Tech Info: Glossary of Terms


ACAlternating Current, an electrical system where voltage oscillates in a sine wave.
BatteryAn energy storage device based on chemical reactions. Used as the power source for electric vehicles.
BLDCBrushLess Direct Current, refers to a type of motor which has no commutator or brushes, instead having its magnetic field rotated via electronic switching.
Circuit BreakerAn electronic device designed to switch off automatically when current flow through the device exceeds a threshold. Used as a resettable fuse for safety.
CommutatorThe part of a brush motor's rotor which controls transmission of power into the rotor coils to maintain magnetic field rotation.
DCDirect Current, referring to a type of electrical flow where current flows continuously in one direction.
EVElectric Vehicle, any vehicle which uses electric motors as its sole means of propulsion.
HEVHybrid Electric Vehicle, any type of vehicle which uses an electric motor as a supplement to it's prime mover (usually a petrol engine).
ICEInternal Combustion Engine, a type of machine which converts fuel and air into mechanical motion by burning it in an enclosed space. Sometimes called Infernal Combustion Engine.
IGBTInsulated Gate Bipolar Transistor, a type of semiconductor transistor designed for high power amplifiers.
Lead AcidAn old type of rechargeable battery commonly used in older electric vehicles and as auxilliary batteries in ICE vehicles.
LFPLiFePO4, or Lithium Iron Phosphate, a type of lithium ion battery technology boasting very long lifespans and (relatively) robust operating range.
Lithium IonA type of battery which uses lithium ions as the charge carrier. Very high power density, though relatively expensive.
Lithium PolymerA newer type of lithium ion battery, offering the highest power densities though at the expense of robustness. (Not very tolerance of overcharging or overtemperature conditions.)
MOSFETMetal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor, the most common type of transistor used in modern amplifiers and motor speed controllers.
PHEVPlug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, a type of hybrid vehicle which has the option of having its batteries recharged from an external source (such as mains power). Usually they have a larger battery enabling ~50km range on electric drive alone.
PWMPulse Width Modulation, a high-efficiency technique for controlling voltage output in a motor controller or voltage converter.
RegenAbbreviation for Regenerative Braking, a system where the electric drive motor is used as a generator to recover kinetic energy from the vehicle while slowing it down.
RotorThe part of an electric motor which rotates (connected to the drive shaft).
SepexAbbreviation for Separately Excited, referring to the way in which a DC motor's field coils are energised. In a Sepex motor, they require a separate power source.
Shunt1) A very low value, high power resistor used as a reference for current measurement. Using ohms law, the voltage drop across the known resistance is proportional to the current flowing. 2) A format of DC motor, referring to the field coils being connected in parallel with the rotor coils.
StatorThe part of an electric motor which does not rotate, usually referring to the field coils.
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