Electric vehicle

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The Nissan Leaf is the world's top-selling highway-capable all-electric car in history totaling global sales of 100,000 units in mid January 2014.[1][2]

An electric vehicle (EV), also referred to as an electric drive vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. Three main types of electric vehicles exist, those that are directly powered from an external power station, those that are powered by stored electricity originally from an external power source, and those that are powered by an on-board electrical generator, such as an internal combustion engine (hybrid electric vehicles) or a hydrogen fuel cell.[3] EVs include ground vehicles such as plug-in electric cars, hybrid electric cars, fuel cell vehicles, electric trucks, electric motorcycles and scooters, electric trains, and electric space rovers; and also electric airplanes, electric boats, and electric spacecraft. Diesel submarines operating on battery power are, for the duration of the battery run, electric submarines, and some of the lighter UAVs are electrically-powered. Proposals exist for electric tanks.

EVs first came into existence in the mid-19th century, when electricity was among the preferred methods for motor vehicle propulsion, providing a level of comfort and ease of operation that could not be achieved by the gasoline cars of the time. The internal combustion engine (ICE) has been the dominant propulsion method for motor vehicles for almost 100 years, but electric power has remained commonplace in other vehicle types, such as trains and smaller vehicles of all types.

During the last few decades, environmental impact of the petroleum-based transportation infrastructure, along with the peak oil, has led to renewed interest in an electric transportation infrastructure.[4] EVs differ from fossil fuel-powered vehicles in that the electricity they consume can be generated 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. The carbon footprint and other emissions of electric vehicles varies depending on the fuel and technology used for electricity generation. The electricity may then be stored on board the vehicle using a battery, flywheel, or supercapacitors. 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 hybrid or plug-in electric vehicles is regenerative braking due to their capability to recover energy normally lost during braking as electricity is stored in the on-board battery.



EV 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 EV and an antique car on display at a 1912 auto show

Electric motive power started with a small drifter 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.[5]

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.[6]

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, ambulances,[7] 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.[8]

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.

EVs 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 fact, in 1900, 28 percent of the cars on the road in the USA were electric. EVs were so popular that even President Woodrow Wilson and his secret service agents toured Washington DC in their Milburn Electrics, which covered 60–70 miles per charge.[9]

A number of developments contributed to decline of electric cars.[10] Improved road infrastructure required a greater range than that offered by electric cars, and the discovery of large reserves of petroleum in Texas, Oklahoma, and California led to the wide availability of affordable gasoline, making gas-powered cars cheaper to operate over long distances.[11] Also gasoline-powered cars became ever easier to operate thanks to the invention of the electric starter by Charles Kettering in 1912, which eliminated the need of a hand crank for starting a gasoline engine, and the noise emitted by ICE cars became more bearable thanks to the use of the muffler, whichHiram Percy Maxim had invented in 1897. Finally, the initiation of mass production of gasoline-powered vehicles by Henry Ford in 1913 reduced significantly the cost of gasoline cars as compared to electric cars.[12]

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.


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 EVs.

General Motors EV1 electric car

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.

Ford released a number of their Ford Ecostar delivery vans into the market. 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. This lesson did not go unlearned; BMW of Canada sold off a number of Mini EV's when their Canadian testing ended.

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


A Tesla Roadster, a REVAi and a Th!nk City at a free parking and charging station in Oslo, Norway. The country has the largest electric car ownership per capita in the world.[13]

The Toyota Prius, the first mass-produced hybrid gasoline-electric car, was introduced worldwide in 2001. As of June 2013, a total of 3 million Prius cars have been sold worldwide in three generations, and it is the world's best selling hybrid.[14] As of November 2013, series production highway-capable all-electric cars available in some countries for retail customers include the Mitsubishi i MiEV, Chery QQ3 EV, JAC J3 EV, Nissan Leaf, Smart ED, BYD e6, Bolloré Bluecar, Renault Fluence Z.E., Ford Focus Electric, Tesla Model S, Honda Fit EV, RAV4 EV second generation, Renault Zoe, Roewe E50, Mahindra e2o, Chevrolet Spark EV, Fiat 500, and Volkswagen e-Up!. The Leaf, with 100,000 units sold worldwide by mid January 2014, is the world's top-selling highway-capable all-electric car in history.[1][2]

As of November 2013, production plug-in hybrids available include the Chevrolet Volt/Opel Ampera, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Ford C-Max Energi, Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid, Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid, Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV, Ford Fusion Energi and McLaren P1. Volt sales in the U.S. reached the 50,000 unit milestone in October 2013,[15] and with about 70,000 vehicles sold worldwide, the Volt/Ampera family is the world's top selling plug-in hybrid as of January 2014.[16]

Electricity sources[edit]

A passenger train, taking power through a third rail with return through the traction rails
An electric Locomotive at Brig, Switzerland

There are many ways to generate electricity, of varying costs, efficiency and ecological desirability.

Connection to generator plants[edit]

Onboard generators and hybrid EVs[edit]

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

It is also possible to have hybrid EVs that derive electricity from multiple sources. Such as:

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

For especially large EVs, 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.

Onboard storage[edit]

Electric Bus in Santa Barbara California

These systems are powered from an external generator plant (nearly always when stationary), and then disconnected before motion occurs, and the electricity is stored in the vehicle until needed.

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.

Lithium-ion Battery[edit]

Most of the electric vehicles used Lithium ion battery. Lithium ion batteries are environmental friendly and have higher energy density, longer life span, and higher power density than conventional battery so they have wide application in electric vehicles and other electronics. Since large number of Lithium-ion batteries used in series in electric vehicles so there arises the problems of safety, durability, thermal breakdown and cost, which limits the application of the Lithium ion battery.[clarification needed] Li-ion batteries should be used within the safe range of temperature and voltages in order to operate safely and efficiently.[17]

The life span of Li-ion battery[edit]

The main component of Electric vehicle is its battery. Since the price of the battery is very high we can decrease the effective cost of the battery by increasing it’s life span. According to the research carried out by the professors of Bar-Ilan University, Israel, we can increase the life span of the battery by operating only a subset of battery cells at a time instead of operating entire battery cells simultaneously, and switching these subsets. The researchers referred to this process as “Sequential Switching Algorithms”.[18]

Electric motor[edit]

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[edit]

The Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid is the top selling plug-in electric vehicle in the U.S. with cumulative sales of over 50,000 units through October 2013.[15]

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

Ground vehicles[edit]

Plug-in electric vehicle[edit]

A plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) is any motor vehicle that can be recharged from any external source of electricity, such as wall sockets, and the electricity stored in the rechargeable battery packs drives or contributes to drive the wheels. PEV is a subcategory of electric vehicles that includes all-electric or battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles, (PHEVs), and electric vehicle conversions of hybrid electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.[19][20][21]

Hybrid EVs[edit]

A hybrid electric vehicle combines a conventional (usually fossil fuel-powered) powertrain with some form of electric propulsion. An example of hybrid electric cars is the Toyota Prius, the world's top selling hybrid with more than 3 million units sold by June 2013.[14] The Chevrolet Volt is an example of a production plug-in hybrid, called an extended-range electric vehicle by General Motors. The Volt has sold more than 50,000 units in the United States by October 2013.[15]

On- and off-road EVs[edit]

An electric powertrain used by Power Vehicle Innovation for trucks or buses[22]

EVs are on the road in many functions, including electric cars, electric trolleybuses, electric buses, electric trucks, 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 EVs[edit]

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 EVs 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 EVs.

Space rover vehicles[edit]

Manned and unmanned vehicles have been used to explore the Moon and other planets in the solar system. On the last three missions of the Apollo program in 1971 and 1972, astronauts drove silver-oxide battery-powered Lunar Roving Vehicles distances up to 35.7 kilometers (22.2 mi) on the lunar surface. Unmanned, solar-powered rovers have explored the Moon and Mars.

Airborne EVs[edit]

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 EVs[edit]

Oceanvolt SD8.6 electric saildrive motor

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. Electric motors can and have also been used in sailboats instead of traditional diesel engines.[23] Submarines use batteries (charged by diesel or gasoline engines at the surface), nuclear power, fuel cells[24] or Stirling engines to run electric motor-driven propellers.

Electrically powered spacecraft[edit]

Electric power has a long history of use in spacecraft.[citation needed] 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.[specify]

Energy and motors[edit]

A trolleybus uses two overhead wires to provide electric current supply and return to the power source
An electric bus at Lucerne

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.

Properties of EVs[edit]


The type of battery, the type of traction motor and the motor controller design vary according to the size, power and proposed application, which can be as small as a motorized shopping cart or wheelchair, through pedelecs, electric motorcycles and scooters, neighborhood electric vehicles, industrial fork-lift trucks and including many hybrid vehicles.

Energy sources[edit]

Although EVs 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 EVs use whatever electricity is delivered by their electrical utility/grid operator, EVs 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 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.

EVs will take advantage of whatever environmental gains happen when a renewable energy generation station comes online, a fossil-fuel power 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[edit]

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.


Because of the different methods of charging possible, the emissions produced have been quantified in different ways.[25] Plug-in all-electric and hybrid vehicles also have different consumption characteristics.[26]

Electromagnetic radiation[edit]

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.[27] 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[edit]

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 EVs 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.[28]

In the UK however, things are different. While National Grid’s high-voltage electricity transmission system can currently manage the demand of 1 million electric cars, Steve Holliday (CEO National Grid PLC) said, “penetration up and above that becomes a real issue. Local distribution networks in cities like London may struggle to balance their grids if drivers choose to all plug in their cars at the same time."

Charging stations[edit]

Main article: Charging station

EVs 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.

However with the widespread implementation of electric vehicle networks within large cities, such as those provided by POD Point [5] in the UK and Europe, EV users can plug in their cars whilst at work and leave them to charge throughout the day, extending the possible range of commutes and eliminating range anxiety.

A recharging system that avoids the need for a cable is Curb Connect, patented in 2012[29] by Dr Gordon Dower. In this system, electrical contacts are fitting into curbs, such as angle parking spaces on city streets. When a suitably authorized vehicle is parked so that its front end overhangs the curb, the curb contacts become energized and charging occurs.

Another proposed solution for daily recharging is a standardized inductive charging system such as Evatran's Plugless Power. Benefits are the convenience of parking over the charge station and minimized cabling and connection infrastructure.[30][31][32] Qualcomm is trialling such a system in London in early 2012.[33][34]

Yet 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 OEMs 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, vanadium redox battery, 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[citation needed]. 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[citation needed]. 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[citation needed].

According to Department of Energy research conducted at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 84% of existing vehicles could be switched over to plug-in hybrids without requiring any new grid infrastructure.[35] In terms of transportation, the net result would be a 27% total reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, a 31% total reduction in nitrogen oxides, 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 (a 98% decrease in carbon monoxide and a 93% decrease in volatile organic compounds).[36] The emissions would be displaced away from street level, where they have "high human-health implications."[37]

Battery swapping[edit]

Instead of recharging EVs from electric socket, batteries could be mechanically replaced on special stations in a couple of minutes (battery swapping).

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.[38][39] 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. The cost of such batteries could be an issue, although they could be made with replaceable anodes and electrolyte.

Chassis swapping[edit]

Instead of replacing batteries, it is possible to replace the entire chassis (including the batteries, electric motor and wheels) of an electric Modular vehicle.

Such a system was patented in 2000[40] by Dr Gordon Dower and three road-licensed prototypes have been built by the Ridek Corporation in Point Roberts, Washington.

Dr Dower has proposed that an individual might own only the body (or perhaps a few different style bodies) for their vehicle, and would lease the chassis from a pool, thereby reducing the depreciation costs associated with vehicle ownership.

Other in-development technologies[edit]

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 250 Wh/kg.[41] Sodium-ion batteries promise 400 Wh/kg with only minimal expansion/contraction during charge/discharge and a very high surface area.[42] Researchers from one of the Ukrainian state universities claim that they have manufactured samples of pseudocapacitor based on Li-ion intercalation process with 318 Wh/kg specific energy, which seem to be at least two times improvement in comparison to typical Li-ion batteries.[43]


The United Nations in Geneva (UNECE) has adopted the first international regulation (Regulation 100) on safety of both fully electric and hybrid electric cars to ensure that cars with a high voltage electric power train, such as hybrid and fully EVs, are as safe as combustion cars. The EU and Japan have already indicated that they intend to incorporate the new UNECE Regulation in their respective rules on technical standards for vehicles[44]

There is a growing concern about the safety of EVs, their charging systems and their batteries[citation needed]. But EVs must meet all the same safety standards as conventional vehicles.[45] For functional safety there are already standards available (ISO 26262 and IEC 61508), as well as for charging systems (UL 2202, UL 2251 or UL Subject 2594). For batteries, chemical and mechanical components certain tests[46] and simulations can be performed to validate and certify their safety.

Advantages and disadvantages of EVs[edit]


Due to efficiency of electric engines as compared to combustion engines, even when the electricity used to charge EVs comes from a CO2-emitting source, such as a coal- or gas-fired powered plant, the net CO2 production from an electric car is typically one-half to one-third of that from a comparable combustion vehicle.[47][48]

EVs 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.

EVs typically have less noise pollution than an internal combustion engine vehicle, whether it is at rest or in motion. EVs emit no tailpipe CO2 or pollutants such as NOx, NMHC, CO and PM at the point of use.[49]

Electric motors don't require oxygen, unlike internal combustion engines; this is useful for submarines and for space rovers.

While electric and hybrid cars have reduced tailpipe carbon emissions, the energy they consume is sometimes produced by means that have environmental impacts. For example, the majority of electricity produced in the United States comes from fossil fuels (coal and natural gas), so use of an EV in the United States would not be completely carbon neutral. Electric and hybrid cars can help decrease energy use and pollution, with local no pollution at all being generated by EVs, and may someday use only renewable resources, but the choice that would have the lowest negative environmental impact would be a lifestyle change in favor of walking, biking, use of public transit or telecommuting. Governments may invest in research and development of electric cars with the intention of reducing the impact on the environment, where they could instead develop pedestrian-friendly communities or electric mass transit.[citation needed]


An Alkè electric city van.

Electric motors are mechanically very simple.

Electric motors often achieve 90% energy conversion efficiency[50] 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.

EVs provide quiet and smooth operation and consequently have less noise and vibration than internal combustion engines.[49] While this is a desirable attribute, it has also evoked concern that the absence of the usual sounds of an approaching vehicle poses a danger to blind, elderly and very young pedestrians. To mitigate this situation, automakers and individual companies are developing systems that produce warning sounds when EVs are moving slowly, up to a speed when normal motion and rotation (road, suspension, electric motor, etc.) noises become audible.[51]

Energy resilience[edit]

Electricity is a form of energy that remains within the country or region where it was produced and can be multi-sourced. As a result it gives the greatest degree of energy resilience.[52]

Energy efficiency[edit]

EV 'tank-to-wheels' efficiency is about a factor of 3 higher than internal combustion engine vehicles.[49] Energy is not consumed while the vehicle is stationary, unlike internal combustion engines which consume fuel while idling. However, looking at the well-to-wheel efficiency of EVs, their total emissions, while still lower, are closer to an efficient gasoline or diesel in most countries where electricity generation relies on fossil fuels.[53]

Well-to-wheel efficiency of an EV has less to do with the vehicle itself and more to do with the method of electricity production. A particular EV would instantly become twice as efficient if electricity production were switched from fossil fuel to a wind or tidal primary source of energy. Thus when "well-to-wheels" is cited, one should keep in mind that the discussion is no longer about the vehicle, but rather about the entire energy supply infrastructure - in the case of fossil fuels this should also include energy spent on exploration, mining, refining, and distribution.

Cost of recharge[edit]

According to General Motors, as reported by CNN Money, 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.[54]

The reality is that the cost of operating an EV varies wildly depending on the part of the world in which the owner lives. In some locations an EV costs less to drive than a comparable gas-powered vehicle, as long as the higher initial purchase-price is not factored in (i.e. a pure comparison of gasoline cost to electricity cost). In the USA, however, in states which have a tiered electricity rate schedule, "fuel" for EVs today costs owners significantly more than fuel for a comparable gas-powered vehicle. A study done by Purdue University found that in California most users already reach the third pricing tier for electricity each month, and adding an EV could push them into the fourth or fifth (highest, most expensive) tier, meaning that they will be paying in excess of $.45 cents per KWH for electricity to recharge their vehicle. At this price, which is higher than the average electricity price in the US, it is dramatically more expensive to drive a pure-EV than it is to drive a traditional pure-gas powered vehicle. "The objective of a tiered pricing system is to discourage consumption. It's meant to get you to think about turning off your lights and conserving electricity. In California, the unintended consequence is that plug-in hybrid cars won't be economical under this system," said Tyner (the author), whose findings were published in the online version of the journal Energy Policy.[55]

Stabilization of the grid[edit]

Since EVs can be plugged into the electric grid when not in use, there is a potential for battery powered vehicles to even out the demand for electricity by feeding electricity into the grid from their batteries during peak use periods (such as midafternoon air conditioning use) while doing most of their charging at night, when there is unused generating capacity.[56] This vehicle-to-grid (V2G) connection has the potential to reduce the need for new power plants, as long as vehicle owners do not mind their batteries being drained during the day by the power company prior to needing to use their vehicle for a return-commute home in the evening.

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.[57][58]


Many electric designs have limited range, due to the low energy density of batteries compared to the fuel of internal combustion engined vehicles. EVs 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. "Range anxiety" is a label for consumer concern about EV range.

Heating of EVs[edit]

In cold climates, considerable energy is needed to heat the interior of a vehicle and to defrost the windows. With internal combustion engines, this heat already exists as waste combustion heat diverted from the engine cooling circuit. This process offsets the greenhouse gases' external costs. If this is done with battery EVs, the interior heating requires extra energy from the vehicles' batteries. Although some heat could be harvested from the motor(s) and battery, their greater efficiency means there is not as much waste heat available as from a combustion engine.

However, for vehicles which are connected to the grid, battery EVs can be preheated, or cooled, with little or no need for battery energy, especially for short trips.

Newer designs are focused on using super-insulated cabins which can heat the vehicle using the body heat of the passengers. This is not enough, however, in colder climates as a driver delivers only about 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[59] 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.[60][61][62][63]

Electric public transit efficiency[edit]

Shifts from private to public transport (train, trolleybus, personal rapid transit or tram) have the potential for large gains in efficiency in terms of individual miles per kWh.

Research shows people do prefer trams,[64] because they are quieter and more comfortable and perceived as having higher status.[65]

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 net present value, they are also the cheapest—Blackpool trams are still running after 100-years,[citation needed] but combustion buses only last about 15-years.

Incentives and promotion[edit]


South Africa[edit]

  • GridCars, Is a Pretoria based company promoting Commuter Cars, their launch vehicle is based on the TREV from Australia. The idea is to build ultra-light EVs, placing less demand on battery requirements, and making the vehicle more affordable.[66]
  • Joule, designed by Cape Town-based Optimal Energy,[67] made its debut at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, has a maximum driving range of 300 km. It accommodates two large-cell lithium ion battery packs.[68]



To promote the adoption of electric vehicles, special green licence plates will be available. Customers may choose to purchase these plates for their electric vehicle or retain their existing passenger plates.[69]

United States[edit]

The Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and the Nissan Leaf electric car were the first two mass production plug-in electric vehicles introduced in the U.S., both in December 2010

President Barack Obama has announced $2.4 billion for EVs;[70] $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 EVs, 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 EVs (greencollar jobs).[71]

Qualifying EVs 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 EV recharging property used in a trade or business.

In 2008, San Francisco 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."[72] Other local and state governments have also expressed interest in electric cars.[73]

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.[74]

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 EVs. Finally, the bill allows for the Department of Energy to fund projects that support the development of EV and smart grid technology and infrastructure.[75]

The House of Representatives passed legislation in late 2008, enumerating tax credits ranging from $2500 to $7500 for EV 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.[76] 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.[77] The Volt, plug-in Prius, and other PHEVs and BEVs 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.[77] The new credits will only apply to plug-in EVs and all-electric vehicles.

A 2013 study published in the journal Energy Policy explored the relative benefits of a vehicle-charging network and hybrid vehicles with larger batteries. Across the battery-capacity and charging-infrastructure scenarios examined, the lowest-cost solution is for more drivers to switch to traditional hybrid electrics or low-capacity plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Installing charging infrastructure would provide lower gasoline savings per dollar spent than paying for increased PHEV battery capacity.[78][79]

In addition, the study determined that current federal subsidies are "not aligned with the goal of decreased gasoline consumption in a consistent and efficient manner."[78][79] For example, hybrid-vehicle credit is given according to battery capacity rather than electric-only vehicle range. This has in part encouraged the creation and marketing of vehicles such as the hybrid Cadillac Escalade, which gets a maximum of 23mpg on the highway.[80]



Many EV 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 EVs on the market by 2011. According to an April 10, 2009 New York Times article entitled "China Outlines Plans for Making Electric 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 many first time car-buyers are less accustomed to the power of gasoline-powered cars, subsequently diminishing the hindering nature of lower powered EVs. It reports that China would like to assist the industry with automotive innovation by launching a program that worths as much as 10 billion yuan ($1.46 billion). In the same article, it also reports that the U.S. government is providing $25 billion to help cover domestic automobile makers’ research costs.[81]

In 2010, it is reported that China, aiming to improve air quality and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, is going to commence a two-year pilot program of subsidizing buyers of alternative- energy cars in the five cities: Shanghai, Changchun, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Hefei. The subsidy will be as much as 60,000 yuan for battery electric cars and 50,000 yuan ($7,320) for plug-in hybrids. In 2009, BYD delivered 48 F3DM plug-in hybrids in the country. China also plans to expand a project of encouraging the use of energy-efficient and alternative-energy vehicles in public transport to 20 cities from 13.[82] The chief executive of Nissan Carlos Ghosn said earlier that the auto maker would likely produce the Leaf, a battery EV, in China if there are "substantial" purchase incentives offered to buyers.[83]

In 2011, only 8,159 electric cars were sold in China despite a 120,000 yuan subsidy. Unsubsidized lead-acid EVs are produced without government approval at a rate of more than 30,000 per year in Shandong and requires no driving license because the top speed is less than 50 km/h. They cost 31,600 yuan and have been the target of criticism from major car manufacturers.[84]


In June 2009, it is reported that consumers in Japan who purchase an EV like i-MiEV from Mitsubishi can receive subsidies that reduce cost of the vehicle to 3.209 million yen(about $33,000), down 30% from the original price of 4.59 million yen ($47,560). At that time, it is reported the program runs from April 2009 to March 2010. Electric cars, as well as hybrids, are also exempt from taxes for three years in Japan.[85]


European Union[edit]

Electrification of transport (electromobility) figures prominently in the Green Car Initiative (GCI),[86] included in the European Economic Recovery Plan. DG TREN is supporting a large European "electromobility" project on EVs and related infrastructure with a total budget of around €50-million as part of the Green Car Initiative.[49]

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[87] 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), EVs imposed by law and banned circulation for petroleum cars, permission to use bus lanes, free road tax, toll free travel on highways, exemption from congestion charging, free or reduced parking rates, and free charging at charge points, amongst other initiatives.[88] In Denmark, petrol cars are taxed at 180% + 25%, however, EV cars (max. 2000 kg total weight) are only taxed at 25%. Free parking is also offered to EVs in Copenhagen and other cities, and there is free recharging at some parking spaces.


Denmark was planning to introduce a greater number of battery driven electric cars on the streets — charged on renewable energy from the country's many wind turbines — ahead of the UN Climate Summit that descended on Copenhagen in December 2009. A great deal of the electricity is generated by wind turbiness.[89]


The Prime Minister of Finland (2003–2010) Mr. Matti Vanhanen has mentioned that he wants to see more electric cars on Finnish roads as soon as possible[90] and with any cost to the governmental car related tax incomes.[91] 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, although this load is expected to mainly take place at night when overall demand is lower. 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.[92] On-line route planners like http://www.uppladdning.nu/ 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.[93]


Smart ED all-electric car (right) and Opel Ampera plug-in hybrid (left) in Germany

"National Electric Mobility Platform" (NEMP)[94] is a German government initiative to develop Germany into a leading market for electric mobility, with about 1 million EVs on its streets by 2020.[95]

As the latest development (October 2010) DBM Energy's electric Audi A2 completes record setting 372-mile (599 km) drive on a single charge.[96]


The Portuguese Government launched in early 2008 a national Programme for Electric Mobility called Mobi.E.[97]

MOBI.E is based on an innovative approach to electric mobility. It has an open-access and market-oriented philosophy and, as a result, it proposes a fully integrated and totally interoperable system, multi-retailer and multi-operator model. Rather than a local experience, Mobi.E is deploying a national electric mobility system. However, the system was designed to be scalable and used in multiple geographies, overcoming the current situation of lack of communication among the different electric mobility experiences that are being deployed in Europe.

Mobi.E allows any individual the access to any provider of electricity in any charging point explored by any service operator. This ensures transparency, low entry barriers and competition along the value chain, with the goal of attracting private investors and benefiting the users, contributing to a faster expansion of the system.

Therefore, Portugal is one of the first countries in the world to have an integrated policy for electric mobility and a national charging network for EVs. By the first semester of 2011, a wide public network of 1 300 normal and 50 fast charging points will be fully implemented in the main 25 cities of the country, thus allowing EV users the ability to travel throughout the country in all comfort and safety.

In the top of the system there is a “Managing Authority” which acts as a Clearing House and intermediates the financial, information and energy flows among users, electricity sellers, operators of charging points, and the providers of any other associated service.

Additionally, several measures were taken to increase the demand for EVs in Portugal: (1) EVs are fully exempt from both the Vehicle Tax due upon purchase (Imposto Sobre Veículos) and the annual Circulation Tax (Imposto Único de Circulação); (2) Personal Income Tax provides an allowance of EUR 803 upon the purchase of EVs; (3) EVs are fully exempt from the 5%-10% company car tax rates which are part of the Corporation Income Tax; (4) The Budget Law provides for an increase of the depreciation costs related to the purchase of EVs for the purpose of Corporation Income Tax; (5) the first 5,000 EVs to be sold in Portugal will receive a €5,000 incentive fund, and the Cash-for-Clunkers program grants an additional €1,500 fund if an internal combustion engine vehicle built before 2000 is delivered when acquiring the new EV; (6) The Portuguese State did also commit to play a pedagogic role and defined that EVs will have a 20% share of the annual renewal of public car fleet, starting in 2011.

Republic of Ireland[edit]

In the Republic of Ireland, in 2010, then Green Party minister for Energy, Eamon Ryan announced a scheme[98] to deploy 1,500 electrical recharging stations for use with EVs. In addition, 30 high voltage fast charging units will be deployed, providing a high speed recharge facility every 60 km on interurban routes. Electricity supplied from these recharging points will be free initially. Additional incentives towards the purchase of EVs were announced, including a €5,000 capital grant. Series production EVs have been exempted from VRT.[99] Annual motor tax for EVs is €104. The Government has set a target of 10% for all vehicles on Irish roads to be electric by 2020.


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

Miguel Sebastián, Spanish Industry Minister[100]

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 Sebastián said.[89][100][101][102]

United Kingdom[edit]

Plug-in Car Grant

The Plug-in Car Grant started on 1 January 2011 and is available across the UK. The program reduces the up-front cost of eligible cars by providing a 25% grant towards the cost of new plug-in cars capped at GB£5,000 (US$7,800). Both private and business fleet buyers are eligible for this grant which is received at the point of purchase. The subsidy programme is managed in a similar way to the grant made as part of the 2009 Car Scrappage Scheme, allowing consumers to buy an eligible car discounted at the point of purchase with the subsidy claimed back by the manufacturer afterwards.[103][104][105]

The scheme was first announced in January 2009 by the Labour Government. The coalition government, led by David Cameron, took office in May 2010 and confirmed their support of the grant on 28 July 2010. This confirmed that GB£43 million would be available for the first 15 months of the scheme, with the 2011 Spending Review confirming funding for the programme for the lifetime of the Parliament of around GB£300 million.[106][107][108]

As of September 2012, the following cars are eligible for the grant: Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Peugeot iOn, Citroen C-ZERO, Smart Fortwo electric drive, Nissan Leaf, Tata Vista, Vauxhall Ampera, Chevrolet Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Renault Fluence ZE and Mia electric.[105] As of 30 June 2012, 1,706 claims had been made through the Plug-in Car Grant scheme.[105]

Plug-in Van Grant

The Plug-In Car Grant began in February 2012. Van buyers can receive 20% - up to £8000 - off the cost of a plug-in van. To be eligible for the scheme, vans have to meet performance criteria to ensure safety, range, and ultra-low tailpipe emissions. Consumers, both business and private will receive the discount at the point of purchase.[109]

As of June 30, 2012, a total of 99 claims have been made through the Plug-in Van Grant scheme. As of September 2012, the following vans are eligible for the grant: Azure Transit Connect Electric;Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell; Faam Ecomile; Faam Jolly 2000; Mia U; and Smith Electric Edison.[109]

Plugged-in Places

The Government is supporting the ‘Plugged-In Places’ programme to install vehicle recharging points across the UK. The scheme offers match-funding to consortia of businesses and public sector partners to support the installation of EV recharging infrastructure in lead places across the UK.[110] There are eight Plugged-In Places:East of England;[111] Greater Manchester; London;[112] Midlands;[113] Milton Keynes;[114] North East;[115] Northern Ireland;[116] and Scotland. The Government also published an Infrastructure Strategy in June 2011.[117]

Buying and leasing[edit]

U.S. Air Force[edit]

Air Force officials unveiled a plan Aug. 31, 2011, to establish Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., as the first federal facility to replace 100 percent of its general purpose fleet with plug-in EVs.

"With gas prices rising and the cost of batteries falling, now is the time to move toward electric vehicles," said Undersecretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton. "The 100-percent Electric Vehicle Base initiative is a critical first step in this direction and will help guide the way for broader fleet electrification."

Initial planning for the installation of charging infrastructure at Los Angeles AFB is already underway, and the vehicles could be in place as soon as January 2012.

As part of the program, all Air Force-owned and -leased general purpose fleet vehicles on the base will be replaced with PEVs. There are approximately 40 eligible vehicles, ranging from passenger sedans to two-ton trucks and shuttle buses. The replacement PEVs include fully -electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and extended-range EVs.

The initiative would not include force protection, tactical and emergency response vehicles, which would remain on an exempt status, according to officials. The program is also subject to environmental review.

Electrification of Los Angeles AFB's general purpose fleet is the first implementation step in an ongoing Department of Defense effort to establish strategies for large-scale integration of PEVs.[118]

U.S. Army[edit]

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).[119]

General Electric[edit]

On November 11, 2010, General Electric (GE) announced its plans to buy 25,000 EVs by the year 2015. GE's chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, said that specifically, the company would convert half of its corporate fleet vehicles to EVs by the year 2015 in an effort to give the new technology a jump start along with helping to develop a potentially big new consumer market for the vehicles. GE told the media that by electrifying its own fleet, the company will accelerate the adoption curve, drive scale, and move of EVs from anticipation to action. The company had originally hinted at this plan in late September.

The details of the announcement were that GE said it will buy 12,000 GM vehicles starting next year, beginning with the Chevy Volt. GE also plans to add other different types of EVs as a variety of automakers expand their electric car offerings and more cars come to the market. Every major automaker has plans to introduce cars that can be powered by electricity over the next two years. In addition, GE is hoping that its planned purchase will help drive down costs by increasing production volumes and assuring automakers that they will have at least one big buyer in the near future.[120]


Eliica Battery Electric Car with 370 km/h top speed and 200 km range

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".[89]

Improved long term energy storage and nano batteries[edit]

There have been several developments which could bring EVs 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 EVs 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.

Rechargeable lithium-air batteries potentially offer increased range over other types and are a current topic of research.[121]

Introduction of battery management and intermediate storage[edit]

Another improvement is to decouple the electric motor from the battery through electronic control, employing supercapacitors 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[edit]

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 specially designed battery with little capacity. Batteries with higher capacity can be recharged 40x faster.[122] The research was conducted by Byoungwoo Kang and Gerbrand Ceder of MIT. The researchers believe the solution may appear on the market in 2011.[123] Another method to speed up battery charging is by adding an additional oscillating electric field. This method was proposed by Ibrahim Abou Hamad from Mississippi State University.[124] In addition, the research done by Junqing Pan, Yanbin Qiu, Yanzhi Sun, and Zihao Wang of Beijing University of Chemical Technology suggests the possibility of using Silver Cuprate (chemical formula AgCuO2) to charge batteries, which could make the charging time as fast as refueling the gasoline vehicles.[125] The company Epyon specializes in faster charging of EVs.[126]

Free Software EVs[edit]

The Tumanako Project aims to provide open hardware and software to drive and recharge EVs.[127] Author Morgen E. Peck covers the project and talks with developer Philip Court. "The main offering of the Tumanako project is a drive package and inverter for a 200kW induction motor. This includes all of the software necessary to take a “go” command from a driver and the calculations for how much power to feed to the motor. Court says his code works but will not be fully open source — meaning there are still snippets of proprietary code — for another 6 months to a year."[128]

Next Generation Lithium Battery[edit]

Toyota Motors Corporation is trying to replace the current Lithium ion battery with solid-state battery technology by 2020. It has also planned to adopt lithium air battery technology as a successor of solid-state battery. The solid-state battery will be three to four times more efficient than the conventional Lithium ion battery whereas Lithium air battery will be more than five times more efficient than the current Lithium ion battery of same weight. In solid-state batteries, the liquid lithium electrolyte used in current Lithium ion battery will replace with a solid electrolyte. Similarly, in Lithium air battery, the lithium cathode used in traditional Lithium ion battery will be replaced by an active state of Lithium which interacts with oxygen easily and has much higher energy density than the current Lithium ion battery.[129][130]

EV organizations[edit]


  • Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA)
  • Electric Vehicle Association of Asia Pacific (EVAAP)
  • European Association for Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (AVERE)
  • Multilateral Cooperation to Advance Electric Vehicles
  • The Implementing Agreement for co-operation on Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies and Programmes (A-HEV) - IA-HEV was formed in 1993 to produce and disseminate balanced, objective information about advanced electric, hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles. IA-HEV is an international membership group collaborating under the International Energy Agency (IEA) framework.


North America[edit]


See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]