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An electric vehicle (EV), also referred to as an electric drive vehicle, is a vehicle which uses one or more electric motors for propulsion. Depending on the type of vehicle, motion may be provided by wheels or propellers driven by rotary motors, or in the case of tracked vehicles, by linear motors. Electric vehicles can include electric cars, electric trains, electric lorries, electric airplanes, electric boats, electric motorcycles and scooters, and electric spacecraft.

Electric vehicles first came into existence in the mid-19th century, when electricity was among the preferred methods for automobile propulsion, providing a level of comfort and ease of operation that could not be achieved by the gasoline cars of the time. At one time the internal combustion engine (ICE) had completely replaced the electric drive as a propulsion method for automobiles, but electric power has remained commonplace in other vehicle types, such as trains and smaller vehicles of all types.

Electric vehicles are different from fossil fuel-powered vehicles in that they can receive their power from a wide range of sources, including fossil fuels, nuclear power, and renewable sources such as tidal power, solar power, and wind power or any combination of those. However it is generated, this energy is then transmitted to the vehicle through use of overhead lines, wireless energy transfer such as inductive charging, or a direct connection through an electrical cable. The electricity may then be stored onboard the vehicle using a battery, flywheel, supercapacitor, or fuel cell. Vehicles making use of engines working on the principle of combustion can usually only derive their energy from a single or a few sources, usually non-renewable fossil fuels. A key advantage of electric or hybrid electric vehicles is their ability to recover braking energy as electricity to be restored to the on-board battery (regenerative braking) or sent back to the grid (V2G). At the beginning of the 21st century, increased concern over the environmental impact of the petroleum-based transportation infrastructure, along with the spectre of peak oil, led to renewed interest in an electric transportation infrastructure. As such, vehicles which can potentially be powered by renewable energy sources, such as hybrid electric vehicles or pure electric vehicles, are becoming more popular.[citation needed]



Electric vehicle model by Ányos Jedlik, an early electric motor experimenter ( 1828, Hungary) .
Edison and a 1914 Detroit Electric, model 47 (courtesy of the National Museum of American History)
An electric vehicle and an antique car on display at a 1912 auto show

Electric motive power started with a small railway operated by a miniature electric motor, built by Thomas Davenport in 1835. In 1838, a Scotsman named Robert Davidson built an electric locomotive that attained a speed of four miles per hour (6 km/h). In England a patent was granted in 1840 for the use of rails as conductors of electric current, and similar American patents were issued to Lilley and Colten in 1847.[1]

Between 1832 and 1839 (the exact year is uncertain), Robert Anderson of Scotland invented the first crude electric carriage, powered by non-rechargeable Primary cells.[2]

By the 20th century, electric cars and rail transport were commonplace, with commercial electric automobiles having the majority of the market. Over time their general-purpose commercial use reduced to specialist roles, as platform trucks, forklift trucks, tow tractors and urban delivery vehicles, such as the iconic British milk float; for most of the 20th century, the UK was the world's largest user of electric road vehicles.[3]

Electrified trains were used for coal transport as the motors did not use precious oxygen in the mines. Switzerland's lack of natural fossil resources forced the rapid electrification of their rail network. One of the earliest rechargeable batteries - the Nickel-iron battery - was favored by Edison for use in electric cars.

Electric vehicles were among the earliest automobiles, and before the preeminence of light, powerful internal combustion engines, electric automobiles held many vehicle land speed and distance records in the early 1900s. They were produced by Baker Electric, Columbia Electric, Detroit Electric, and others and at one point in history out-sold gasoline-powered vehicles.

In the 1930s, National City Lines, which was a partnership of General Motors, Firestone, and Standard Oil of California purchased many electric tram networks across the country to dismantle them and replace them with GM buses. The partnership was convicted of conspiring to monopolize the sale of equipment and supplies to their subsidiary companies conspiracy, but were acquitted of conspiring to monopolize the provision of transportation services. Electric tram line technologies could be used to recharge BEVs and PHEVs on the highway while the user drives, providing virtually unrestricted driving range. The technology is old and well established (see : Conduit current collection, Nickel-iron battery). The infrastructure has not been built.

In January 1990, General Motors' President introduced its EV concept two-seater, the "Impact," at the Los Angeles Auto Show. That September, the California Air Resources Board mandated major-automaker sales of EVs, in phases starting in 1998. From 1996 to 1998 GM produced 1117 EV1s, 800 of which were made available through three-year leases.

Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan and Toyota also produced limited numbers of EVs for California drivers. In 2003, upon the expiration of GM's EV1 leases, GM crushed them. The crushing has variously been attributed to 1) the auto industry's successful federal court challenge to California's zero-emissions vehicle mandate, 2) a federal regulation requiring GM to produce and maintain spare parts for the few thousands EV1s and 3) the success of the Oil and Auto industries' media campaign to reduce public acceptance of electric vehicles.


A movie made on the subject in 2005-2006 was titled Who Killed the Electric Car? and released theatrically by Sony Pictures Classics in 2006. The film explores the roles of automobile manufacturers, oil industry, the U.S. government, batteries, hydrogen vehicles, and consumers, and each of their roles in limiting the deployment and adoption of this technology.

Honda, Nissan and Toyota also repossessed and crushed most of their EVs, which, like the GM EV1s, had been available only by closed-end lease. After public protests, Toyota sold 200 of its RAV EVs to eager buyers; they now sell, five years later, at over their original forty-thousand-dollar price.

The production of the Citroën Berlingo Electrique stopped in September 2005.

Nowadays, electric vehicles are hitting the mainstream [4].

All major carmakers, such as Daimler AG, Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Corp., Renault SA, Peugeot-Citroen, VW and Mitsubishi Corp., are developing new-generation electric vehicles.[5]

Electricity sources

A passenger railroad, taking power through a third rail with return through the traction rails

(See articles on diesel-electric and gasoline-electric hybrid locomotion for information on electric vehicles using also combustion engines).

There are many ways to generate electricity, some of them more ecological than others:

It is also possible to have hybrid electric vehicles that derives electricity from multiple sources. Such as:

Batteries, electric double-layer capacitors and flywheel energy storage are forms of rechargeable on-board electrical storage. By avoiding an intermediate mechanical step, the energy conversion efficiency can be improved over the hybrids already discussed, by avoiding unnecessary energy conversions. Furthermore, electro-chemical batteries conversions are easy to reverse, allowing electrical energy to be stored in chemical form.

Another form of chemical to electrical conversion is fuel cells, projected for future use.

For especially large electric vehicles, such as submarines, the chemical energy of the diesel-electric can be replaced by a nuclear reactor. The nuclear reactor usually provides heat, which drives a steam turbine, which drives a generator, which is then fed to the propulsion. See Nuclear Power

A few experimental vehicles, such as some cars and a handful of aircraft use solar panels for electricity.

Electric motor

The power of a vehicle electric motor, as in other vehicles, is measured in kilowatts (kW). 100 kW is roughly equivalent to 134 horsepower, although most electric motors deliver full torque over a wide RPM range, so the performance is not equivalent, and far exceeds a 134 horsepower (100 kW) fuel-powered motor, which has a limited torque curve.[citation needed]

Usually, direct current (DC) electricity is fed into a DC/AC inverter where it is converted to alternating current (AC) electricity and this AC electricity is connected to a 3-phase AC motor. For electric trains, DC motors are often used.

Vehicle types

It is generally possible to equip any kind of vehicle with an electric powertrain.

Hybrid electric vehicle

A hybrid electric vehicle combines a conventional (usually fossil fuel-powered) powertrain with some form of electric propulsion. Common examples include hybrid electric cars such as the Toyota Prius.

On- and off-road electric vehicles

Electric vehicles are on the road in many functions, including electric cars, electric trolleybuses, electric bicycles, electric motorcycles and scooters, neighborhood electric vehicles, golf carts, milk floats, and forklifts. Off-road vehicles include electrified all-terrain vehicles and tractors.

Railborne electric vehicles

A streetcar (or Tram) drawing current from a single overhead wire through a pantograph

The fixed nature of a rail line makes it relatively easy to power electric vehicles through permanent overhead lines or electrified third rails, eliminating the need for heavy onboard batteries. Electric locomotives, electric trams/streetcars/trolleys, electric light rail systems, and electric rapid transit are all in common use today, especially in Europe and Asia.

Since electric trains do not need to carry a heavy internal combustion engine or large batteries, they can have very good power-to-weight ratios. This allows high speed trains such as France's double-deck TGVs to operate at speeds of 320 km/h (200 mph) or higher, and electric locomotives to have a much higher power output than diesel locomotives. In addition they have higher short-term surge power for fast acceleration, and using regenerative braking can put braking power back into the electrical grid rather than wasting it.

Maglev trains are also nearly always electric vehicles.

Airborne electric vehicles

Since the beginning of the era of aviation, electric power for aircraft has received a great deal of experimentation. Currently flying electric aircraft include manned and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Seaborne electric vehicles

Electric boats were popular around the turn of the 20th century. Interest in quiet and potentially renewable marine transportation has steadily increased since the late 20th century, as solar cells have given motorboats the infinite range of sailboats. Submarines use batteries (charged by diesel or gasoline engines at the surface), nuclear power, or fuel cells [6] run electric motor driven propellers.

Spaceborne electric vehicles

Electric power has a long history of use in spacecraft. The power sources used for spacecraft are batteries, solar panels and nuclear power. Current methods of propelling a spacecraft with electricity include the arcjet rocket, the electrostatic ion thruster, the Hall effect thruster, and Field Emission Electric Propulsion. A number of other methods have been proposed, with varying levels of feasibility.

Energy and motors

A trolleybus uses two overhead wires to provide electrical current supply and return to the power source

Most large electric transport systems are powered by stationary sources of electricity that are directly connected to the vehicles through wires. Electric traction allows the use of regenerative braking, in which the motors are used as brakes and become generators that transform the motion of, usually, a train into electrical power that is then fed back into the lines. This system is particularly advantageous in mountainous operations, as descending vehicles can produce a large portion of the power required for those ascending. This regenerative system is only viable if the system is large enough to utilise the power generated by descending vehicles.

In the systems above motion is provided by a rotary electric motor. However, it is possible to "unroll" the motor to drive directly against a special matched track. These linear motors are used in maglev trains which float above the rails supported by magnetic levitation. This allows for almost no rolling resistance of the vehicle and no mechanical wear and tear of the train or track. In addition to the high-performance control systems needed, switching and curving of the tracks becomes difficult with linear motors, which to date has restricted their operations to high-speed point to point services.

Issues regarding electric vehicles

Energy sources

Although electric vehicles have few direct emissions, all rely on energy created through electricity generation, and will usually emit pollution and generate waste, unless it is generated by renewable source power plants. Since electric vehicles use whatever electricity is delivered by their electrical utility/grid operator, electric vehicles can be made more or less efficient, polluting and expensive to run, by modifying the electrical generating stations. This would be done by an electrical utility under a government energy policy, in a timescale negotiated between utilities and government.

Fossil fuel vehicle efficiency and pollution standards take years to filter through a nation's fleet of vehicles. New efficiency and pollution standards rely on the purchase of new vehicles, often as a the current vehicles already on the road reach their end-of-life. Only a few nations set a retirement age for old vehicles, such as Japan or Singapore, forcing periodic upgrading of all vehicles already on the road.

Electric vehicles will take advantage of whatever environmental gains happen when a renewable energy generation station comes online, a fossil fuel station is decommissioned or upgraded. Conversely, if government policy or economic conditions shifts generators back to use more polluting fossil fuels and internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), or more inefficient sources, the reverse can happen. Even in such a situation, electrical vehicles are still more efficient than a comparable amount of fossil fuel vehicles. In areas with a deregulated electrical energy market, an electrical vehicle owner can choose whether to run his electrical vehicle off conventional electrical energy sources, or strictly from renewable electrical energy sources (presumably at an additional cost), pushing other consumers onto conventional sources, and switch at any time between the two.

Issues with batteries

Old: Banks of conventional lead-acid car batteries are still commonly used for EV propulsion
75 watt-hour/kilogram lithium ion polymer battery prototypes. Newer Li-poly cells provide up to 130 Wh/kg and last through thousands of charging cycles.

On an energy basis, the price of electricity to run an EV is a small fraction of the cost of liquid fuel needed to produce an equivalent amount of energy. Issues related to batteries, however, can add to the operating costs. Over the life of a battery, the cost of buying and recharging a battery is still usually lower than the cost of fossil fuels suitable for propelling a vehicle. However, conversely, compared to fossil fuels, all current battery technologies have much lower specific energy; and this often impacts the maximum range of electric vehicles.


Traditionally, most EVs have used lead-acid batteries due to their mature technology, high availability, and low cost (exception: some early EVs, such as the Detroit Electric, used nickel-iron.) Like all batteries, these have an environmental impact through their construction, use, disposal or recycling. On the upside, vehicle battery recycling rates top 95% in the United States. Deep-cycle lead batteries are expensive and have a shorter life than the vehicle itself, typically needing replacement every 3 years.

Lead-acid batteries in EV applications end up being a significant (25%-50%) portion of the final vehicle mass. Like all batteries, they have significantly lower energy density than petroleum fuels—in this case, 30-40Wh/kg. While the difference isn't as extreme as it first appears due to the lighter drive-train in an EV, even the best batteries tend to lead to higher masses when applied to vehicles with a normal range. The efficiency (70-75%) and storage capacity of the current generation of common deep cycle lead acid batteries decreases with lower temperatures, and diverting power to run a heating coil reduces efficiency and range by up to 40%[citation needed]. Recent advances in battery efficiency, capacity, materials, safety, toxicity and durability are likely to allow these superior characteristics to be applied in car-sized EVs.

Charging and operation of batteries typically results in the emission of hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur, which are naturally occurring and normally harmless if properly vented. Early Citicar owners discovered that, if not vented properly, unpleasant sulfur smells would leak into the cabin immediately after charging.

Lead-acid batteries have been re-engineered by Firefly Energy, increasing longevity, slightly increasing energy density, and significantly increasing power density. Firefly is expected market lightweight vehicle batteries, either directly or through manufacturing partners in 2008.

Lead-acid batteries powered such early-modern EVs as the original versions of the EV1 and the RAV4EV.

Nickel metal hydride

Nickel-metal hydride batteries are now considered a relatively mature technology. While less efficient (60-70%) in charging and discharging than even lead-acid, they boast an energy density of 30-80Wh/kg, far higher than lead-acid. When used properly, nickel-metal hydride batteries can have exceptionally long lives, as has been demonstrated in their use in hybrid cars and surviving NiMH RAV4EVs that still operate well after 100,000 miles (160,000 km) and over a decade of service. Downsides include the poor efficiency, high self-discharge, very finicky charge cycles, and poor performance in cold weather. GM Ovonic produced the NiMH battery used in the second generation EV-1, and Cobasys makes a nearly identical battery (ten 1.2V 85Ah NiMH cells in series in contrast with eleven cells for Ovonic battery). This worked very well in the EV-1. Patent encumbrance has limited the use of these batteries in recent years.


The sodium or "zebra" battery uses a molten chloroaluminate (NaAlCl4) sodium as the electrolyte. This chemistry is also occasionally referred to as "hot salt". A relatively mature technology, the Zebra battery boasts an energy density of 120Wh/kg and reasonable series resistance. Since the battery must be heated for use, cold weather doesn't strongly affect its operation except for in increasing heating costs. They have been used in several EVs. Zebras can last for a few thousand charge cycles and are nontoxic. The downsides to the Zebra battery include poor power density (<300 W/kg) and the requirement of having to heat the electrolyte to ~270*C, which wastes some energy and presents difficulties in long-term storage of charge.

Zebra batteries have been used in the Modec vehicle commercial vehicle since it entered production in 2006.

Lithium ion

Lithium-ion (and similar lithium polymer) batteries, widely known through their use in laptops and consumer electronics, dominate the most recent group of EVs in development. The traditional lithium-ion chemistry involves a lithium cobalt oxide cathode and a graphite anode. This yields cells with an impressive 200+Wh/kg energy density[7] and good power density, and 80 to 90% charge/discharge efficiency. The downsides of traditional lithium-ion batteries include short cycle lives (hundreds to a few thousand charge cycles) and significant degradation with age. The cathode is also somewhat toxic. Also, traditional lithium-ion batteries can pose a fire safety risk if punctured or charged improperly. The maturity of this technology is moderate. The Tesla Roadster uses "blades" of traditional lithium-ion "laptop battery" cells that can be replaced individually as needed.

Most other EVs are utilizing new variations on lithium-ion chemistry that sacrifice energy density to provide extreme power density, fire resistance, environmental friendliness, very rapid charges (as low as a few minutes), and very long lifespans. These variants (phosphates, titanates, spinels, etc) have been shown to have a much longer lifetime, with A123 expecting their lithium iron phosphate batteries to last for at least 10+ years and 7000+ charge cycles[8], and LG Chem expecting their lithium-manganese spinel batteries to last up to 40 years.[9]

Much work is being done on lithium ion batteries in the lab[10]. Lithium vanadium oxide has already made its way into the Subaru prototype G4e, doubling energy density. Silicon nanowires[11][12][13], silicon nanoparticles[14], and tin nanoparticles[15][16] promise several times the energy density in the anode, while composite[17][18][19][20][21] and superlattice[22] cathodes also promise significant density improvements.

In 2009 Mitsubishi (i-MiEV) and Subaru (Stella) introduced electric vehicles offered for fleet then public sale.


Because of the different methods of charging possible, the emissions produced have been quantified in different ways. Plug-in all-electric and hybrid vehicles also have different consumption characteristics.[23]

Electromagnetic radiation

Electromagnetic radiation from high performance electrical motors has been claimed to be associated with some human ailments, but such claims are largely unsubstantiated except for extremely high exposures.[24] Electric motors can be shielded within a metallic Faraday cage, but this reduces efficiency by adding weight to the vehicle, while it is not conclusive that all electromagnetic radiation can be contained.

Grid capacity

If a large proportion of private vehicles were to convert to grid electricity it would increase the demand for generation and transmission, and consequent emissions. However, overall energy consumption and emissions would diminish because of the higher efficiency of electric vehicles over the entire cycle. In the USA it has been estimated there is already nearly sufficient existing power plant and transmission infrastructure, assuming that most charging would occur overnight, using the most efficient off-peak base load sources.[25]

Charging stations

Electric vehicles typically charge from conventional power outlets or dedicated charging stations, a process that typically takes hours, but can be done overnight and often gives a charge that is sufficient for normal everyday usage.

One proposed solution for daily recharging is a standardized inductive charging system such as Evatran's Plugless Power. Benefits are the convenience of automatic occurance with parking over the charge station and minimized cabling and connection infrastructure.[26][27][28]

Another proposed solution for the typically less frequent, long distance travel is "rapid charging", such as the Aerovironment PosiCharge line (up to 250 kW) and the Norvik MinitCharge line (up to 300 kW). Ecotality is a manufacturer of Charging Stations and has partnered with Nissan on several installations. Battery replacement is also proposed as an alternative, although no OEM's including Nissan/Renault have any production vehicle plans. Swapping requires standardization across platforms, models and manufacturers. Swapping also requires many times more battery packs to be in the system.

One type of battery "replacement" proposed is much simpler: while the latest generation of vanadium redox battery only has an energy density similar to lead-acid, the charge is stored solely in a vanadium-based electrolyte, which can be pumped out and replaced with charged fluid. The vanadium battery system is also a potential candidate for intermediate energy storage in quick charging stations because of its high power density and extremely good endurance in daily use. System cost however, is still prohibitive. As vanadium battery systems are estimated to range between $350–$600 per kWh, a battery that can service one hundred customers in a 24 hour period at 50 kWh per charge would cost $1.8-$3 million.

Other in-development technologies

Conventional electric double-layer capacitors are being worked to achieve the energy density of lithium ion batteries, offering almost unlimited lifespans and no environmental issues. High-K electric double-layer capacitors, such as EEStor's EESU, could improve lithium ion energy density several times over if they can be produced. Lithium-sulphur batteries offer 250Wh/kg[29]. Sodium-ion batteries promise 400Wh/kg with only minimal expansion/contraction during charge/discharge and a very high surface area[30].

Mechanically rechargeable batteries

There is another way to "refuel" electric vehicles. Instead of recharging them from electric socket, batteries could be mechanically replaced on special stations just in a couple of minutes.

Batteries with greatest energy density such as metal-air fuel cells usually cannot be recharged in purely electric way.Instead some kind of metallurgical process is needed.Such as aluminum smelting and similar.

Silicon-air, Aluminum-air and other metal-air fuel cells look promising candidates for swap batteries.[31][32] Any source of energy, renewable or non-renewable, could be used to remake used metal-air fuel cells with relatively high efficiency.Investment in infrastructure will be needed.Cost of such batteries could be an issue, although they could be made with replaceable anodes and electrolyte.

Disadvantages of electric vehicles

Many electric designs have limited range, due to the low energy density of batteries compared to the fuel of internal combustion engined vehicles. Electric vehicles also often have long recharge times compared to the relatively fast process of refueling a tank. This is further complicated by the current scarcity of public charging stations, although these are far less necessary for electric vehicles in everyday use. "Range anxiety" is coming into use as a label for part of this situation.[citation needed]

Contrary to widespread belief, according to Department of Energy research conducted at Pacific National Laboratory, 84% of existing vehicles could be switched over to plug-in hybrids without requiring any new grid infrastructure.[33] In terms of transportation, the net result would be a 27% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, a slight reduction in nitrous oxide emissions, an increase in particulate matter emissions, the same sulfur dioxide emissions, and the near elimination of carbon monoxide and volatile organic compound emissions. The emissions would be displaced away from street level and have correspondingly less effect on human health.

Electric and hybrid cars are seen as environmentally-friendly. While they do have reduced carbon emissions, the energy they consume is usually produced by means which some believe to be harmful to the environment, such as coal, nuclear, and hydroelectric power. Electric cars may lead consumers to believe that buying such a vehicle is an environmentally-sound choice, whereas the choice that would have nearly zero environmental impact would be to make a lifestyle change in favor of walking, biking or telecommuting. Governments may invest in research and development of electric vehicles with the intention of reducing the impact on the environment where they could instead develop pedestrian-friendly communities.

Heating of electric vehicles

In cold climates considerable energy is needed to heat the interior of the vehicle, and to defrost the windows. With internal combustion engines this heat already exists due to the combustion process (offsetting the greenhouse gases external costs) from the waste heat from the engine cooling circuit. If this is done with battery electric cars, this will require extra energy from the battery or an additional battery and circuit for accessories. Although some heat could be harvested from the motor(s) and battery, however, due to their greater efficiency, there is not as much waste heat available as from a combustion engine.

However when plugged into the grid electric vehicles can be preheated, or cooled, and need little or no energy from the battery, especially for short trips.

Newer designs are focused on using super-insulated cabins which can heat the car using the body heat of the passengers. This is however not enough in colder climates as a driver only delivers approximately 100 W of heating power. A reversible AC-system, cooling the cabin during summer and heating it during winter seems to be the most practical and promising way of solving the thermal management of the EV. Ricardo Arboix [34] introduced (2008) a new concept based on the principle of combining the thermal-management of the EV-battery with the thermal-management of the cabin using a reversible AC-system. This is done by adding a third heat-exchanger, thermally connected with the battery-core, to the traditional heat pump/air conditioning system used in previous EV-models like the GM EV1 and Toyota RAV4 EV. The concept has proven to bring several benefits such as prolonging the life-span of the battery as well as improving the performance and overall energy-efficiency of the EV [35][36][37][38].

Advantages of electric vehicles


Electric motors are mechanically very simple.

Electric motors often achieve 90% energy conversion efficiency[39] over the full range of speeds and power output and can be precisely controlled. They can also be combined with regenerative braking systems that have the ability to convert movement energy back into stored electricity. This can be used to reduce the wear on brake systems (and consequent brake pad dust) and reduce the total energy requirement of a trip. Regenerative braking is especially effective for start-and-stop city use.

They can be finely controlled and provide high torque from rest, unlike internal combustion engines, and do not need multiple gears to match power curves. This removes the need for gearboxes and torque converters.

Electric vehicles provide quiet and smooth operation and consequently have less noise and vibration than internal combustion engines.[40] While this is a desirable attribute, it has also evoked concern that the absence of the usual sounds of an approaching vehicle pose a danger to blind, elderly and very young pedestrians. To mitigate this situation, automakers and individual companies are developing systems that produce warning noises or distinctive sounds when electric vehicles are moving slowly, up to a speed when normal motion and rotation (road, suspension, electric motor, etc.) noises become audible.[41]


Electric vehicles release almost no air pollutants at the place where they are operated. In addition, it is generally easier to build pollution control systems into centralised power stations than retrofit enormous numbers of cars.

Another advantage is that electric vehicles typically have less noise pollution than an internal combustion engine vehicle, whether it is at rest or in motion. Electric vehicles emit no tailpipe CO2 or pollutants such as NOx, NMHC, CO and PM at the point of use.[40]

Energy resilience

Electricity is a form of energy that remains within the continent where it was produced and can be multi-sourced. As a result it gives the greatest degree of energy resilience [42].

Energy efficiency

Electric vehicle 'tank-to-wheels' efficiency is about a factor of 3 higher than internal combustion engine vehicles.[40]

Cost of recharge

The GM Volt will cost "less than purchasing a cup of your favorite coffee" to recharge. The Volt should cost less than 2 cents per mile to drive on electricity, compared with 12 cents a mile on gasoline at a price of $3.60 a gallon. This means a trip from Los Angeles to New York would cost $56 on electricity, and $336 with gasoline. This would be the equivalent to paying 60 cents a gallon of gas.[43]

Stabilization of the grid

There is potential to allow battery powered electric vehicles to enhance the electric grid response by feeding electricity into the grid during peak air conditioning times (mid-afternoon) while allowing sufficient charge for expected evening use as determined by the vehicle's predicted use profile.[44]

Furthermore, our current electricity infrastructure may need to cope with increasing shares of variable-output power sources such as windmills and PV solar panels. This variability could be addressed by adjusting the speed at which EV batteries are charged, or possibly even discharged.

Some concepts see battery exchanges and battery charging stations, much like gas/petrol stations today. Clearly these will require enormous storage and charging potentials, which could be manipulated to vary the rate of charging, and to output power during shortage periods, much as diesel generators are used for short periods to stabilize some national Grids[45][46].

Savings of liquid fossil fuel

Any shift from private to public transport (diesel bus, trolley bus or tram) makes a huge gain in efficiency in terms of individual miles per kWh, but research shows people don't want to give up cars for diesel buses - perceived as low class and low status.

But research shows people do prefer trams[47], because they are quieter and more comfortable and perceived as having higher status[48].

People appreciate the way traffic has to part when a tram comes, meaning they can move around cities much more swiftly than in diesel buses or trolley buses.

Therefore, it may be possible to cut liquid fossil fuel consumption in cities through the use of electric trams.

Trams may be the most energy-efficient form of public transportation, with rubber wheeled vehicles using 2/3 more energy than the equivalent tram, and run on electricity rather than fossil fuels.

In terms of NPV, they are also the cheapest - Blackpool trams are still running after 100 years, but buses only last about 15 years.

Incentives and promotion

United States

In 2003 the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated there would be 55,852 Full-electric vehicles (FEV) in 2004, with an annual growth rate of 39.1 % (excluding in this estimation electric hybrids).[49]

The EIA's 2007 Annual Energy Review (AER) estimates the actual number of FEV's on the road in 2004 as 49,536 and a preliminary estimated 2006 number of 53,526.[50]

President Barack Obama has announced $2.4 billion for electric vehicles.[51] . $1.5 billion in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce highly efficient batteries and their components; up to $500 million in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce other components needed for electric vehicles, such as electric motors and other components; and up to $400 million to demonstrate and evaluate Plug-In Hybrids and other electric infrastructure concepts—like truck stop charging station, electric rail, and training for technicians to build and repair electric vehicles (greencollar jobs).[52]

Qualifying electric vehicles purchased new are eligible for a one-time federal tax credit that equals 10% of the cost of the vehicle up to $4,000, provided under Section 179A of the Energy Policy Act of 1992; it was extended through 2007 by the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004. A tax deduction of up to $100,000 per location is available for qualified electric vehicle recharging property used in a trade or business.

In 2008, Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums announced a nine-step policy plan for transforming the Bay Area into the "Electric Vehicle (EV) Capital of the U.S." [53]. Other local and state governments have also expressed interest in electric cars.[54]

In March 2009, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the release of two competitive solicitations for up to $2 billion in federal funding for competitively awarded cost-shared agreements for manufacturing of advanced batteries and related drive components as well as up to $400 million for transportation electrification demonstration and deployment projects. This announcement will also help meet President Barack Obama's goal of putting one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015.[55]

The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), which passed the Energy and Commerce Committee on May 21, 2009, has extensive provisions for electric cars. The bill calls for all electric utilities to, “develop a plan to support the use of plug-in electric drive vehicles, including heavy-duty hybrid electric vehicles”. The bill also provides for “smart grid integration,” allowing for more efficient, effective delivery of electricity to accommodate the additional demands of plug-in electric vehicles. Finally, the bill allows for the Department of Energy to fund projects that support the development of electric vehicle and smart grid technology and infrastructure.[56].

The House of Representatives passed legislation in late 2008, enumerating tax credits ranging from $2500 to $7500 for electric vehicle buyers. The actual credit varies depending on the specified vehicle’s battery capacity. The Chevrolet Volt and the Tesla vehicles are eligible for the full $7500 credit. The bill called for the credit to be applicable for the first 250,000 vehicles sold per manufacturer.[57] The credits were passed in 2008 but went into effect on January 1, 2009, and can be currently used on the Tesla all-electric models.[58] The Volt, plug-in Prius, and other PHEV's and BEV's will also be eligible for the credit when they are released in the coming years. The new credits update incentives introduced in 2006, that offered credits for gas-electric hybrids, "Based on a formula determined by vehicle weight, technology, and fuel economy compared to base year models," which expired after 60,000 units per manufacturer.[58] The new credits will only apply to plug-in EVs and all-electric vehicles.

European Union

Electrification of transport (electromobility) figures prominently in the Green Car Initiative (GCI)[59], included in the European Economic Recovery Plan. DG TREN is supporting a large European "electromobility" project on electric vehicles and related infrastructure with a total budget of around € 50million as part of the Green Car Initiative.[40]

There are measures to promote efficient vehicles in the Directive 2009/33/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles [60] and in the Directive 2006/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on energy end-use efficiency and energy services.

AVERE has a table summarizing the taxation and incentives for these vehicles in the different European countries, related to state subsidies, reduction of VAT and other taxes, insurance facilities, parking and charging facilities (including free recharging on street or in the parking areas), EV imposed by law and banned circulation for petroleum cars, permission to use bus lanes, free road tax, toll free on highways and exempt from congestion charging free or reduced parking, free charging at charge points, between others [61]. In Denmark petrol cars is taxed 180%+25% however EV cars (max. 2000 kg total weight) is only taxed 25%, free parking in Copenhagen and other cities, free recharging at some parking spaces.

EU member states


In Finland the prime minister of Finland Mr. Matti Vanhanen has mentioned that he wants to see more electric cars on Finnish roads as soon as possible[62] and with any cost to the governmental car related tax incomes[63]. Charging at home from motor and cabin heating outlets (common in all Nordic countries) has been determined to be a possible load on the grid. If all cars in Finland run totally on electricity, it will add 7-9 TWh annually to the load, which corresponds to 10 % of Finland's annual consumption[64]. On-line route planners like list a daily growing number of free charging outlets set up by merchants and private individuals, making it possible to drive an EV for free from Helsinki through Sweden all the way to Copenhagen[65].


Denmark is planning to introduce a greater number of battery driven electric cars on the streets - charged on renewable energy from the country's many windmills - ahead of the UN Climate Summit that is to descend on Copenhagen in December 2009. A great deal of the electricity is generated by windmills [66].


In Portugal, the government has linked up with car-makers to further the use of electric cars by investing in setting up electric charging stations across the country and in raising awareness of the vehicle's benefits [66].

Electric vehicles are the future and the driver of the industrial revolution

—Miguel Sebastian, Spanish Industry Minister [67]

Spain's government aims to have 1 million electric cars on the roads by 2014 as part of a plan to cut energy consumption and dependence on expensive imports, Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian said [66][67][68].

United Kingdom

In October 2008 UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged £100 million in government money to support electric, hybrid and other more environmentally friendly car projects over a five-year period to help make Britain "the European capital for electric cars" [66][69].


Many electric car companies are looking to China as the leader of future electric car implementation around the world. In April 2009, Chinese officials announced their plan to make China the world’s largest producer of electric cars. The Renault-Nissan Alliance will work with China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MITI) to help set up battery recharging networks throughout the city of Wuhan, the pilot city in the country’s electrical vehicle pilot program. The corporation plans to have electric vehicles on the market by 2011. According to an April 10, 2009 New York Times Article entitled “China Outlines Plans for Making Cars,” auto manufacturers will possess the opportunity to successfully market their cars to Chinese consumers due to the short and slow commutes that characterize Chinese transportation, and Chinese consumers generally diminished experience with high powered gasoline-powered cars, subsequently diminishing the hindering nature of lower powered electric vehicles. Furthermore, in an attempt to design a program with incentives for buyers, MITI intends to give large subsidies to buyers of electric cars; the country has 10 billion Yuan, almost 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, to boost the automotive industry’s efforts towards modernization.


Japan has a $14,000 electric car subsidy.[70]


Electric vehicles are hitting the mainstream [4]. Automakers are going to showcase at the 2009 Washington Auto Show their commitment to quickly bringing electric hybrid and all-electric vehicles to market as early as 2010 [71].

World production race

All major carmakers, such as Daimler AG, Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Corp., Renault SA, Peugeot-Citroen, VW and Mitsubishi Corp., are developing new-generation electric vehicles.[5]. Automakers are in a new race to be the first to market an all-electric car to claim the mantle as the world's greenest automaker [72].

South Africa


European Union

Portugal and Spain want to create the first green car in Iberia, hoping to generate 150 million euros worth of investment and 800 new jobs in the region's struggling motor industry. The green car, which could be powered by electricity. The Mobi-green car, as the vehicle is named, is being developed by two automotive research centres in Portugal and Spain using funds from both the public and private sectors. [76]

London, England is at the forefront and a London-based entrepreneur has just unveiled a three-wheeled zero-emission electric vehicle aimed at delivery fleets. The A-Kar is powered by lithium-ion battery cells and takes five hours for a full charge, giving a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 35 mph. [77]


Practically the only EV to have been manufactured for several years is the Indian REVA. It is produced by REVA Electric Car Company Private Ltd. (RECC) in Bangalore, India, a company established in 1994 as a joint venture between the Maini Group India and AEV LLC, California USA. After seven years of R&D, they commercialized the first REVA car in June 2001.[78]

The current version of the REVA is the REVAi. It was first reserved for the Indian market, but it is now distributed in several European countries: UK (by GoinGreen under the name G-Wiz), Cyprus and Greece (by REVA Phaedra Electricity Mobility Ltd., Belgium (by Green Mobil), Norway (by Ole Chr. Bye AS), Iceland (by Perlukafarinn ehf), Spain (by Emovement)and Germany (by Elektro PKW, the REVA is also available in the Republic of Ireland GreenAer. It may be exported to the USA with a speed limiter for use as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV).

In July 2010, the government of Tamil Nadu allocated land in Ranipet to Bavina Cars India for production of electric cars. The plant is set to be operational by 2011.

In addition to Bangalore-based Reva, which currently is the only company actually selling EVs today, electric cars made in India includes:

With Tata, Ajanta and Tara talking about 'low-cost' cars and "less than a Tata Nano".

United States

Startups are taking the lead in electric vehicles in North America [85]

  • Myers Motors, a small private company, has created an electric personal Three wheeled car called NMG (No More Gas). This car can take only one passenger, and is being sold in very small numbers in the US only.


  • eviLightTruck [3]




Buying and leasing

U.S. Army

The U.S. Army has announced that it will lease 4,000 Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) within three years. The Army plans to use NEVs at its bases for transporting people around the base, as well as for security patrols and maintenance and delivery services. The Army accepted its first six NEVs at Virginia's Fort Myer in March 2009 and will lease a total of 600 NEVs through the rest of the year, followed by the leasing of 1,600 NEVs for each of the following two years. With a full eight-hour recharge, the NEVs can travel 30 miles (48 km) at a top speed of 25 mph (40 km/h)[88] .


Eliica Battery Electric Car with 370 km/h top speed and 200 km range
The number of US survey respondents willing to pay $4,000 more for a plug-in hybrid car increased from 17% in 2005 to 26% in 2006.

Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, head of the Centre of Automotive Research at the Gelsenkirchen University of Applied Sciences in Germany, said that "by 2025, all passenger cars sold in Europe will be electric or hybrid" electric [66].

Several startup companies like Tesla Motors, Ronaele Incorporated, Commuter Cars, Phoenix Motorcars, Miles Electric Vehicles, and Aptera Motors will have powerful battery-electric vehicles available to the public in 2008. Battery and energy storage technology is advancing rapidly. The average distance driven by 80% of citizens per day in a car in the US is about 50 miles (US dept of transport, 1991), which fits easily within the current range of the electric car. This range can be improved by technologies such as Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles which are capable of using traditional fuels for unlimited range, rapid charging stations for BEVs, improved energy density batteries, flow batteries, or battery swapping.

In 2006 GM began the development of a plug-in hybrid that will use a lithium-ion battery. The vehicle, initially known as the iCar, is now called the Chevrolet Volt. The basic design was first exhibited January 2007 at the North American International Auto Show. GM is planning to have this EV ready for sale to the public in the latter half of 2010. The car is to have a 40-mile (64 km) range. If the battery capacity falls below 30 percent a small internal combustion engine will kick in to charge the battery on the go. This in effect increases the range of the vehicle, allowing it to be driven until it can be fully charged by plugging it into a standard household AC electrical source.

On October 29, 2007, Shai Agassi launched Project Better Place, a company focused on building massive scale Electric Recharge Grids as infrastructure supporting the deployment of electric vehicles (including plug-in hybrids) in countries around the world. On January 21, PBP and the Nissan-Renault group signed a MOU - PBP will provide the battery recharging and swapping infrastructure and Renault-Nissan will mass-produce the vehicles.

Improved long term energy storage and nano batteries

There have been several developments which could bring electric vehicles outside their current fields of application, as scooters, golf cars, neighborhood vehicles, in industrial operational yards and indoor operation. First, advances in lithium-based battery technology, in large part driven by the consumer electronics industry, allow full-sized, highway-capable electric vehicles to be propelled as far on a single charge as conventional cars go on a single tank of gasoline. Lithium batteries have been made safe, can be recharged in minutes instead of hours, and now last longer than the typical vehicle. The production cost of these lighter, higher-capacity lithium batteries is gradually decreasing as the technology matures and production volumes increase.

Another development in lithium electrochemical cells has been the STAIR electrochemical battery. This battery could increase the capacity by 10 times compared to other similar electrochemical cells.[89]

Introduction of battery management and intermediate storage

Another improvement is to decouple the electric motor from the battery through electronic control, employing ultra-capacitors to buffer large but short power demands and regenerative braking energy. The development of new cell types combined with intelligent cell management improved both weak points mentioned above. The cell management involves not only monitoring the health of the cells but also a redundant cell configuration (one more cell than needed). With sophisticated switched wiring it is possible to condition one cell while the rest are on duty.

Faster battery recharging

By soaking the matter found in conventional lithium ion batteries in a special solution, lithium ion batteries were supposedly said to be recharged 100x faster. This test was however done with a especially designed battery with little capacity. Batteries with higher capacity can be recharged 40x faster.[90] The research was conducted by Byoungwoo Kang and Gerbrand Ceder of MIT. The researchers believe the solution may appear on the market in 2011.[91]

Electric vehicle organizations


The World Electric Vehicle Association (WEVA), chairman Hisashi Ishitani, formed by:

It organizes the EVS (Worldwide International Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium).

North America



See also


  1. ^ History of Railway Electric Traction
  2. ^ Inventors - Electric Cars (1890 - 1930)
  3. ^ Escaping Lock-in: the Case of the Electric Vehicle
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  5. ^ a b Start-Ups Race to Produce 'Green' Cars -
  6. ^ "S-80: A Sub, for Spain, to Sail Out on the Main". Defense Industry Daily. 15-Dec-2008. 
  7. ^ "200 Wh/kg Barrier Falls. | Battery & EV Technology | Find Articles at BNET". 2009-06-02. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  8. ^ A123 Inks Deal to Develop Battery Cells for GM Electric Car | Xconomy
  9. ^ GM-VOLT : Chevy Volt Electric Car Site
  10. ^ Li-Ion Rechargeable Batteries Made Safer - Nikkei Electronics Asia - February 2008 - Tech-On!
  11. ^ Nanowire battery can hold 10 times the charge of existing lithium-ion battery
  12. ^ Microsoft PowerPoint - Cui-Nanowire Energy for GCEP publication
  13. ^ GM-VOLT : Chevy Volt Electric Car Site » Blog Archive » Interview with Dr. Cui, Inventor of Silicon Nanowire Lithium-ion Battery Breakthrough
  14. ^ Nanotech promises lithium ion battery boost -
  15. ^ Using nanotechnology to improve Li-ion battery performance
  16. ^
  17. ^ Argonne's lithium-ion battery technology to be commercialized by Japan's Toda Kogyo
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  19. ^ Argonne licenses new lithium-ion battery technology
  20. ^ Profile Li-Ion batteries.pmd
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  22. ^ Hybrid Develops New "Superlattice Structure" Lithium Battery Capable of Increasing Drive Ranges in Excess of 200 Miles | Hybrid Technologies
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  24. ^ GreenFacts summary of the IARC Evaluation of Static and Extremely Low-Frequency (ELFs) Electric and Magnetic Fields
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  65. ^ "Map". Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
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  68. ^ and
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  89. ^ STAIR electrochemical battery
  90. ^ Nattuurwetenschap & Techniek Magazine, May 2009]
  91. ^ 100 times faster recharging of battery

Further reading

External links

Simple English

Electric vehicle (EV) is a vehicle that uses mainly the power of battery to AC or DC motor for driving. It was invented first by British R. Davidson in 1873 before gasoline vehicle being appeared. But after the 1st World War, it was hidden because of gasoline car's rapid progress.

Set in 80's, While a pollution issue by car's exhaust gas comes to the front, electric vehicle was presented to the solution. But lack of Storage battery technology, commercialization has been delayed. However, new storage battery technology was proceeded rapidly around the United States while possibility of new technology was created coming to the early 90's. Specially, in case of the United States, in spite of company's strong opposition, California governments legislated the ZEV(Zero Emission Vehicle) regulation that oblige to use EV since 1998. Due to ZEV regulation, development of electric vehicle has been regularized.

There are 2 kinds of electric vehicle in recent. The first kind is a vehicle that use fuel cell or solar cell which generate electricity directly from chemical reaction or heat. The second kind is a vehicle that drive by storage battery's energy. This vehicle use electric motor, so there are no sound, no vibration and no atmospheric contamination by exhaust gases from automobiles.

However, battery's storage of electricity capability has limit and due to storage battery is so heavy and large, energy efficiency is decreased. Also, It takes much time to recharge battery, and mileage of a vehicle per 1 time recharge is short compared recharging time.

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