thread is locked to comments to keep it as a guide rather than a discussion.

Most useful

- Guess-O-Meter, the snarky nickname for the range estimate displayed on the Driver Information Center (DIC). This will rarely indicate the advertised range (238 miles for early models, 259 for later models). A lower displayed range is NOT an indicator of battery degradation by itself, nor are you somehow guaranteed the EPA range at any point. The guesstimated range will depend on how efficient you’ve been driving, weather conditions, terrain, tire pressure and wear, use of the air conditioner or heater, weight of passengers and cargo, and other factors. When your driving is less efficient, or when the battery is partially depleted, your range estimate will be less than advertised. The good news is, the opposite is true so when your driving is more efficient, your range will be higher than advertised.

All terms

- Amps\Amperes. Intensity of electrical current equal to 1 coulomb per second. Volts x Amps = Watts (eg 120V x 12A = 1440W = 1.44 kW).

AC - Alternating Current. What our homes have and what our Bolt motors use to move the car.

Ah - (also A-h or A h) Ampere hour or Amp hour, is a unit of electric charge. It is equivalent to an electrical charge of 1 Amp sustained for 1 hour. 32 amps in a 3-hour period is 96 Ah of energy stored. See also kWh which is more commonly used. Volts x Amps = Watts (eg 120V x 12A = 1440W = 1.44 kW).

Battery Conditioning (sometimes just "Conditioning") - the process used to maintain the battery within certain temperature limits. The Bolt has a liquid cooling system, unlike some earlier electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf that relied on only air cooling.

BEV - Battery Electric Vehicle, is a vehicle that exclusively uses energy stored in a battery pack, without additional sources of energy like a combustion engine or fuel cell. The Chevy Bolt is a BEV.

BMS - Battery Management System, a control system on the vehicle that regulates many aspects of the battery, including how fast it charges, cooling or heating to maintain a safe temperature range, etc. Also, TBMS - Thermal BMS, regulates battery temps.

Build Code - the 4 or 5 digit code used to describe the status of a new Bolt from order to delivery. For a full list of codes, see this post.

Camping Mode - an unofficial term used to describe the process of keeping the Bolt turned on indefinitely. It involves starting the vehicle, shifting out of Park, and avoiding opening the driver door.

Circuit Breaker - Detects overload conditions and cuts off energy if too much is being demanded by the “load.” Excessive loads generate excessive heat, which can cause fires if left uncontrolled. Homes used to use Fuses, but these must be replaced any time an overload condition occurs. Many low voltage circuits still use fuses.

DC - Direct Current – How energy is stored in batteries, DC is supplied by Level 3 DC Fast Chargers for charging our EVs.

DCFC - (also Level 3 Charging, L3, or Rapid Charging) Direct Current Fast Charging. DC charging bypasses the AC\DC inverter on the EV and DC power is fed directly to the battery. Typically, DCFC equipment is 400V DC at 125A (50 kW) or higher.

DIC - Driver Information Center, is Chevy's fancy term for the Bolt's 8" display behind the steering wheel that displays speed, range from the Guess-O-Meter, etc.

EV - Electric Vehicle, which tends to include Battery Electrics (BEV) like the Bolt, Plug-in Hybrids (PHEV) like the Chevy Volt, but does not typically include Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) like the Prius.

EV Mobile Command package - Chevrolet service connected to the MyChevrolet app, free to original owner (new purchase) for 5 years. Even without OnStar, this service provides access to remote commands, including lock / unlock, preconditioning, horn / lights.

EVSE - (sometimes incorrectly called "charger") Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, is the electrical device used to connect an electric vehicle to an electrical power source to charge the battery pack. EVs have an inverter onboard which converts AC to DC, and vice-versa, which is the real “charger” when using AC power sources (like plugging into a 120V or 240V outlet in your home, or a public Level 1 or Level 2 station). The EV's onboard charger converts AC to DC so it can be stored in the batteries. The equipment plugged into your home's electrical outlet, or at the public Level 1 or Level 2 stations, is the EVSE.

GFCI - (also just GFI) Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, is an electrical safety device designed to quickly and automatically disconnect an electrical circuit when it detects a current leakage. When a certain amount of power goes to ground, a GFCI Circuit Breaker will “trip” to cut off the flow of energy to protect both the load and source from damage.

HEV - Hybrid Electric Vehicle, a car that combines an electric motor / battery pack and a gasoline engine for power. HEV is most commonly used to refer to a car that can only recharge the battery pack via the gasoline engine, unlike a PHEV (below). HEVs may also use the gasoline engine to provide power directly to the wheels.

ICE - Internal Combustion Engine, commonly used in reference to cars that burn gasoline for fuel.

ICEing - When an ICE parks in a public EV charging space, blocking access to chargers.

Infotainment System - The radio, but much more. It is the control center for settings, entertainment center, and displays additional information too difficult to display on the DIC.

kW - kiloWatt, 1000 Watts, a measurement of electrical power (energy used per unit time). kW describes the amount of power being supplied to the battery during charging, or to the motor during driving. For EVs, a kW measurement is like measuring horsepower for an ICE. Volts x Amps = Watts (eg 120V x 12A = 1440W = 1.44 kW).

kWh - kiloWatt hour, 1000 Watt hours, a measurement of stored electrical energy. Utilities bill based on kWh, many chargers also charge by the kWh. For EVs, a kWh measurement of the battery pack is like measuring gallons of gasoline for an ICE. Volts x Amps x Time = Watt hours (eg 120V x 12A x 3 hours = 4320 Watt hours = 4.32 kWh).

Level 1 Charging (L1) - 120V AC charging. For the Bolt in the U.S., this uses the EVSE cord supplied by Chevrolet. This is rare in public chargers. The Bolt max charging power on 120V is 1.44kW (12 A), regardless of the brand of EVSE used.

Level 2 Charging (L2) - 208 to 240V AC charging, common in public chargers and third party EVSE for homes. The Bolt max charging power is ~240V at 32A (48A on 2022 models) which equals 7.78 kW (~11kW for 2022 models).

"Level 3 Charging (L3)" (also DCFC or Rapid Charging) - DC charging bypasses the AC\DC inverter on the vehicle itself, and the charging station feeds DC power directly to the battery. Typically, DCFC equipment is 400V DC at 125A (50 kW) or higher. "Level 3" is not a formal term, but is used informally to describe DCFC.

LION - Lithium Ion, the chemistry of the most common type of battery for electric vehicles. LION batteries are also used in everyday electronics like cell phones, laptops, etc.

Load - The amount of energy being consumed. An EV is a load on a home circuit when it is consuming energy from an outlet just like a light bulb or appliance.

Main Panel - the electrical panel that contains Circuit Breakers for the wiring circuits in a building.

Monroney - the official name of the window sticker, that includes information about the included options and price. To view your Bolt's Monroney sticker online, add your VIN to the end of this website link:

MSRP - Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price, the price established by GM as a recommendation for dealerships to sell to customers. Dealerships can charge more or less depending on circumstances such as market conditions, inventory, timing, incentives, etc.

OBD-II (also OBD2) - On Board Diagnostics, provides detailed internal data about the vehicle's systems through a connection port, typically located below the dashboard on the driver's side. To connect to the OBD2 port and scan the sensor data, one uses an ODB2 scanner and an app, such as the Android app Torque Pro ($5) or the iOS app EngineLink ($6).

OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer, tyipcally used to describe the official part provided by the manufacturer for the vehicle.

PHEV - Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, a hybrid electric vehicle that can be plugged in to recharge the battery pack. Like HEVs, PHEVs can also use the gasoline engine to recharge the battery pack or provide power directly to the wheels.

PID - Parameter IDentifier, a code used to request data from a vehicle's diagnostic system. PIDs for the Chevy Bolt are available from and can be used with the Android app Torque Pro ($5) or the iOS app EngineLink ($6) and an OBD-II scanner.

QMerit - Electrician referral service used by GM to subsidize the installation of Level 2 (240V) outlets for customers as one of the benefits of buying a new 2022+ Bolt.

RFID card - Radio Frequency IDentification card, a plastic card like a credit card or loyalty card, used to activate public charging stations on some networks. Most public charging stations have an app, but stations sometimes don't connect with the app correctly, so using that networks' RFID card may be more reliable.

SOC - State of Charge, a measure of how "full" the battery pack is, as a percentage. For example, the Hilltop Reserve setting for 2017-2019 Bolts typically limits the battery pack to a maximum of ~88% SOC when being recharged. 2019-2021+ Bolts have a Target Charge setting that allows the owner to set a maximum SOC while recharging, in 5% increments.

TSB - Technical Service Bulletin, the official name for repair instructions published by GM for known issues on their vehicles.

TOU - Time of Use, a rate plan offered by many utilities. The idea is, pay more during high demand periods (Peak), less in low demand periods (Off-Peak). Using the Bolt's Utility Rate Schedule, or an EVSE capable of setting charging schedules, EV owners can set and forget and ensure their EV charging occurs on Off-Peak periods in order to enjoy lower utility costs.

V - Volt. The pressure that causes electrons to flow. Typically, 120V or 240V in our homes, higher in commercial applications sometimes. Volts x Amps = Watts (eg 120V x 12A = 1440W = 1.44 kW).

VIN - Vehicle Identification Number, the 17 digit number that uniquely identifies each vehicle. The last 7 digits are a serial number that reflect, roughly, the order in which a vehicle was manufactured. The previous letter (in front of those last 7 digits) indicates the model year.
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Welcome new members! As you read through these forums, you'll run into a lot of unfamiliar vocabulary terms and abbreviations if you are new to electric vehicles. Here is a handy document that explains some of the most common ones:
"V - Volt. The pressure that causes electrons to flow."

Volt is analogous to pressure for Americans. For Europeans it is called tension. Of course, in reality, it is neither.
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Link to a decent YT video covering the charging terminology aspect on this topic:
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