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A Guide to Electric Van Terms

electric charger
April 25th, 2022

As with any industry, the automotive sector is home to all sorts of terminology and abbreviations. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to the van world, you’re bound to get tripped up by the terms every once in a while.

With the move towards hybrid and electric vehicles gathering momentum, there is a whole new pool of terminology we must all get used to in the coming years. Van Sales UK has compiled this jargon-busting guide to help you get to grips with some common electric van terms.


PHEV stands for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. This means that your vehicle’s engine can charge the battery pack and your vehicle can also be plugged into a home or public charger.


MHEV stands for Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle. In these vans, a small electric motor with its own battery helps the conventional engine. The motor’s battery is charged purely by regeneration (see the next glossary entry).

It isn’t entirely clear how much this actually benefits the driver or the environment, but Ford has claimed that modest fuel savings are possible through MHEV technology.

Range Extender

Hybrid vans can be powered by a combination of electricity and fuel, which allows the wheels to be turned either by electric motors, the conventional engine and/or a combination of both.

Alternatively, they can be what is known as a range extender. In range-extending vans, the engine isn’t connected to the wheels at all. Instead, it is simply an onboard generator that charges the battery while your van is in use, therefore extending your vehicle’s range.


Regeneration is a valuable feature for those who drive electric vans. The concept is best explained using a real-life example.

Imagine you drive down a hill. In a conventional fuel-powered van, you’ll use your brakes (and potentially gears) to keep your speed at an acceptable level. In electric vans, the wheels will start to turn the motor, rather than the other way around.

One benefit of this is that the resistance effect this creates means you’ll have to use your brakes less and therefore can reduce wear, or at least slow down the wearing process of new vans. More importantly, the turning motor will add power back into the van’s battery, essentially giving you free miles by charging itself.


One of the simpler terms on this list, BEV stands for Battery Electric Vehicle. This just means the van is purely electric, not hybrid.


OLEV stands for Office for Low Emission Vehicles. This is the government department responsible for supporting the widespread adoption of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs).

If you’re looking to buy a van that uses electric or hybrid power, you may become familiar with OLEV, as they’re the people responsible for providing the grants which help cover the cost of home wall box charging points.

Looking for a quality electric van? Look no further than Van Sales UK. We have a wide range of electric vans for sale, whether you’re looking for new vans, used vans or even vans on finance. For some of the best van deals, you can trust us to find the perfect electric van for you and your budget. Contact us today for more information.


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