Frequently asked questions



Batteries and power sources




What is an electrically propelled vehicle? - Vehicles

An electrically propelled vehicle is a vehicle where all or part of the driving torque to the wheels is delivered by one or more electric motors.



What is an electric vehicle? - Vehicles

An electric vehicle is a vehicle where the driving torque to the wheels is delivered exclusively by one or more electric motors.



What is a battery-electric vehicle? - Vehicles

A battery-electric vehicle is an electric vehicle where the electric energy to drive the motor(s) is stored in an on-board rechargeable battery.



What is a hybrid vehicle? - Vehicles

A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle with at least two different kinds of either or both:

  • stored energy for vehicle propulsion
  • powertrains, of which at least one is electric



What is an electric bicycle? - Vehicles

An electric bicycle is a bicycle with an auxiliary electric motor supporting the bicyclist during operation. The electric motor only delivers torque when the cyclist is actually pedalling.



What is a fuel cell vehicle? - Vehicles

A fuel cell vehicle makes use of a fuel cell as on-board energy source. It can either be fitted with a fuel cell only ('pure fuel cell vehicle') or with a fuel cell complemented with a battery ('hybrid fuel cell vehicle').
One should note that in any case the fuel cell vehicle is an electric vehicle.



What is regenerative braking? - Vehicles

Electric motors can also act as generators. During regenerative braking, the motor can thus take kinetic energy from the wheels, slowing the vehicle, and send this energy, in electric form, back to the battery. Depending on traffic conditions and on the topography on the road, an energy saving of typically 10% is possible this way.



What is a "plug-in" hybrid? - Vehicles

A "plug-in" hybrid vehicle can replenish its energy storage both by filling up with fuel and by recharging the battery from the grid (plugging in), adding to the flexibility of use.



What is a fuel cell? - Batteries and power sources

A fuel cell is a device which directly converts the chemical energy of a fuel (e.g. hydrogen) into electrical energy.



What is the specific energy of a battery? - Batteries and power sources

The specific energy of a battery gives the amount of electrical energy stored in the battery per unit of mass. It is expressed in Wh/kg. The specific energy is a measure of the range a vehicle can cover with a certain type of battery.



What is the specific power of a battery? - Batteries and power sources

The specific power of a battery gives the amount of electrical power that can be delivered per unit of battery mass. It is expressed in W/kg. The specific power is a measure of acceleration performances of the vehicle with a specific battery.



What is conductive charging? - Infrastructure

Conductive charging is a charging system where the transfer of electric current is performed through a continous conductive path, consisting of cables, socket-outlets, plugs, connectors and couplers.



What is inductive charging? - Infrastructure

Inductive charging is a charging system which transfers energy from the supply network to the vehicle electromagnetically using a two-part transformer, without conductive contact.



Which power is needed to charge an electric vehicle? - Infrastructure

A "normal" charge typically needs a power of 3,5 kW, which can be delivered by any standard 230 V, 16 A outlet.



How long is the charging time for an electric vehicle? - Infrastructure

With a normal 3,5 kW charge, one hour of charge corresponds to 15-20 km of driving. A full charge of an empty battery takes 6 to 8 hours.



What is opportunity charging? - Infrastructure

Opportunity charging means giving the vehicle a (partial) charge whenever there is access to an electric outlet, for example during parking at a charging station or power-equipped parking space. This practice greatly enhances the daily mileage that can be covered and thus the flexibility and deployability of the electric vehicle.



What is semi-fast charging? - Infrastructure

Semi-fast charging typically makes use of a power of about 7 to 10 kW and allows to charge two or three times as fast as normal charging. It needs a dedicated power-outlet, the power of which (32 A single phase or 16 A three phase) can still be accomodated however by most electric installations.



What is fast charging? - Infrastructure

Fast charging makes use of high power (20 kW or more) allowing to charge the battery up to a level of 80% in 30 minutes. It is mostly done by a direct-current connection and needs a heavy and expensive fixed infrastructure and electric connection.



What is "Type 1" charging? - Infrastructure

"Type 1" charging, as defined in the international standards, means to make use of standard, non-dedicated socket-outlets.
In some countries, Type 1 charging is not allowed for charging stations in the public domain.



What is "Type 3" charging? - Infrastructure

"Type 3" charging makes use of dedicated power-outlets fitted with additional safety measures such as a control pilot, which guards the continuity of the protective conductor and which makes sure only a properly connected electric vehicle will get access to electric current. With no vehicle connected, the socket-outlet is dead.
Type 3 is the preferred mode for charging stations on the public domain.



Which safety measures have to be taken to charge an electric vehicle? - Infrastructure

To perform a Type 1 charging, for example in a private parking space, an adequate safety level necessitates that the socket-outlet is protected by suitable overcurrent protection and by a "residual current device". These devices are now mandatory in all new electrical installations.
Furthermore, if vented batteries with aqueous electrolyte are used, the charging space must be adequately ventilated.



What is a clean vehicle? - Environment

A clean vehicle is a vehicle with a minimal impact of the environment. A way to achieve this goal is the use of electric propulsion. The "cleanliness" of a vehicle can be measured with the Ecoscore.



What is Ecoscore? - Environment

Ecoscore is a methodology to compare the environmental impact of vehicles, taking into account various environmental aspects (greenhouse effect, health, acid rain, noise,...), synthesizing them into one score figure. Ecoscore was developed by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in collaboration with VITO. More information can be found at (in Dutch and French)




CITELEC is the Association of European cities interested in the use of electrically propelled vehicles. It is an international non-profit association under Belgian law, founded in 1990 under the aegis of the European Community.



Who can be member of CITELEC? - CITELEC

Effective members of CITELEC are cities, towns, local authorities or bodies representing these (e.g. transport companies) located in the European Union.
Cities outside the European Union, or other organisations anywhere, can become associate members.




© 2004 CITELEC. All rights reserved. Reproduction allowed with indication of source.