E-Glossary

An A to Z of electric vehicle terms explained clearly

Frunk, MEB, recuperation and BEV – while many new technical terms relating to electromobility and electric vehicles may be important, they are not particularly easy for laypeople to understand. Our A–Z electric vehicle glossary provides an overview of the most important e-terms – explained simply.

A

After purchasing their (electric) vehicle, AMAG customers can also benefit from extensive services, including attractive additional offers, competent advice from highly trained employees, a large range of products, high-quality spare parts and state-of-the-art workshop equipment. All electric vehicles are maintained by skilled employees using the relevant infrastructure.  

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The fleet of purely electrically powered vehicles available at AMAG is growing constantly; every AMAG brand dealership – VW, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, CUPRA, VW NF – has a variety of electric models on offer. There are also numerous vehicles that are classed as hybrids and plug-in hybrids, too. Are you looking to switch to e-mobility?

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Since the e-tron was launched in 2018, the German vehicle manufacturer has been steadily working towards an electric future. With its second e-tron model – the e-tron Sportback – Audi has continued along this path, and all without compromising driving pleasure or dynamics. An electric Q4 – the Q4 e-tron – and the e-tron GT, Audi’s most powerful electric model, are also available. In terms of PHEVs, Audi comes up trumps with its comprehensive TFSI e range. 

Discover Audi’s e-models

By downloading the autoSense app, you can access various smart e-services, including a digital logbook and information about the vehicle. However, the central feature allows you to analyse your own driving behaviour at any time, allowing you to drive in a more fuel-efficient and vehicle-friendly way. The app also reports faults in the vehicle – and you can also book an appointment with the AMAG garage directly via the autoSense app. All in all, the app makes mobility more efficient, safer and more convenient. 

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B

You will find a battery as an energy storage device at the heart of every electric vehicle. To avoid confusion with the starter battery, the e-battery is also called a traction or high-voltage battery. It supplies the vehicle with energy. As a general rule, lithium-ion batteries (consisting of aluminium, lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite and copper) are fitted in electric vehicles since they offer high performance and durability. To extend the battery life, it helps to adopt a more moderate driving style – no frequent, hard acceleration or prolonged driving at full throttle.  

BEVs stands for Battery Electric Vehicles. BEVs mainly draw their electricity from charging stations and store it in the battery. BEVs are distinguished from HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles), i.e. hybrid vehicles, PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) and FCEVs (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles), i.e. hydrogen vehicles. 

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C

Charging capacity is the electrical power in kilowatts (kW) with which a traction battery is charged. Example: If you use your home charger to charge your e-vehicle for two hours at 22 kW, that equates to 44 kilowatt hours in total. 

These are petrol stations designed for the electric era: charging stations in public spaces. However, at present, only about 20% of charging processes take place at such pumps, with the rest being completed at home. In Switzerland, wall boxes are more widespread than DC (rapid) charging stations since they are cheaper to produce and maintain. However, public infrastructure is constantly being expanded. You can find charging stations in your region by searching for a Charging Station Finder on the internet. AMAG is investing heavily in its own charging infrastructure: charging facilities are now available at all locations, with 50 kW rapid chargers available at twelve locations.   

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At home or in public? Charging strategies are primarily a question of infrastructure: Does my apartment block have any wall boxes? Where is my nearest public charging station? Depending on where the battery is being charged, the charging process also takes different lengths of time. Home charging can be done overnight, also known as slow charging. This protects the battery and your wallet. Rapid charging, offered at powerful public charging stations, only takes a quarter of an hour, but it costs more as a result. On the other hand, smart charging refers to charging electric vehicles when electricity is cheap.   

Buy a home charging station

Electric vehicles are particularly well-suited to city life. Large cities have sufficient infrastructure, and the range (which is lower than SUVs) is more than sufficient for mainly fairly short journeys. What’s more, drivers will never have issues finding parking when opting for a compact model such as the VW ID.3. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), such as the Golf GTE or the Leon e-Hybrid, are also ideal in this situation. 

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An electric vehicle’s carbon footprint is better when more electricity comes from renewable energy sources. This is the case in more and more countries, including Switzerland, where an electric vehicle still produces 30 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. By comparison, a petrol car emits more than twice as much from production to disposal. Incidentally, electrosmog is not an issue with electric vehicles since there is no outwardly measurable electromagnetic radiation. 

Low temperatures in winter have an effect on electric vehicles: they consume more energy in cold weather because the interior, windows, seats and steering wheel, as well as the battery itself, have to be heated with electrical energy from the drive battery. As a consequence, the range decreases by between 10 and 30%. This must be taken into consideration when planning a journey. A heat pump, which comes as standard on many electric vehicles, can also be used in cold weather. It ensures that the battery is supplied with a sufficiently high temperature. 

AMAG is wholly committed to electromobility, focusing on driving forward the transition to sustainable, electric transport. AMAG’s goal is to become the leading provider of sustainable individual mobility solutions.   

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Spanish car manufacturer CUPRA has confirmed it will launch a new all-electric model in 2021. The striking CUPRA Born demonstrates that electric vehicles can be both sporty yet perfectly suitable for everyday use thanks to its excellent range of 420 kilometres. The plug-in hybrid Leon and Formentor models are also available.  

Discover the CUPRA models

D

AC/DC – a term which may be known to some thanks to the famous rock band of the same name – stands for alternating current and direct current. DC is important for electric vehicles: energy stored in batteries is available as direct current. However, since sockets supply alternating current, the electricity must first be converted for an electric vehicle. When using a wall box at home, this is done via the AC/DC converter installed in the vehicle; when using a public charging station, this is already done at the “fuel pump”. As far as connectors are concerned, a Type 2 connector is standard in Europe for AC charging, while a CCS connector is standard for DC charging. 

Electric vehicles are powered by the electric motor. This is where the electrical energy in the battery is converted into mechanical energy by generating magnetic fields. These magnetic fields either attract or repel each other, thus generating power that drives the electric vehicle. 

E

This term relates to converting current conventional drive types, such as petrol and diesel, to battery-electric vehicles. Fully electrifying passenger transport in Switzerland would require 20 to 25% more electrical consumption added to today’s figures. However, it will probably be a while yet before we achieve total electrification: a study conducted by the consulting firm Ernst Basler + Partner (EBP) assumes that around 60% of passenger transport will have been electrified by 2040. 

ŠKODA’s electric SUV is modelled on the Irish name Enya, which means "kernel of life” in ancient Celtic. Visually, the car is reminiscent of the ŠKODA Kodiaq; from a technical point of view, the car is available in three battery sizes of 52, 58 and 77 kWh, which allow ranges of up to 520 kilometres. 

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Detail

Audi’s electric models are grouped under the umbrella name “e-tron”. Audi’s all-electric SUV is also available in the e-tron Sportback, e-tron S, e-tron S Sportback, e-tron GT, RS e-tron GT and the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron variants.   

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The AMAG vehicle subscription offers a very practical way to test an electric vehicle over the long term. Ten electric vehicles are currently on offer with terms of 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. Monthly instalments include all fixed costs such as insurance, taxes, service, maintenance, a motorway toll sticker and tyre changes. By taking out a subscription, you are able to answer questions about electromobility really easily, e.g. “Is the range sufficient for me and my needs?” and “How good is the charging infrastructure in my day-to-day life?”.  

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F

For families with children, AMAG offers a whole range of electric vehicles perfectly suited to everyday life that provide enough space and storage, as well as a long range for going on trips and holidays – from the Audi e-tron and the VW ID.4 to the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV. Which electric SUV would you like to test drive? 

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If you want to drive the latest electric vehicle, have planning security and remain independent in the long term, AMAG Leasing is the best choice for you. Simply choose your preferred model and AMAG will take care of the rest. What’s more, our LeasingPlus offer means you can also benefit from a carefree package from a single source – as a result, you won’t have to worry about any risks or unforeseen costs. At the end of the term, simply return the vehicle and choose a new e-model just as easily. 

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Companies are also considering electric vehicles: as soon as the distance an employee has to drive matches the range offered by an electric vehicle, it is worthwhile making the switch. It is crucial that there is suitable charging infrastructure at the business or at the employee’s home. The benefits of electromobility: operating costs are reduced and acquisition costs are quickly amortised. What’s more, electric vehicles require significantly less maintenance than combustion engines. Last but not least, companies that opt for electromobility solutions receive subsidies in many places. 

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The term frunk – combining the words “front” and “trunk” – refers to the boot at the front of the vehicle. While this is where the combustion engine is located in most conventional vehicles, there is often space here in an electric vehicle, since the drive and associated technology are smaller or are located in the rear of the car. However, not all electric vehicles automatically come with a frunk.  

Those who travel on electric also save on “fuel”. Electricity is significantly cheaper than petrol: for a 100-kilometre journey, the electricity required costs about 4 to 5 Swiss francs, whereas petrol quickly adds 10 to 12 Swiss francs to the bill. 

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The experts are all agreed: the future belongs to electromobility. Charging technology and charging infrastructure will continue to improve, and the production of electric vehicles and batteries should become more sustainable. And with an increasing number of units being produced and further technological developments, costs will also reduce significantly: according to forecasts, they should be halved by 2035. 

G

An electric motor is far simpler than a combustion engine: therefore, electric vehicles do not usually have a proper gearbox as such, instead having just a single-speed transmission. The reason? An electric motor draws its power over an extremely wide speed range, which is why changing gears is simply unnecessary. For the driver, the whole experience is just like driving an automatic – you simply turn on the ignition and shift to D for Drive. 

Gran Turismo, or GT for short, represents luxurious sports cars, like those offered by several car manufacturers. Audi developed the e-tron Gran Turismo specifically for Formula E, based on the model of the same name from the popular Playstation game. The AMAG range also includes the Audi RS e-tron GT and the Audi e-tron GT quattro. 

Buy Audi GT models online

H

Wall boxes, which can be installed in your garage at home, can provide a higher charging power of up to 22 kW compared with conventional household sockets that only manage a maximum of 3.7 kW, which is not recommended for charging electric vehicles. The charging time using a wall box is 2 to 6 hours. In terms of energy efficiency, a “smart” charging station is recommended as it enables zero-emission charging, as it is connected to a solar PV system, such as the one offered by AMAG. 

Buy a home charging station

Hybrid means combining the two drive concepts of a combustion engine with an electric motor. They either work individually or together to produce the necessary drive. The degree of electrification is indicated by the additions “mild”, “full” and “plug-in”. Only the plug-in hybrid drive can be charged via a charging cable. In a classic hybrid, the combustion engine charges the battery. 

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I

The ID.3 and the ID.4 are VW’s two flagship electric vehicles. The ID.3 is available in three different battery sizes (45, 58 and 77 kWh) and achieves an impressive range of 550 kilometres with the largest version.  

Discover the VW ID.3

Modelled on the VW Tiguan, the ID.3’s big brother – the ID.4 – impressed the experts right from the start. In fact, it was even voted “World Car of the Year 2021” by an expert jury. Depending on the version, this powerful electric SUV achieves a range of 360 to 520 kilometres. 

Discover the VW ID.4 

In principle, electric vehicle insurance is structured in the same way as conventional car insurance. However, to be thoroughly covered if the battery gets damaged, fully comprehensive insurance is recommended. There is a difference in the premium – and a pleasant one at that: various insurance providers offer an electric vehicle discount on their insurance premiums.  

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J

Joule is a unit of energy, named after the British physicist James Prescott Joule (1818-1889). It takes about one joule to raise a mass weighing 1 kilogram on earth by 10 cm. We can derive the power unit “watt” from the energy unit “joule”: watt (W) is the unit for electrical power. The charging capacity of an electric vehicle is specified in kilowatts (kW). An electric vehicle’s battery capacity is calculated in kilowatt hours (kWh).  

M

If you drive an electric vehicle, you can save on servicing and maintenance in the long run.  This is because an electric motor contains far fewer parts that are susceptible to wear and damage than an internal combustion engine. According to a study by the German Institute for the Automotive Industry (IFA), maintenance costs are around a third lower overall. Nevertheless, having the electric motor, on-board charger, battery and inverter serviced annually by a specialised mechatronics technician is absolutely essential for ensuring vehicle safety and helping retain its value. 

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The Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) is a consistent vehicle platform developed by VW specifically for electric vehicles. It serves as the basis for all electric models, from small cars to multi-purpose vehicles. The aim is to offer extra space, convenience and range. With the MEB, VW is applying the skateboard principle to its cars. 

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N

When choosing a new electric vehicle, you do not have to compromise on colour, vehicle equipment or alloys. Why not customise your dream vehicle from among AMAG’s brands – VW, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, CUPRA and VW Commercial Vehicles –right now online, or book a test drive first? 

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O

You can also raise any concerns you may have about your electric vehicle conveniently via the web: make an online appointment for servicing, damage repair and test drives. 

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P

Electric vehicles can also be very sporty. For example, VW is launching its first all-electric performance variant – the VW ID.4 GTX. The GTX is equivalent to the GTI badge used on petrol models and is intended to be the distinguishing feature of Volkswagen’s performance vehicle range in future. A few figures: the ID.4 GTX accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds, has a whopping 299 PS and can travel 480 kilometres on a single battery charge. 

Discover the VW ID.4 GTX 

Unlike other hybrid variants, plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) can be charged via a plug. As soon as the battery is flat after driving between 30 and 80 kilometres, the vehicle continues driving like a normal combustion engine. Since a plug-in hybrid can drive purely on electric, it is considered an electric vehicle. PHEVs offer a longer range than BEVs.  

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Q

The Audi Q4 e-tron will be launched during 2021 – the first Audi to be based on VW’s MEB platform, a modular e-drive system designed specifically for electric vehicles. Its range will be up to 520 kilometres. 

 Discover a Q4 e-tron

R

The range indicates how many kilometres an electric vehicle can cover on a single charge. How far it actually travels also depends on the individual driving style (the gentler you drive, the further you will go). The on-board computer continuously calculates a forecast value for the remaining range based on your driving style. The range also depends on the outside temperature, the route itself and the topography of the route to be driven.  

Recuperation (from the Latin recuperare meaning “to recover”) means energy that can be recovered. When an electric vehicle brakes, the electric motor generates electricity and feeds this energy back into the battery. This also means that the brakes wear less. 

Through recycling, up to 95% of the relevant functional materials cobalt, lithium, aluminium and copper can be recovered from discarded electric vehicle batteries. Another possibility is to “retire” the batteries by using them for “second life” applications, such as stationary electricity storage units in the home.  

Even though electric vehicles have components that are less susceptible to ageing, minor damage can happen at any time, which is why regular maintenance is still essential. For example, damage can affect the battery due to wear and tear of individual cells. However, these can be repaired quite easily by having a specialist replace the affected module. The batteries need to be replaced completely after about eight to fifteen years. 

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S

Electric vehicles can be considered safe. As a general rule, the battery is fitted to the underbody using a stable battery housing made of steel or aluminium, meaning that the battery remains undamaged even in the event of a violent collision. So far, there has been no evidence that electric vehicles burn faster than diesel or petrol vehicles. The danger of rolling the vehicle is also minimised thanks to the electric design: given the significant weight of the battery and its protective body, the centre of gravity on an electric vehicle is lower than that of a conventional passenger car. In the event of a collision, the high-voltage cable between the electric drive and the battery pack is also disconnected very quickly. 

The Spanish car manufacturer is focusing on plug-in hybrid models (PHEVs). The Leon e-Hybrid and the Leon Sportstourer e-Hybrid are taking centre stage. SEAT has announced that it then plans to build a new electric vehicle from 2025. The Born electric vehicle is already available from SEAT’s subsidiary CUPRA. 

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If you want to take a step into the world of electromobility with a second-hand model: benefit from AMAG’s largest selection of used models in Switzerland and choose your dream car online – or why not arrange a free test drive?  

Buy a second-hand electric vehicle 

In addition to general after-sales services, AMAG also guarantees electric vehicles will be maintained by highly trained employees using the relevant infrastructure. What’s more, a service specifically for Teslas is also available. 

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When arranging individual components in an electric vehicle, the “skateboard principle” has become the norm: the battery is located between the axles in the underbody, while the electric motor and the electronics are placed on the rear and/or front axle. This results in a low centre of gravity, but also allows the available space to be better used than in vehicles with an internal combustion engine. 

With the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV, ŠKODA is adding another electric SUV model to the AMAG fleet, and also intends to hit the accelerator when it comes to other electric vehicles since further models are planned by 2025. The OCTAVIA iV and SUPERB iV are among the PHEVs on offer. 

Discover the ŠKODA electric vehicle 

A study by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment has shown that electric vehicles are already more sustainable than conventional combustion cars in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. The environmental friendliness of electric models is further enhanced when renewable energy is used for charging, such as via solar panels. Higher production volumes should also further improve efficiency and, in turn, the environmental footprint of the vehicles. 

AMAG offers several powerful electric SUVs. VW has the ID.4 on offer (range up to 520 kilometres). Audi is championing the e-tron (550 kilometres) and ŠKODA manufactures the ENYAQ iV (520 kilometres). Hybrid and plug-in hybrid SUV models are also available. 

Test drive an electric SUV 

T

To further promote electromobility in Switzerland, wholly electric vehicles are exempt from import tax. In some cantons, there is also a tax rebate available for hybrid vehicles. Head to the website for your particular Road Traffic Office to find out what applies in each canton.  

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The battery in an electric vehicle must handle two temperature challenges. In winter, it is affected by the cold, and in summer, high temperatures have a negative effect on the battery because damage may occur due to dissolving chemical bonds. Therefore, the battery must be cooled. A thermal management system ensures that the battery temperature is always kept within the ideal range of 15 to 35 °C. It would only become critical if the battery reached temperatures of about 130 °C, which could lead to short circuits and chemical reactions, as well as fires. 

When it comes to torque, electric vehicles are very different to petrol cars. At up to 15,000 revolutions per minute, the maximum speed achieved by an electric motor is three times higher than that of a combustion engine. The reason? From the very beginning, the full torque is available to the electric motor over a wide speed range, which is why a fixed-ratio gearbox – or in other words, one single gear – is sufficient.  

Going on holiday in an electric vehicle is not an issue. Firstly, the ranges offered by many models are now so high that closer holiday destinations, such as Tyrol, South Tyrol and Bavaria, can easily be reached without needing to recharge en-route. For more distant locations, recharging will be necessary. However, this is not an issue – particularly in Austria, Germany and France – as it can be done at motorway service stations. In Italy, charging stations are somewhat sparse so it is important to plan carefully. But there are tools to help you do so, such as ABRP or PUMP. VW ID models feature a route planner as standard: it calculates suitable charging stops when going on long journeys. 

V

Electromobility has been promoted at VW for many years. By 2030, VW plans to have around 70% of its fleet offered as purely electric models. The German car manufacturer already has a wide variety of electric models in its range, both as private and commercial vehicles. These include the ID family – which consists of the ID.3, the ID.4 and soon the ID.5 – as well as various concept vehicles such as the ID.Buzz and the e-variant of the famous VW Camper. VW’s commercial vehicles include the e-Crafter and the ABT e-Transporter 6.1. VW also offers plug-in hybrids: Golf GTE, Passat GTE variant, Tiguan eHybrid, Touareg eHybrid and Arteon Shooting Brake eHybrid. 

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W

Most charging stations are activated via special charging cards or apps. A few are free of charge, while others can be paid for directly using a credit card. VW offers the “We Charge” programme. This means that over 6000 charging points (AC) and 500 fast chargers (DC) can be accessed in Switzerland. Charging processes are listed in the We Connect ID. app, as are the applicable tariffs. 

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Since 1 September 2017, fuel consumption values for new cars have been determined based on the WLTP procedure – the “Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure”. This procedure is used to determine the range of electric vehicles. It is now carried out under stricter and more practical conditions than in the previous NEDC procedure. For example, as part of the WLTP, the simulated test distance is longer and the vehicle is tested at higher speeds.  

X

The term crossover has become established in the car world for models that cannot be explicitly assigned to any vehicle genre. As a result, smaller and more compact SUVs are called crossovers.  

Y

The Model Y is Tesla’s latest offering. AMAG is the largest Tesla-certified partner in Switzerland: a technician must be factory-trained by Tesla in order to repair damage to Tesla bodywork. In addition, special infrastructure is required for handling aluminium and high-voltage vehicles, including the appropriate special tools. Only selected companies meet these high standards – AMAG is one of them.  

Tesla repair service 

Z

Millennials are the first truly electric vehicle generation – they are practically growing up with electromobility. Studies have shown that the majority of this generation actually prefers BEVs. Millennials are also the first to be able to pass their driving test in an electric vehicle: relevant offers are gradually gaining momentum in this country.  

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