Skip to main content
European Commission logo
European Alternative Fuels Observatory


AcronymFull nameDescription

Alternative Fuels

Alternative Fuels means fuels or power sources which serve, at least partly, as a substitute for fossil oil sources in the energy supply to transport and which have the potential to contribute to its decarbonisation and enhance the environmental performance of the transport sector. They are defined in Article 2(1) of AFID.
AFIAlternative Fuels InfrastructureAlternative Fuels Infrastructure refers to electricity recharging or alternative fuels refuelling infrastructure.
AFIDAlternative Fuels Infrastructure DirectiveDirective 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure; OJ L 307, 28.10.2014, p. 1–20; available here:
AFIRAlternative Fuels Infrastructure RegulationProposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure, and repealing Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council; available here:
BEVBattery Electric VehicleBattery Electric Vehicle, also known as all-electric or 100% electric vehicle, means an electric vehicle that exclusively runs on the electric motor, with no secondary source of propulsion.
Bi-directional recharging Means a smart recharging operation where the direction of the electricity flow may be reversed, allowing that electricity flows from the battery to the recharging point it is connected to.
CCSCombined Charging System (Combo 2)Refers to the Combined Charging System (Combo 2), as described in standard EN 62196-3. All DC recharging points deployed in the EU must be equipped, for interoper­ability purposes, at least with connectors of the Combined Charging System (Combo 2).
CEFConnecting Europe FacilityThe Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is a key EU funding instrument to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment at European level. It supports the development of high performing, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy and digital services.
CHAdeMO"CHArge de MOve"Trade name of a quick recharging system for battery electric vehicles delivering up to 62.5 kW of high-voltage direct current via a special electrical connector.  It enables seamless communication between the car and the recharging point. It is developed by the CHAdeMO Association, which is also tasked with certification, ensuring compatibility between the car and the recharging point.
CNGCompressed Natural GasCompressed natural gas (which is mainly composed of methane, CH4), to less than 1 percent of the volume it occupies at standard atmospheric pressure. Usually it is stored in cylindrical or spherical shapes.
Connector Means the physical interface between the recharging point and the electric vehicle through which the electric energy is exchanged.
CPRecharging PointA Recharging Point means a fixed or mobile interface that allows for the transfer of electricity to an electric vehicle, which, whilst it may have one or several connectors to accommodate different connector types, is capable of recharging only one electric vehicle at a time, and excludes devices with a power output less than or equal to 3,7 kW the primary purpose of which is not recharging electric vehicles.
DSODistribution System OperatorA Distribution System Operator means an operator as defined in Article 2, point (29) of Directive (EU) 2019/944: a natural or legal person who is responsible for operating, ensuring the maintenance of and, if necessary, developing the distribution system in a given area and, where applicable, its interconnections with other systems, and for ensuring the long-term ability of the system to meet reasonable demands for the distribution of electricity.
e-roaming Means the exchange of data and payments between the operator of a recharging or refuelling point and a mobility service provider from which an end user purchases a recharging service.
EAFOEuropean Alternative Fuels ObservatoryRefers to the current web portal:
EGVIEuropean Green Vehicles InitiativeThe European Green Vehicles Initiative was a contractual Public Private Partnership (cPPP) set up under Horizon 2014-2020 work programme, dedicated to delivering green vehicles and mobility system solutions of the future which match the major societal, environmental and economic challenges. It was succeeded in 2021, under the Horizon Europe 2021-2027 framework, by the European Green Vehicles Initiative Association for the 2Zero partnership (EGVIAfor2Zero).
Electric road system Means a physical installation along a road that allows for the transfer of electricity to an electric vehicle while the vehicle is in motion.
eMSP or MSP(Electro-)Mobility Service ProviderMeans a legal person who provides services in return for remuneration to an end user, including the sale of a recharging service.
ESOEuropean Standardisation Organisations

European Standardisation Organisations adopt European standards to harmonize technical requirements or for technical interoperability, following a mandate from the European Commission to this end, in accordance with Article 10 of Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council. Those standards should be based on current international standards or ongoing international standardisation work, where applicable.

ESREffort Sharing RegulationRegulation (EU) 2018/842 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 on binding annual greenhouse gas emission reductions by Member States from 2021 to 2030 contributing to climate action to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement and amending Regulation (EU) No 525/2013; OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, p. 26–42; available here:
ETSEU Emission Trading SystemDirective 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a system for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Union and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC; OJ L 275, 25.10.2003, p. 32–46; available here:
EVElectric vehicleA motor vehicle equipped with a powertrain containing at least one non-peripheral electric machine as energy converter with an electric rechargeable energy storage system, which can be recharged externally; Electric Vehicle covers BEV, FCEV and PHEV.
Fast AC recharging point Refers to a triple-phase AC recharging point with a maximum power output higher than 22 kW.
Fast DC recharging point Refers to a DC recharging point with a maximum power output equal to, or higher than 50 kW, but lower than 150 kW.
FCEVFuel cell electric vehicleVehicle which uses a fuel cell to power its on-board electric motor, generally using oxygen from the air and compressed hydrogen. A fuel cell electric vehicle that is fueled with hydrogen emits only water and heat.
FCH JUFuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint UndertakingThe Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) was a public private partnership supporting research, technological development and demonstration (RTD) activities in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies in Europe. Its aim was to accelerate the market introduction of these technologies, realising their potential as an instrument in achieving a carbon-clean energy system. End 2021, it was officially succeeded by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership (also called the Clean Hydrogen JU).
FQDFuel Quality Directive 98/70/ECDirective 2009/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 98/70/EC as regards the specification of petrol, diesel and gas-oil and introducing a mechanism to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and amending Council Directive 1999/32/EC as regards the specification of fuel used by inland waterway vessels and repealing Directive 93/12/EEC; OJ L 140, 5.6.2009, p. 88–113; consolidated version available here:
GHGGreenhouse gas(es)A gas that contributes to the natural greenhouse effect. The Kyoto Protocol covers a basket of six greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced by human activities: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.
HDVHeavy-Duty VehicleMeans a motor vehicle of categories M2, M3, N2 or N3 as defined in Annex II to Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 September 2007 establishing a framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles (Framework Directive) (OJ L 263, 9.10.2007, p. 1) - i.e., lorries, buses and coaches (vehicles of more than 3.5 tons).
HEVHybrid Electric VehicleA Hybrid Electric Vehicle is a vehicle that combines a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) system with an electric propulsion system, which cannot be recharged externally.
High power recharging point Means a recharging point that allows for a transfer of electricity to an electric vehicle with a power output of more than 22 kW.
ICE(V)Internal Combustion Engine (Vehicle)An Internal Combustion Engine is an engine which generates motive power by the burning of petrol, oil, or other fuel with air inside the engine, the hot gases produced being used to drive a piston or do other work as they expand. An ICE vehicle is a vehicle propelled by an internal combustion engine.
IEAInternational Energy AgencyThe IEA was created in 1974 to help co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in the supply of oil. The IEA has considerably evolved since and today, the IEA recommends policies that enhance the reliability, affordability and sustainability of energy more broadly. It examines the full spectrum issues including renewables, oil, gas and coal supply and demand, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies, electricity systems and markets, access to energy, demand-side management, and much more.
IPCCIntergovernmental Panel on Climate
A scientific intergovernmental body established to provide decision-makers and others interested in climate change with an objective source of information about climate change.
kWhKilowatt hourRefers to a unit of energy equal to 1,000 watt-hours, or 3.6 megajoules. The kilowatt-hour is commonly used as a billing unit for energy delivered to consumers by electric utilities
LCALife-Cycle AssessmentLife Cycle Assessment is an internationally standardised methodology (ISO 14040 ff). LCA helps to quantify the environmental pressures related to goods and services (products), the environmental benefits, the trade-offs and areas for achieving improvements taking into account the full life-cycle of the product. In its Communication on Integrated Product Policy (COM (2003)302), the European Commission concluded that Life Cycle Assessments provide the best framework for assessing the potential environmental impacts of products currently available.
LCVLight Commercial VehicleRefers to N1 category vehicles, as defined in UNECE standards: vehicles used for the carriage of goods, having a maximum mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes - i.e., vans but also including pick-up trucks.
LDVLight-Duty Vehiclemeans a motor vehicle of categories M1 or N1. i.e. passenger car(s) and light commercial vehicle(s) (e.g., van(s)) as defined in Annex II to Directive 2007/46/EC
LNGLiquid Natural GasNatural gas (predominantly methane) that has been converted to liquid form for ease of storage or transport. The liquefaction process involves cooling the gas to around −162 °C and removing certain impurities, such as dust and carbon dioxide. As a liquid, LNG takes up around 600 times less volume than gas at standard atmospheric pressure.
LPGLiquefied Petroleum GasA group of hydrocarbon gases, primarily propane, normal butane and isobutane, derived from crude oil refining or natural gas processing. These gases may be marketed individually or mixed. They can be liquefied through pressurization (without requiring cryogenic refrigeration) for convenience of transportation or storage.
Medium-speed AC recharging point Refers to a triple-phase AC recharging point with a maximum power output equal to, or higher than 7.4 kW, but lower than 22 kW.
NEDCNew European Driving CycleThe former official EU test protocol to measure fuel consumption, CO2 and pollutant emissions from passenger cars. The protocol received strong criticism regarding its effectiveness to reduce CO2 emissions in real world operating conditions, for which reason it was replaced by the WLTP test procedure.
NIRNational Implementation Report

Refers to the reports Member States have to submit to the European Commission in accordance with Article 10.1 of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive on a tri-annual basis, and for the first time by or before 18 November 2019. By means of those reports, Member States must inform the Commission about the implementation of their National Policy Frameworks and describe the measures taken in the reporting Member State in support of alternative fuels infrastructure build-up. The Commission is under an obligation to review those National Implementation Reports and report on progress to the European Parliament and to the Council.

Normal power recharging point Means a recharging point that allows for a transfer of electricity to an electric vehicle with a power output less than or equal to 22 kW.
NOxNitrogen oxidesRefers to nitric oxide (NO) and/or nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions.
NPFNational Policy Framework

Refers to the National Policy Frameworks Member States were required to adopt and report to the European Commission before 18 November 2016. NPFs include national targets for the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure in the respective Member State.

OPSOn-shore Power Supply or Shore-side Electricity SupplyMeans the provision of shore-side electrical power through a standardised interface to seagoing ships or inland waterway vessels at berth.
PHEVPlug-in hybrid electric vehiclemeans an electric vehicle constituted by a conventional combustion engine combined with an electric propulsion system, which can be recharged from an external electric power source
PMParticulate matterAn air pollutant consisting of small particles. Their small size allows them to make their way to the air passages deep within the lungs where they may be deposited and result in adverse health effects. They also cause reduced visibility (smog). Particulate matter is usually divided into three subcategories, based on the average aerodynamic diameter of each particle, with the understanding that the smaller the particle, the more harmful it is to human health: PM10, PM2.5 and PM0.1.
QR codeQuick Response codemeans an ISO 18004-compliant encoding and visualization of data
Recharging pool 

Refers to one or more recharging stations at a specific location.

Recharging station


Means a single physical installation at a specific location, consisting of one or more recharging points.
RED IIRenewable Energy Directive (EU) 2018/2001Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources; OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 82–209; consolidated version available here:
Ro-Ro Passenger ShipRo-Ro passenger shipa ship with facilities to enable road or rail vehicles to roll on and roll off the vessel, and carrying more than 12 passengers
Slow DC recharging point Refers to a DC recharging point with a maximum power output lower than 50 kW.
Smart recharging Means a recharging operation in which the intensity of electricity delivered to the battery is adjusted in real-time, based on information received through electronic communication
STFSustainable Transport ForumThe STF was set up to assist the Commission in implementing the Union’s activities and programmes aimed at fostering the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure to contribute to the European Union energy and climate goals. The STF serves as a platform for structural dialogue, exchange of technical knowledge, cooperation and coordination between Union Member States and relevant public and private stakeholders. It currently consists of the 27 EU Member States, complemented by 30 organisations with specific expertise in alternative fuels.
TEN-TTrans-European Transport Network

The Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) policy addresses the implementation and development of a Europe-wide network of railway lines, roads, inland waterways, maritime shipping routes, ports, airports and railroad terminals. The ultimate objective is to close gaps, remove bottlenecks and technical barriers, as well as to strengthen social, economic and territorial cohesion in the EU. The current TEN-T policy is based on Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013.

TEN-T comprises two network ‘layers’:
- The Core Network includes the most important connections, linking the most important nodes, and is to be completed by 2030.
- The Comprehensive Network covers all European regions and is to be completed by 2050.

Tesla SCTesla Superchargerthe Supercharger is a proprietary direct current (DC) fast-charging station that provides up to 135 kW of power, giving the 85 kWh Model S some 270 km of range in about 30 minutes and a full charge in 75 minutes

Tank-to-Wheels (TTW) refers to a method used to calculate the energy consumed and GHG emitted from the point at which the transport fuel is transmitted to the vehicle (at the recharging or refuelling station) to the moment of its discharge (consumption of the fuel or electricity, while on the move).

Type-2 ACType 2 AC Connectorthe IEC 62196 Type 2 connector (also known as Mennekes) is used for charging electric cars, the connector is circular in shape, with a flattened top edge and capable of charging battery electric vehicles at 3–70 kilowatts
Ultra-fast DC recharging point (level 1) Refers to a DC recharging point with a maximum power output equal to, or higher than 150 kW, but lower than 350 kW.
Ultra-fast DC recharging point (level 2) Refers to a DC recharging point with a maximum power output higher than 350 kW.
V2GVehicle to GridV2G describes a system in which plug-in electric vehicles, such as battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids or hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, communicate with the power grid to sell demand response services by either returning electricity to the grid or by throttling their charging/discharging rate. Source: European Commission, Joint Research Centre. 
WLTPWorldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test ProcedureThe Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) laboratory test is used, under conditions set by EU law and intended to replicate real-driving behaviour, to measure fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from passenger cars, as well as their pollutant emissions.
WTTWell to Tank

Well-to-Tank refers to a method used to calculate the energy consumed and GHG emitted from the moment of production of a transport fuel (petrol, diesel, electricity, natural gas) to the moment of fuel supply (at the recharging or refuelling station).


Well-to-Wheels refers to the holistic approach of calculating the energy consumed and GHG emitted by a transport fuel from its production, over its distribution and supply up to its use. This generic term therefore subsumes Well-to-Tank and Tank-to-Wheels.