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Car Acronyms Explained

27 Oct 2023

Anyone with a car will undoubtedly come across a number of acronyms in their day-to-day lives, but with the car market growing – particularly with the introduction of the electric vehicle market – the number of acronyms is increasing.

We’ve put together a handy guide to keep you up-to-date on the common acronyms for the car industry.


The Anti-lock Braking System is a safety feature integrated in all modern cars. It ensures that your wheels do not lock up when you brake suddenly, helping to maintain their grip on the road.


Brake Horsepower is the measure of the amount of power a car’s engine can produce. Generally, the higher a car’s BHP, the higher the engine’s power, and the quicker the vehicle is.


Digital Audio Broadcasting is available in most modern cars, and brings you radio broadcasted via digital means instead of analogue. This means you have a wider range of radio stations to choose from, and you’ll experience less interference than analogue radios.


Electric Vehicles are becoming an increasingly popular choice of vehicle among motorists. They’re generally fitted with a type of fuel cell or battery which has to be charged for the engine to power up. Fuel is not needed for EVs.


Internal Combustion Engines refer to the diesel and petrol-powered cars we’ve grown up with. Invented over 100 years ago, ICE vehicles work by burning fossil fuels to generate energy for the engine.


Light Commercial Vehicles refer to any vehicle – usually a van – which weighs 3500kg or less.


Miles Per Gallon is a measurement of a vehicle’s fuel economy, literally referring to how far a car can travel on one gallon of fuel. The higher the MPG, the more fuel-efficient a vehicle is, and therefore more economic to run.


Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles are fitted with a standard internal combustion engine as well as a small battery pack. The electric battery assists with certain manoeuvres and aspects of driving to lessen the pressure on the combustion engine, in turn saving fuel. As the power of the electric battery is only mild, the car cannot run on this power alone.


Personal Contract Purchase is a type of vehicle financing, which is an increasingly popular way to buy a car.


Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles combine an internal combustion engine with a larger electric battery. A vehicle can travel for longer distances on the electric battery before the fuel-powered engine has to kick in. Many people choose a PHEV as a stepping stone from ICE vehicles to EVs.


Revolutions (revs) Per Minute refer to how many ‘rotations’ the engine makes in one minute. The more you push down on the accelerator without changing up a gear, the higher the RPM will be.


Sport Utility Vehicles are bigger cars with bigger wheels that can drive on a variety of rough terrains, and give a better performance in all weather.

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