Battery electric vehicle

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For electric vehicles other than battery powered road vehicles, see electric vehicle. For passenger electric vehicles, see Electric car.
Nissan Leaf, the world's top selling highway-capable all-electric car, with global sales of 130,000 units by August 2014.

A battery electric vehicle (BEV) is a type of electric vehicle (EV) that uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs. BEVs use electric motors and motor controllers instead of internal combustion engines (ICEs) for propulsion.

A battery-only electric vehicle or all-electric vehicle derives all its power from its battery packs and thus has no internal combustion engine, fuel cell, or fuel tank. BEVs include bicycles, scooters, rail cars, forklifts, buses, trucks and cars. Since their introduction in December 2010, sales of BEV and PHEV cars have increased each year, with 234,502 electric cars sold in the US by August 2014.[1] The best-selling all-electric car, the Nissan Leaf, sold 130,000 units worldwide by August 2014.[2]


Vehicles using both electric motors and internal combustion engines are examples of hybrid electric vehicles, and are not considered pure or all-electric vehicles because they cannot be externally charged (operate in charge-sustaining mode) and instead they are continually recharged with power from the internal combustion engine and regenerative braking.[3]

Hybrid vehicles with batteries that can be charged externally to displace some or all of their internal combustion engine power and gasoline fuel are called plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and run as BEVs during their charge-depleting mode. PHEVs with a series powertrain are also called range-extended electric vehicles (REEVs), such as the Chevrolet Volt and Fisker Karma.

Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are a subcategory of electric vehicles that includes battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles, (PHEVs), and electric vehicle conversions of hybrid electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.[3][4]

In China, plug-in electric vehicles, together with hybrid electric vehicles are called new energy vehicles (NEVs).[5] However, in the United States, neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) are battery electric vehicles that are legally limited to roads with posted speed limits no higher than 45 miles per hour (72 km/h), are usually built to have a top speed of 30 miles per hour (48 km/h), and have a maximum loaded weight of 3,000 lbs.[6]


The concept of battery electric vehicles is to use charged batteries on board vehicles for propulsion. Battery electric cars are becoming more and more attractive with the advancement of new battery technology (Lithium Ion) that have higher power and energy density (i.e. greater possible acceleration and more range with fewer batteries) and higher oil prices.[7]

BEVs include automobiles, light trucks, and neighborhood electric vehicles.

Electric bus[edit]

Further information: Electric bus
A battery-electric minibus in St Helens, England

Chattanooga, Tennessee operates nine zero-fare electric buses, which have been in operation since 1992 and have carried 11.3 million passengers and covered a distance of 3,100,000 kilometres (1,900,000 mi), They were made locally by Advanced Vehicle Systems. Two of these buses were used for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.[8][9]

Beginning in the summer of 2000, Hong Kong Airport began operating a 16-passenger Mitsubishi Rosa electric shuttle bus, and in the fall of 2000, New York City began testing a 66-passenger battery-powered school bus, an all electric version of the Blue Bird TC/2000.[10] A similar bus was operated in Napa Valley, California for 14 months ending in April, 2004.[11]

The 2008 Beijing Olympics used a fleet of 50 electric buses, which have a range of 130 km (81 mi) with the air conditioning on. They use Lithium-ion batteries, and consume about 1 kW·h/mi (0.62 kW·h/km; 2.2 MJ/km). The buses were designed by the Beijing Institute of Technology and built by the Jinghua Coach Co. Ltd.[12] The batteries are replaced with fully charged ones at the recharging station to allow 24 hour operation of the buses.[13]

In France, the bus electric phenomenon is in development, but we already can find some of them in operation in numerous cities of France.[14] PVI, a medium company located in the Paris region, is one of the leader of the market with its brand Gepebus (offering Oreos 2X and Oreos 4X).[15]

In the United States, the first battery-electric, fast-charge bus has been in operation in Pomona, California since September 2010 at Foothill Transit. The Proterra EcoRide BE35 uses lithium-titanate batteries and is able to fast-charge in less than 10 minutes.[16]

Thunder Sky[edit]

Thunder Sky (based in Hong Kong) builds lithium-ion batteries used in submarines and has three models of electric buses, the 10/21 passenger EV-6700 with a range of 280 km (170 mi) under 20 mins quick-charge, the EV-2009 city buses, and the 43 passenger EV-2008 highway bus, which has a range of 300 km (190 mi) under quick-charge (20 mins to 80%), and 350 km (220 mi) under full charge (25 mins). The buses will also be built in the United States and Finland.[17]

Free Tindo[edit]

Tindo is an all-electric bus from Adelaide, Australia. The Tindo (aboriginal word for sun) is made by Designline International[18] in New Zealand and gets its electricity from a solar PV system on Adelaide's central bus station. Rides are zero-fare as part of Adelaide's public transport system.[19]

First electric commercial bus[edit]

Seoul Metropolitan Government runs the world's first commercial all-electric bus service. The bus was developed by Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hankuk Fiber which make a lightweight body from carbon composite material. Provided with Li-on battery and regenerative braking, the bus may run to 52 miles (84 km) in a single 30 minutes charge. The maximum speed is 62 miles per hour (100 km/h).[20]

First Fast-Charge, Battery-Electric Transit Bus[edit]

Proterra's EcoRide BE35 transit bus, called the Ecoliner by Foothill Transit in West Covina, California, is the world’s first heavy duty, fast charge, battery-electric bus. Proterra's ProDrive drive-system uses a UQM motor and regenerative braking that captures 90% of the available energy and returns it to the TerraVolt energy storage system, which in turn increases the total distance the bus can drive by 31-35%. It can travel 30–40 miles on a single charge, is up to 600% more fuel-efficient than a typical diesel or CNG bus, and produces 44% less carbon than CNG.[21]

Semi-trailer trucks[edit]

The Port of Los Angeles and South Coast Air Quality Management District have demonstrated a short-range heavy-duty all electric truck capable of hauling a fully loaded 40-foot (12 m) cargo container. The current design is capable of pulling a 60,000 lb (27 t) cargo container at speeds up to 40 mph (64 km/h) and has a range of between 30 and 60 miles (48 and 97 km). It uses 2 kilowatt-hours per mile (1.2 kW·h/km; 4.5 MJ/km), compared to 5 miles per US gallon (47 L/100 km; 6.0 mpg-imp) for the hostler semi tractors it replaces.[22]

Electric tractors[edit]

Electric tractors have been built since the 1990s.[23][24][25]

Milk float[edit]

A Dairy Crest Smith's Elizabethan milk float

A common example of the battery electric trucks is the milk float. Since it makes many stops in delivering milk it is more practical to use an electric vehicle than a combustion truck, which would be idling much of the time; it also reduces noise in residential areas. For most of the 20th century, the majority of the world's battery electric road vehicles were British milk floats.[26] An innovator in this market was Smith Electric Vehicles. As the dairies phased out delivery by horse and cart, they opted for near-silent electric vehicles for their early morning deliveries, instead of the noisier ICE-powered vans and trucks. The rise of the supermarket coincided with the end of around half of all milk rounds during the 1990s and the milk float business (electric or otherwise) never recovered.

Garbage truck[edit]

With a similar driving pattern of a delivery vehicle like the milk float above, garbage trucks are excellent candidates for electric drive. Most of their time is spent stopping, starting or idling. These activities are where internal combustion engines are their least efficient. In preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games, 3,000 of the internal combustion engine garbage trucks in Beijing were replaced with lithium ion polymer battery pack electric drive trucks.[27] The batteries were procured for about $3,300 each.[28]

Pickup trucks[edit]

In early 2009, Phoenix Motorcars introduced a test fleet of their all-electric SUT (Sports Utility Truck) to Maui. One of the surviving electric vehicles from the late 1990s is the Chevy S-10 electric pickup truck. Many other vehicles from this era, such as the General Motors EV1 were recalled and destroyed. A newcomer is the Miles Electric Vehicles ZX40ST electric truck now available in the United States. Miles Electric Vehicles is based in Santa Monica, California.[29]

The Big Bike Company Limited, in Gloucestershire, England, is now offering fully electric pick up trucks for sale. Powered by an impressive bank of batteries, these small utility vehicles are able to deliver a payload of approximately 500 kg, and have a range of up to 80 miles (130 km). Using a 3 wheel configuration, the rolling and aerodynamic drag is reduced. As a tricycle it can also be driven on a motorcycle licence. They are marketed on the internet, and can be viewed on a temporary web site at

Electric cars[edit]

Main article: Electric car

An electric car is a plug-in battery powered automobile which is propelled by electric motor(s). Although electric cars often give good acceleration and have generally acceptable top speed, the lower specific energy of production batteries available in 2010 compared with carbon-based fuels means that electric cars need batteries that are fairly large fraction of the vehicle mass but still often give relatively low range between charges. Recharging can also take significant lengths of time. For shorter range commuter type journeys, rather than long journeys, electric cars are practical forms of transportation and can be recharged overnight.

The Tesla Model S has sold over 25,000 units up to December 2013.[30]

Electric cars have the potential of significantly reducing city pollution by having zero tail pipe emissions.[31][32][33] Vehicle greenhouse gas savings depend on how the electricity is generated. With the current U.S. energy mix, using an electric car would result in a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.[34][35][36][37] Given the current energy mixes in other countries, it has been predicted that such emissions would decrease by 40% in the UK,[38] 19% in China,[39] and as little as 1% in Germany.[40][41]

Electric cars are expected to have a major impact in the auto industry[42][43] given advantages in city pollution, less dependence on oil, and expected rise in gasoline prices.[44][45][46] World governments are pledging billions to fund development of electric vehicles and their components. The U.S. has pledged US$2.4 billion in federal grants for electric cars and batteries.[47] China has announced it will provide US$15 billion to initiate an electric car industry.[48]

By mid July 2013 the leading electric vehicle manufacturer is the Renault-Nissan Alliance with global sales of 100,000 all-electric vehicles since December 2010, which includes over 71,000 Nissan Leafs, about 11,000 Renault Twizy heavy quadricycles, almost 10,000 Renault Kangoo Z.E. utility vans, about 5,000 Renault Zoes, and over 3,000 Renault Fluence Z.E. electric cars.[49][50]

The Nissan Leaf is the world's top selling highway-capable electric car ever,[51] with global sales of 130,000 units by August 2014.[2] Ranking second is Mitsubishi Motors with global sales of around 32,685 electric vehicles from July 2009 through April 2013, and its all-electric line up includes the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the rebadged Peugeot iOn and Citroën C-Zero, and the Mitsubishi Minicab MiEV utility van, and sales figures include the Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV plug-in hybrid.[52] Tesla Motors is the third best-selling all-electric vehicle manufacturer, with almost 2,500 Tesla Roadsters and over 25,000 Tesla Model S cars sold through December 2013.[30] From their commercial introduction in 2010, sales of BEVs and PHEVs have increased each year, with 234,502 battery electric cars sold in the US by to August 2014.[53]


Launched in 2006, the Newton electric truck is an all electric commercial vehicle from Smith Electric Vehicles. The Newton comes in three GVW configurations: 7,500 pounds (3,400 kg), 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) and 12,000 pounds (5,400 kg). Each is available in short, medium or long wheelbase.

Smith Newton electric truck

The truck was launched with a 120 kilowatt electric induction motor from Enova Systems, driven by Lithium-Ion Iron Phosphate batteries supplied by Valence Technology. In 2012 Smith re-released the Newton with new driveline and battery systems that were developed inhouse. Smith offers the battery pack in either 80kWh or 120kWh configurations.

Newton was named Green Commercial of the Year in the electric vehicle section of Fleet Transport magazine’s Irish Truck of the Year Awards 2010, sponsored by Castrol.[54]

As of October 2012, the Newton is sold worldwide and available with three different payload capacities from 6,100 to 16,200 lb (2,800 to 7,300 kg).[55] The lithium-ion battery pack is available in varying sizes that deliver a range from 55 to 110 mi (89 to 177 km) and a top speed of 50 mph (80 km/h).

Special-purpose vehicles[edit]

Special-purpose vehicles come in a wide range of types, ranging from relatively common ones such as golf carts, things like electric golf trolleys, milk floats, all-terrain vehicles, neighborhood electric vehicles, and a wide range of other devices. Certain manufacturers specialize in electric-powered "in plant" work machines.


Battery electric railcars[edit]


Electric rail trolley[edit]

Main article: Cater MetroTrolley


Main article: Electrathon

Two wheels[edit]

Electric motorcycles and scooters[edit]

Electric bicycles[edit]

Main article: Electric bicycles


Main article: Segway PT

Three wheels[edit]

Main article: Electric rickshaw


Fuel use in vehicle designs
Vehicle type Fuel used
All-petroleum vehicle Most use of petroleum
Regular hybrid electric vehicle Less use of petroleum, but non-pluginable
Plug-in hybrid vehicle Residual use of petroleum. More use of electricity
All-electric vehicle Most use of electricity


Main article: Traction motor

Electric cars have traditionally used series wound DC motors, a form of brushed DC electric motor. Separately excited and permanent magnet are just two of the types of DC motors available. More recent electric vehicles have made use of a variety of AC motor types, as these are simpler to build and have no brushes that can wear out. These are usually induction motors or brushless AC electric motors which use permanent magnets. There are several variations of the permanent magnet motor which offer simpler drive schemes and/or lower cost including the brushless DC electric motor.

Motor controllers[edit]

Main article: Motor controller

The motor controller regulates the power to the motor, supplying either variable pulse width DC or variable frequency variable amplitude AC, depending on the motor type, DC or AC.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Dell, John. "California Tops the 100,000 Mark for Plug-In Vehicle Sales",, September 9, 2014
  2. ^ a b Faye Sunderland (2014-08-27). "Nissan LEAF arrives in Puerto Rico for first time". The Green Car Website UK. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  3. ^ a b David B. Sandalow, ed. (2009). Plug-In Electric Vehicles: What Role for Washington? (1st. ed.). The Brookings Institution. pp. 2–5. ISBN 978-0-8157-0305-1. See definition on pp. 2.
  4. ^ "Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs)". Center for Sustainable Energy, California. Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  5. ^ PRTM Management Consultants, Inc (April 2011). "The China New Energy Vehicles Program - Challenges and Opportunities". World Bank. Retrieved 2012-02-29.  See Acronyms and Key Terms, pp. v
  6. ^ "What is a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV)?". AutoblogGreen. 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 
  7. ^ ,2008
  8. ^ Downtown Electric Shuttle. Retrieved 18 August 2008.
  9. ^ Success Stories. Retrieved 18 August 2008.
  10. ^ Solectria Develops an All Electric Version of the Blue Bird TC2000. Retrieved 18 August 2008.
  11. ^ Electric School Bus. Retrieved 18 August 2008.
  12. ^ UNDP donates electric buses to Beijing Olympic Games. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
  13. ^ BIT Attends the Delivery Ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games Alternative Fuel Vehicles with its Pure Electric Bus. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
  14. ^ (French)
  15. ^
  16. ^ Proterra Launches First Deployment of All-Electric, Zero-Emission Buses by Major Transit Agency. Retrieved October 2011.
  17. ^ Thunder Sky website
  18. ^ Andrew Posner (December 19, 2007). "When The Sun Shines Down Under. . .It Powers a Bus". TreeHugger. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  19. ^ All-Electric, Solar-Powered, Free Bus!!!
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Theresa Adams Lopez (2008). "Electric Truck Demonstration Project Fact Sheet" (PDF). Port of Los Angeles. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  23. ^ Electric tractors
  24. ^ Steve Heckeroth's tractors
  25. ^ Yanmar tractor conversion
  26. ^ Escaping Lock-in: the Case of the Electric Vehicle
  27. ^ Electric Drive Garbage Trucks in Beijing
  28. ^ Advanced Battery Technologies, Inc. Signs Contract to Supply PLI Battery Cells for Electric Sanitation Trucks for 2008 Olympics
  29. ^ David Levine (June 17, 2009). "Creating a Buzz; A Sullivan County firm leads the way by selling alternative-power cars and trucks". Hudson Valley. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  30. ^ a b Mark Rogowsky (2014-01-16). "Tesla Sales Blow Past Competitors, But With Success Comes Scrutiny". Forbes. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  31. ^ "Should Pollution Factor Into Electric Car Rollout Plans?". 2010-03-17. Archived from the original on 24 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  32. ^ "Electro Automotive: FAQ on Electric Car Efficiency & Pollution". Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Plug-in Hybrid Cars: Chart of CO2 Emissions Ranked by Power Source". TreeHugger. Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  35. ^ "D:\MYDOCS\WPDOCS\1605B\EFACTO~1.WPD" (PDF). Archived from the original on 28 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  36. ^ "Electric Power Monthly - Table 1.1. Net Generation by Energy Source". Archived from the original on 15 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  37. ^ United States emission standards#Electricity generation
  38. ^ "Less CO2". My Electric Car. Archived from the original on 8 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  39. ^
  40. ^ ...the four electric vehicles analysed in this study consume around 1.7 times less primary energy and generate less than half the CO2 of a Toyota Prius...
  41. ^ Palm, Erik (2009-05-01). "Study: Electric cars not as green as you think | Green Tech - CNET News". Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  42. ^ "Ford says auto future hinges on electric car | | Detroit Free Press". Archived from the original on 21 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-18. [dead link]
  43. ^ Martin LaMonica (2009-02-02). "Plotting the long road to one million electric cars". Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  44. ^ Terry Macalister (2010-04-11). "US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015 | Business". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 15 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  45. ^ Terry Macalister (2010-02-07). "Branson warns of oil crunch within five years | Business". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 16 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  46. ^ Loveday, Eric (2010-06-08). "ALG predicts gas at $4.13 by 2013; residual values for compacts, hybrids to climb — Autoblog Green". Archived from the original on 14 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-16. 
  47. ^ "Obama pushes electric cars, battery power this week". USA Today. 2010-07-14. 
  48. ^ "Freidman OpEd: China's 'Moon Shot' Versus America's". 
  49. ^ Renault Media (2013-07-23). "Renault-Nissan sells its 100,000th electric car". Green Car Congress. Retrieved 2013-07-28. 
  50. ^ Renault (July 2013). "Ventes Mensuelles" [Monthly Sales] (in French). Retrieved 2013-07-20. Click on "Ventes mensuelles (décembre 2012) (xls, 294 Ko)" and Ventes mensuelles (juin 2013) (xlsx, 222 Ko)" to download the files for 2012 and 2013 sales, and open the tab "Sales by Model".
  51. ^ Guinness World Records (2012). "Best-selling electric car". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2013-01-22.  The Leaf surpassed the Mitsubishi i MiEV as the best selling all-electric car in history in 2011.
  52. ^ Eric Loveday (2013-05-16). "Here’s Your Top 10 Global Plug-In Vehicle Automakers Listed by Total Sales". Retrieved 2013-05-16.  4,304 Outlanders P-HEVs had been sold in Japan through March 2013.
  53. ^ O'Dell, John. "California Tops the 100,000 Mark for Plug-In Vehicle Sales",, September 9, 2014
  54. ^ "Smith Electric Vehicles - News". Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  55. ^ Smith Electric Vehicles. "SMITH VEHICLES - Models and Configurations". Smith Electric. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]