Radnabenmotor: An electric motor that is not located centrally in the vehicle, but directly on the wheel. It was already used in electric cars such as the Lohner-Porsche at the beginning of the 20th century, but has now disappeared from mass-produced cars, among other things because of its high weight in an inconvenient place causes problems with driving comfort and the space for the steering mechanism becomes tight. This is currently not offset by the numerous advantages. These include, among other things, the increase in installation space in the body, the possible elimination of drive shafts and the gain in driving dynamics and safety through the possible wheel-selective control of the drive force.
Range Extender: Usually a small combustion engine that does not use its power to drive the wheels, but rather a power generator that recharges the batteries while driving. This should make it possible to continue making progress even after the supply of electricity drawn from the socket has run out. However, this is only a kind of emergency solution, as the engine is designed to be relatively economical, but in the end it does not work very efficiently. The BMW i3 has relied on technology for a long time – but since battery capacities have increased, the Munich-based company has dispensed with the auxiliary motor. Mazda, on the other hand, wants to add an electric vehicle with a range extender based on a Wankel engine to its range for the first time in the future.
Rekuperation: The recovery of kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost in the form of heat when braking is not a privilege of the electric car. Cars with start-stop systems have been using the technology for years. While the electricity generated in conventional cars is used to relieve the load on the generator/alternator, in electric cars it directly benefits the drive. However, only a relatively small portion of the braking energy flows back into the battery as charging energy.
Unbalanced load: Means the uneven load on the power grid. This is supposed to be prevented in Germany by your unbalanced load regulation, which severely restricts single-phase charging of electric cars. Instead of the technically possible around 7 kW, affected vehicles in this country can only legally get 4.6 kW from the network. Three-phase charging electric cars, on the other hand, recharge with up to 22 kW, i.e. more than four times as fast. Different rules may apply in other countries.
Fast charging: The term is used differently by each manufacturer. In the relevant legal texts on e-mobility you can find the definition that all charging processes with outputs above 22 kW could be referred to as fast charging. Another possible distinction would be alternating current charging (AC, up to a maximum of 44 kW) versus direct current charging (DC, from 50 kW). In practice, the choice of definition makes little difference, as there are hardly any AC charging points with an output of more than 22 kW in this country. The number of suitable vehicles is also rather small. In addition to fast charging, the term ultra-fast charging (“High Performance Charging”, HPC) has recently become commonplace. This usually refers to the DC charging stations from the Ionity operator consortium, which deliver up to 350 kW – currently the top value in Europe.
Plug types: Almost any electric car can charge from a normal household socket. Beyond that it becomes difficult. The EU has decided on the so-called Meneckes Type 2 plug as the standard for public charging stations; the plug is already included in the charging cable of most electric cars. However, other types of plugs are currently in use in other European countries. Even in this country, the DC plugs for fast charging stations are inconsistent. While the German manufacturers rely on the CCS system, the Japanese and French use the Chademo standard for their models. The types are not compatible. Only CCS couplings are legally required in Germany.
Electricity supplier: It supplies the charging stations with electricity. Only one supplier can work for each pillar. The company is not necessarily the operator of the charging station (CPO) or e-mobility provider (EMP).
Supercharger: Tesla’s free charging stations for its own brand vehicles. The Tesla system in Europe initially used a modified Type 2 plug, which, unlike its counterpart used by other brands, also allows direct current charging of up to 250 kW. Columns and vehicles are now being converted to the CCS standard. The batteries of Model S, Model In total, Tesla says it operates over 1,800 charging stations in Europe with a total of almost 16,000 charging points, mostly on important highways, to enable its customers to travel longer in an electric car. Vehicles from other brands cannot use Superchargers, but Tesla models can refuel at Type 2 and, if necessary, CCS charging stations.
The supercapacitor: Unlike batteries, supercapacitors store energy electrically rather than electrochemically. This means they can be charged more quickly and release their energy quickly. While supercapacitors have been common in camera flash units for years, they are still relative novelties in automobile construction. Mazda uses the power storage systems for braking force recovery, for example; in Formula One they are already part of the hybrid system and provide electricity for acceleration. Volvo is currently experimenting with making entire vehicle parts out of supercapacitors, which can then be used in cars in a virtually space-neutral manner. However, supercapacitors can charge quickly, but not very much current. Their energy density is extremely low. They are therefore hardly an option as the sole source of energy for vehicle propulsion; Rather, they will probably serve as a supplement to normal batteries in the future – especially when it comes to braking energy recovery.
Temperaturmanagement: Batteries become hot under sustained load. This not only affects the power output of the energy storage devices, but also their ability to store electricity. After a long journey or at high temperatures, it can happen that full power can no longer be accessed from charging stations. This phenomenon has become known as “Rapidgate”. Some, but by no means all, e-mobiles have a cooling system that keeps the battery at the optimal temperature. Other manufacturers are trying to master the problem with intelligent charging software. If you drive a lot or rely on fast charging, you should still choose a model with active cooling.