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What’s An EV? What’s An ICE? What’s A C-Segment Car?

There are several terms that we frequently use on CleanTechnica which are not particularly common among the broader population, so I decided to create a glossary to help out with this.

There are several terms that we frequently use on CleanTechnica which are not particularly common among the broader population, so I decided to create a glossary to help out with this. It’s an easy place for those of us who use the abbreviations often to link when others need an explanation. Here’s the start of that glossary.

Vehicle Powertrains

FFV Fossil Fuel Vehicle. All vehicles with a tailpipe.
ICE Internal Combustion Engine. (Also used by some for the vehicle.)
ICEV Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle.
HEV Hybrid Electric Vehicle. This is a 100% FFV, with no plug but with increased efficiency using a small battery and some technology borrowed from electric vehicles. They are also called “electrified vehicles” or “self charging” vehicles. Some types are “Mild Hybrids,” if they borrow the absolute minimum from electric vehicles. Pioneered by Toyota and Honda, HEVs are now widely used by others to reach EU emission targets.
PHEV Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle. This is not a 100% FFV vehicle. The driver has the opportunity to use electricity from the grid for limited driving. The driving is limited in range and often also performance.

The battery is a bit larger than those used in HEVs.

The PHEV best can be an alternative for those visiting the outskirts of habitation, like Northern Finland or parts of Canada, regions without charging infrastructure or an electric grid.

The pure electric range is mostly between 10–30 miles, but longer range is starting to become less exceptional.

BEV Battery Electric Vehicle. The most common vehicle without a tailpipe. The first of these did have very little range on a full charge due to the price of batteries, or were very expensive. Now, however, most new models have at least an acceptable range and are priced in the middle of the market.

Some call these vehicles Pure Electric Vehicles (PEV), which causes confusion with the next acronym.

PEV Plugin Electric Vehicle. The combination of both plugin hybrids (PHEVs) and tailpipe-less battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
HFCV Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle – Also called FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle) or FCV. It has a water outlet that is called a tailpipe.

It is the remnant of hope among some that hydrogen could one day replace gasoline as the main source of energy for road transport. HFCVs have been 5 years in the future for the past 30 years. About 20 years ago, batteries became more promising, and 10 years ago, batteries started to conquer the market. HFCVs really do not have much of a future left in most of the world.

Vehicle Classes/Sizes

A-segment Mini Volkswagen Up!, Fiat Panda/500, Toyota Aygo, Japanese Kei cars.
B-segment Small Volkswagen Polo, Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, Opel Corsa.
C-segment Lower medium VW-Golf, Renault Megane, Audi A3, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic.
D-segment Medium BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, Volkswagen Passat.
E-segment Large BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6.
F-segment Luxury BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8.

Anything else you’d like to see added to this glossary?

Featured image courtesy Volvo, other photos from Tesla.

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Written By

Grumpy old man. The best thing I did with my life was raising two kids. Only finished primary education, but when you don’t go to school, you have lots of time to read. I switched from accounting to software development and ended my career as system integrator and architect. My 2007 boss got two electric Lotus Elise cars to show policymakers the future direction of energy and transportation. And I have been looking to replace my diesel cars with electric vehicles ever since. At the end of 2019 I succeeded, I replaced my Twingo diesel for a Zoe fully electric. And putting my money where my mouth is, I have bought Tesla shares. Intend to keep them until I can trade them for a Tesla car. I added some Fastned, because driving without charging is no fun.


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