What is it called in English a term that describes the self dependency of a technical device, without refueling it? For example the distance a car can go without refueling or the time a battery can function without recharging it.

I need to translate into English a technical catalog and I don’t know if self dependency can be used technically (in techniques).

In my language the term is autonomy but all English dictionaries describe this only politically, i.e. independency, self governing, freedom etc.

On the other hand, on the internet I saw the term drone autonomous air refueling which means that the term can be used technically.

So can I use the term autonomy or self dependency?

high autonomy;


high self dependency.

about a product? Or there is/are better term/terms


3 Answers 3


It is a uninterruptible power supply (like in computers to back up in case of power failure) but it is powered by a car battery and thence the time is longer

I'd call it the battery run-time:

See especially this.

"The car battery extends the run-time."

  • Thanks a lot! I extracted from your sentence and put it this way: "extended run-time", or would sound better "run-time extended"? It may sound like a title or like a bulleted item among other features of the UPS. Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 17:50
  • 1
    adjective in front (extended run-time) is typical
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 19:01

'Range' or 'Battery Life'

Your two examples, while similar, are not well-served by a single term.

The best choice for expressing a vehicle's 'runtime' would be 'range.' This would describe the maximum distance a vehicle could travel without being refueled/recharged. These are typically expressed as either 'under ideal conditions' or using terms like 'city' or 'highway' to describe a use case.

For a vehicle such as a drone, DJI uses terminology like "27 minutes of airtime at 15 mph" to describe the amount of time a user might use the device without recharging/changing batteries.

The 'Battery Life' would be more appropriate for describing the length of time a non-vehicle device will function without recharging. It could be described in units of time at a given current, i.e. Ah ratings; or something more directly relatable to non-technical folks such as 'number-of-iphone-recharges.' Or else, it could simply describe runtime, such as a flashlight that will run at max output for 2 hours on a charge.


The time a battery can go without needing to be recharged or thrown away is called its battery life.

The distance a car can go without needing refueling is its range.

The efficiency with which a car travels distance using fuel is its fuel economy.

It's a different term for different objects. There are general terms, such as endurance which describes anything a human or animal does without needing to stop, but it can't be used for non-living objects.

There's also some similar meaning words, e.g. Mileage which describes how long a car has run since it was made and lifespan which defines how long a human, animal, or product will survive before dying.

Autonomy is the wrong word, since in your examples it defines a car that can move without a human driver.

I don't believe there's a word that is general enough to be applied to anything, but apart from cars and batteries please let me know if there's anything else that you need a word for that means 'length of time it can run without needing refueling'.

  • 2
    Fuel economy is not a distance! You can express fuel economy either as distance divided by amount of fuel (e.g. Miles per Gallon) or as amount of fuel divided by distance (e.g. Liters per 100km). The distance a car can go without refueling is its range. Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 10:37
  • Thank you for all your efforts! Meanwhile I have remembered exactly what the Chinese companies define the term like: long backup time UPS, but now I'm questioning it @Brian Hitchcock? Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 12:05
  • @BrianHitchcock, as you can see sometimes is long time backup, sometimes is long backup time, so which one might be correct? Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 12:14
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    As others said, the battery backup extends the run time, not "backup time". Perhaps you could say that the battery "allows the system to run for {a long time / an extended period} on backup power". Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 4:33
  • @BrianHitchcock I concur. Answer requires editing. Fuel economy is a ratio (miles per gallon, km/L or L/100kmm), not a distance (miles, km or furlongs.) Commented May 1, 2019 at 16:33

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