An electric car is a car that is propelled by one or more electric motors, using energy stored in rechargeable batteries. Compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, electric cars are quieter, have no exhaust emissions, and lower emissions overall. In the United States, as of 2020, the total cost of ownership of recent EVs is cheaper than that of equivalent ICE cars, due to lower fueling and maintenance costs. Charging an electric car can be done at a variety of charging stations; these charging stations can be installed in both houses and public areas.
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Several countries have established government incentives for plug-in electric vehicles, tax credits, subsidies, and other non-monetary incentives. Several countries have established a phase-out of fossil fuel vehicles, and California, which is one of the largest vehicle markets, has an executive order to ban sales of new gasoline powered vehicles by 2035.
The Tesla Model 3, which has a maximum range of 570 km (353 miles) according to the EPA, has been the world's best-selling electric vehicle (EV) on an annual basis since 2018, and became the world's all-time best-selling electric car in early 2020.
As of December 2019, the global stock of pure electric passenger cars totaled 4.8 million units, representing two-thirds of all plug-in passenger cars in use. In 2019, over half (54%) of the world’s all-electric car fleet was in China. Despite rapid growth, the global stock of fully electric and plug-in hybrid cars represented about 1 out of every 200 vehicles (0.48%) on the world's roads by the end of 2019, of which pure electrics comprised 0.32%. By the end of 2020 there were more than 10 million electric cars sold, an increase of 41% from prior year, according to an International Energy Agency report.
Electric cars are a type of electric vehicle (EV). The term "electric vehicle" refers to any vehicle that uses electric motors for propulsion, while "electric car" generally refers to highway-capable automobiles. Low-speed electric vehicles, classified as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) in the United States, and as electric motorised quadricycles in Europe, are plug-in electric-powered microcars or city cars with limitations in terms of weight, power and maximum speed that are allowed to travel on public roads and city streets up to a certain posted speed limit, which varies by country.
While an electric car's power source is not explicitly an on-board battery, electric cars with motors powered by other energy sources are typically referred to by a different name. An electric car using solar panels as a power source is a solar car, and an electric car powered by a gasoline generator is a form of hybrid car. Thus, an electric car that derives its power from an on-board battery pack is a form of battery electric vehicle (BEV). Most often, the term "electric car" is used to refer to battery electric vehicles, but may also refer to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).
The first practical electric cars were produced in the 1880s. In November 1881, Gustave Trouvé presented an electric car at the Exposition internationale d'Électricité de Paris. In 1884, over 20 years before the Ford Model T, Thomas Parker built a practical production electric car in Wolverhampton using his own specially designed high-capacity rechargeable batteries, although the only documentation is a photograph from 1895 (see below). The Flocken Elektrowagen of 1888 was designed by German inventor Andreas Flocken and is regarded as the first real electric car.
Electric cars were among the preferred methods for automobile propulsion in the late 19th and early 20th century, providing a level of comfort and ease of operation that could not be achieved by the gasoline cars of the time. The electric vehicle stock peaked at approximately 30,000 vehicles at the turn of the 20th century.
In 1897, electric cars found their first commercial use as taxis in Britain and the US. In London, Walter Bersey's electric cabs were the first self-propelled vehicles for hire at a time when cabs were horse-drawn. In New York City, a fleet of twelve hansom cabs and one brougham, based on the design of the Electrobat II, were part of a project funded in part by the Electric Storage Battery Company of Philadelphia. During the 20th century, the main manufacturers of electric vehicles in the US were Anthony Electric, Baker, Columbia, Anderson, Edison, Riker, Milburn, Bailey Electric, Detroit Electric and others. Unlike gasoline-powered vehicles, the electric ones were less noisy, and did not require gear changes.
Six electric cars held the land speed record in the 19th century. The last of them was the rocket-shaped La Jamais Contente, driven by Camille Jenatzy, which broke the 100 km/h (62 mph) speed barrier by reaching a top speed of 105.88 km/h (65.79 mph) on 29 April 1899.
Electric cars were popular until advances in internal combustion engine (ICE) cars (electric starters in particular) and mass production of cheaper petrol (gasoline) and diesel vehicles led to a decline. ICE cars' much quicker refueling times and cheaper production costs made them more popular. However, a decisive moment was the introduction in 1912 of the electric starter motor that replaced other, often laborious, methods of starting the ICE, such as hand-cranking.
Modern electric cars
The emergence of metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) technology led to the development of modern electric road vehicles. The MOSFET (MOS field-effect transistor, or MOS transistor), invented by Mohamed M. Atalla and Dawon Kahng at Bell Labs in 1959, led to the development of the power MOSFET by Hitachi in 1969, and the single-chip microprocessor by Federico Faggin, Marcian Hoff, Masatoshi Shima and Stanley Mazor at Intel in 1971. The power MOSFET and the microcontroller, a type of single-chip microprocessor, led to significant advances in electric automobile technology. MOSFET power converters allowed operation at much higher switching frequencies, made it easier to drive, reduced power losses, and significantly reduced prices, while single-chip microcontrollers could manage all aspects of the drive control and had the capacity for battery management. Another important technology that enabled modern highway-capable electric cars is the lithium-ion battery, invented by John Goodenough, Rachid Yazami and Akira Yoshino in the 1980s, which was responsible for the development of electric cars capable of long-distance travel.
In the early 1990s, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) began a push for more fuel-efficient, lower-emissions vehicles, with the ultimate goal being a move to zero-emissions vehicles such as electric vehicles. In response, automakers developed electric models, including the Chrysler TEVan, Ford Ranger EV pickup truck, GM EV1, and S10 EV pickup, Honda EV Plus hatchback, Nissan Altra EV miniwagon, and Toyota RAV4 EV. Both US Electricar and Solectria produced 3-phase AC Geo-bodied electric cars with the support of GM, Hughes, and Delco. These early cars were eventually withdrawn from the U.S. market.
California electric automaker Tesla Motors began development in 2004 of what would become the Tesla Roadster, which was first delivered to customers in 2008. The Roadster was the first highway legal all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells, and the first production all-electric car to travel more than 320 km (200 miles) per charge. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV, launched in 2009 in Japan, was the first highway legal series production electric car, and also the first all-electric car to sell more than 10,000 units (including the models badged in Europe as Citroën C-Zero and Peugeot iOn) in February 2011 as officially registered by Guinness World Records. Several months later, the Nissan Leaf, launched in 2010, surpassed the i MiEV as the all-time best selling all-electric car.
In July 2019, US-based Motor Trend magazine awarded the fully electric Tesla Model S the title "ultimate car of the year". In March 2020, the Tesla Model 3 passed the Nissan Leaf to become the world's all-time best-selling electric car, with more than 500,000 units delivered. The Leaf passed the 500,000 unit mark in December 2020.
Total cost of ownership
As of 2020 in the United States, the total cost of ownership of electric cars is less than comparable ICE cars, due to the lower cost of fueling and maintenance, more than making up for the higher initial cost.
The greater the distance driven per year, the more likely the total cost of ownership for an electric car will be less than for an equivalent ICE car. The break even distance varies by country depending on the taxes, subsidies, and different costs of energy. In some countries the comparison may vary by city, as a type of car may have different charges to enter different cities; for example, the UK city of London charges ICE cars more than the UK city of Birmingham does.
When designing an electric vehicle, manufacturers may find that for low production, converting existing platforms may be cheaper, as development cost is lower; however, for higher production, a dedicated platform may be preferred to optimize design, and cost. As of 2020 the electric vehicle battery is more than a quarter of the total cost of the car. Purchase prices are expected to drop below those of new ICE cars when battery costs fall below US$100 per kWh, which is forecast to be in the mid-2020s.
According to a study done in 2018, examining only fuel costs, the average fueling cost of an electric vehicle in the United States is $485 per year, as opposed to an ICE cars' $1,117 per year. Estimated gasoline costs varied from $993 in Alabama to $1,509 in Hawaii. Electric costs varied from $372 in Washington to $1,106 in Hawaii.
Electric cars have several benefits over ICE cars, including a significant reduction of local air pollution, as they do not directly emit pollutants such as volatile organic compounds, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone, lead, and various oxides of nitrogen.
Depending on the production process and the source of the electricity to charge the vehicle, emissions may be partly shifted from cities to the plants that generate electricity and produce the car as well as to the transportation of material. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted depends on the emissions of the electricity source and the efficiency of the vehicle. For electricity from the grid, the emissions vary significantly depending on the region, the availability of renewable sources and the efficiency of the fossil fuel-based generation used. Considering the average electricity mix in the EU, driving electric cars emits 44-56% less greenhouse gas than driving conventional cars. Including the energy intensive production of batteries in the analysis results in 31-46% less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional cars. For context, 94% of EU transport depended on oil in 2017.
Similar to ICE vehicles, electric cars emit particulates from tyre and brake wear, although regenerative braking in electric cars means less brake dust. The sourcing of fossil fuels (oil well to gasoline tank) causes further damage as well as use of resources during the extraction and refinement processes, including high amounts of electricity.
According to a 2020 study, balancing lithium supply and demand for the rest of the century will require good recycling systems, vehicle-to-grid integration, and lower lithium intensity of transportation.
Acceleration and drivetrain design
Electric motors can provide high power-to-weight ratios. Batteries can be designed to supply the electrical current needed to support these motors. Electric motors have a flat torque curve down to zero speed. For simplicity and reliability, most electric cars use fixed-ratio gearboxes and have no clutch.
Many electric cars have faster acceleration than average ICE cars, largely due to reduced drivetrain frictional losses and the more quickly-available torque of an electric motor. However NEVs may have a low acceleration due to their relatively weak motors.
Electric vehicles can also use a direct motor-to-wheel configuration that increases the available power. Having motors connected directly to each wheel allows the use of the motor for both propulsion and braking, increasing traction. Electric vehicles that lack an axle, differential, or transmission can have less drive-train inertia.
For example, the Venturi Fetish delivers supercar acceleration despite a relatively modest 220 kW (300 hp) motor and top speed of around 160 km/h (100 mph). Some direct current motor-equipped drag racer EVs have simple two-speed manual transmissions to improve top speed. The 2008 Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport can accelerate from 0 to 97 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in 3.7 seconds with a motor rated at 215 kW (288 hp). Tesla Model S P100D (Performance / 100kWh / 4-wheel drive) is capable of 2.28 seconds for 0–60 mph at a price of $140,000. As of May 2017, the P100D is the second quickest production car ever built, taking only 0.08 seconds longer for 0–97 km/h (0–60 mph), compared to a $847,975 Porsche 918 Spyder. The concept electric supercar Rimac Concept One claims it can go from 0–97 km/h (0–60 mph) in 2.5 seconds. Tesla claims the upcoming Tesla Roadster will go 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 1.9 seconds.
Internal combustion engines have thermodynamic limits on efficiency, expressed as fraction of energy used to propel the vehicle compared to energy produced by burning fuel. Gasoline engines effectively use only 15% of the fuel energy content to move the vehicle or to power accessories; diesel engines can reach on-board efficiency of 20%; electric vehicles have efficiencies of 69-72%, when counted against stored chemical energy, or around 59-62%, when counted against required energy to recharge.
Electric motors are more efficient than internal combustion engines in converting stored energy into driving a vehicle. However, they are not equally efficient at all speeds. To allow for this, some cars with dual electric motors have one electric motor with a gear optimised for city speeds and the second electric motor with a gear optimised for highway speeds. The electronics select the motor that has the best efficiency for the current speed and acceleration. Regenerative braking, which is most common in electric vehicles, can recover as much as one fifth of the energy normally lost during braking.
Cabin heating and cooling
While heating can be provided with an electric resistance heater, higher efficiency and integral cooling can be obtained with a reversible heat pump, such as on the Nissan Leaf. PTC junction cooling is also attractive for its simplicity — this kind of system is used, for example, in the 2008 Tesla Roadster.
To avoid using part of the battery's energy for heating and thus reducing the range, some models allow the cabin to be heated while the car is plugged in. For example, the Nissan Leaf, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Renault Zoe and Tesla cars can be pre-heated while the vehicle is plugged in.
Some electric cars (for example, the Citroën Berlingo Electrique) use an auxiliary heating system (for example gasoline-fueled units manufactured by Webasto or Eberspächer) but sacrifice "green" and "Zero emissions" credentials. Cabin cooling can be augmented with solar power external batteries and USB fans or coolers, or by automatically allowing outside air to flow through the car when parked; two models of the 2010 Toyota Prius include this feature as an option.
The safety issues of BEVs are largely dealt with by the international standard ISO 6469. This document is divided in three parts dealing with specific issues:
- On-board electrical energy storage, i.e. the battery
- Functional safety means and protection against failures
- Protection of persons against electrical hazards
Risk of fire
Like their ICE counterparts, electric vehicle batteries can catch fire after a crash or mechanical failure. Plug-in electric vehicle fire incidents have occurred, albeit less per distance travelled than ICE vehicles. The first modern crash-related fire was reported in China in May 2012, after a high-speed car crashed into a BYD e6 taxi in Shenzhen.
In the United States, General Motors ran a training program in several cities for firefighters and first responders to demonstrate how to safely disable the Chevrolet Volt's powertrain and its 12 volt electrical system. The Volt's high-voltage system is designed to shut down automatically in the event of an airbag deployment, and to detect a loss of communication from an airbag control module. GM made available an Emergency Response Guide for the 2011 Volt for use by emergency responders. The guide describes methods of disabling the high voltage system and identifies cut zone information. Nissan also published a guide for first responders that details procedures for handling a damaged 2011 Leaf at the scene of an accident, including a manual high-voltage system shutdown, rather than the automatic process built in the car's safety systems.
The weight of the batteries themselves usually makes an EV heavier than a comparable gasoline vehicle. In a collision, the occupants of a heavy vehicle will, on average, suffer fewer and less serious injuries than the occupants of a lighter vehicle; therefore, the additional weight brings safety benefits (to the occupant). Depending on where the battery is located, it may lower the center of gravity, increasing driving stability, lowering the risk of an accident through loss of control. An accident will, on average, cause about 50% more injuries to the occupants of a 2,000 lb (900 kg) vehicle than those in a 3,000 lb (1,400 kg) vehicle.
Some electric cars use low rolling resistance tires, which typically offer less grip than normal tires. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in America had condemned the use of low speed vehicles and "mini trucks," called NEVs when powered by electric motors, on public roads. Mindful of this, several companies (Tesla Motors, BMW, and Uniti) have succeeded in keeping the body light, while making it very strong.
As of 2018, most electric cars have similar driving controls to that of a car with a conventional automatic transmission. Even though the motor may be permanently connected to the wheels through a fixed-ratio gear, and no parking pawl may be present, the modes "P" and "N" are often still provided on the selector. In this case, the motor is disabled in "N" and an electrically actuated hand brake provides the "P" mode.
When an internal combustion vehicle's accelerator is released, it may slow by engine braking, depending on the type of transmission and mode. EVs are usually equipped with regenerative braking that slows the vehicle and recharges the battery somewhat. Regenerative braking systems also decrease the use of the conventional brakes (similar to engine braking in an ICE vehicle), reducing brake wear and maintenance costs.
Lithium-ion-based batteries are often used for their high power and energy density. Other battery types are cheaper, such as nickel metal hydride (NiMH), but have a poorer power-to-weight ratio than lithium-ion. Batteries with different chemical compositions are in development such as zinc-air battery that could be much lighter.
The EPA range of production electric vehicles in 2017 ranged from 100 km (60 miles) in the Renault Twizy to 540 km (340 miles) in the Tesla Model S 100D. Real-world range tests conducted by What Car in early 2019 found that the highest real-world range was 417 km (259 miles) in the Hyundai Kona.
The majority of electric cars are fitted with a display of the expected range. This may take into account how the vehicle is being used and what the battery is powering. However, since factors can vary over the route, the estimate can vary from the actual range. The display allows the driver to make informed choices about driving speed and whether to stop at a charging point en route. Some roadside assistance organizations offer charge trucks to recharge electric cars in case of emergency.
Electric cars are typically charged overnight from a charging station installed in the owner's house, or from faster charging stations found in businesses and public areas.
Compared to fossil fuel vehicles, the need for charging using public infrastructure is diminished because of the opportunities for home charging; vehicles can be plugged in and begin each day with a full charge, assuming the home charging station can charge quickly enough. An overnight charge of 8 hours using a 120-volt AC outlet will provide around 65 km (40 miles) of range, while a 240-volt AC outlet will provide approximately 290 km (180 miles).
Charging an electric vehicle using public charging stations takes longer than refueling a fossil fuel vehicle. The speed at which a vehicle can recharge depends on the charging station's charging speed and the vehicle's own capacity to receive a charge. Connecting a vehicle that can accommodate very fast charging to a charging station with a very high rate of charge can refill the vehicle's battery to 80% in 15 minutes. Vehicles and charging stations with slower charging speeds may take as long as 2 hours to refill a battery to 80%. As with a mobile phone, the final 20% takes longer because the systems slow down to fill the battery safely and avoid damaging it.
Electric vehicle charging plugs are not yet universal throughout the world. Europe uses the CCS standard, while CHAdeMO is used in Japan, and a GB/T standard is used in China. The United States has no de facto standard, with a mix of CCS, Tesla Superchargers, and CHAdeMO charging stations. However vehicles using one type of plug are generally able to charge at other types of charging stations through the use of plug adapters.
Range extender option
Some electric cars (for example, the BMW i3) have an optional gasoline range extender. The system is intended as an emergency backup to extend range to the next recharging location, and not for long-distance travel.
The range-extender option of the BMW i3 was designed to meet the CARB regulation for an auxiliary power unit (APU) called REx. According to rules adopted in March 2012 by CARB, the 2014 BMW i3 with a REx unit fitted was the first car ever to qualify as a range-extended battery-electric vehicle or "BEVx".
As with all lithium-ion batteries, electric vehicle batteries may degrade over long periods of time, especially if they are frequently charged to 100%; however, this may take at least several years before being noticeable.
Nissan stated in 2015 that at that point only 0.01 percent of batteries had to be replaced because of failures or problems, and then only because of externally inflicted damage. Vehicles that had already covered more than 200,000 km (124,274 mi) had no problems with the battery.
- Autonomous park-and-charge
Volkswagen, in collaboration with six partners, is developing an EU research project that is focused on automating the parking and charging of electric vehicles. The objective of this project is to develop a smart car system that allows for autonomous driving in designated areas (e.g. valet parking, park and ride) and can offer advanced driver support in urban environments. Tesla has shown a prototype of a robot arm that automatically charges their vehicles.
- Other methods of energy storage
Experimental supercapacitors and flywheel energy storage devices offer comparable storage capacity, faster charging, and lower volatility. In 2010, they were considered to have the potential to overtake batteries as the preferred rechargeable storage for EVs. The FIA included their use in its sporting regulations of energy systems for Formula One race vehicles in 2007 (for supercapacitors) and 2009 (for flywheel energy storage devices).
- Solar cars
Solar cars are electric vehicles powered completely or significantly by direct solar energy, usually through photovoltaic (PV) cells contained in solar panels that convert the sun's energy directly into electric energy, usually to charge a battery.
- Dynamic charging
Dynamic charging allows electric vehicles to charge while driving on roads or highways. Sweden is testing four different dynamic charging technologies, three of which are suitable for passenger cars:
|Type||Developer||Power(present)||Power(pending furtherdevelopment)||Requiredroad coverage atpresent power||Million SEK per kmof road at presentrequired coverage||References|
|Ground-level power supplythrough in-road rail||Elways||200 kW||800 kW||67%||9.4-10.5||:146–149:21–23,54|
|Ground-level power supplythrough on-road rail||Elonroad||300 kW||500 kW||60%||11.5-15.3||:25–26,54|
|Ground-level power supplythrough in-road inductive coils||Electreon||25 kW||180 kW||90%||19.5-20.8||:171–172:26–28,54|
Electric vehicle charging patents
Qualcomm, Hyundai, Ford, and Mitsubishi are the top patent holders of the close to 800 electric vehicle charging patents filed between 2014 and 2017. A majority of patents filed between 2014 and 2017 on electric vehicle charging were filed in Japan, followed by the US and then China.
Battery electric vehicles are most commonly charged from the power grid overnight at the owner's house. The electricity on the grid is in turn generated from a variety of sources; such as coal, hydroelectricity, nuclear and others. Power sources such as photovoltaic solar cell panels, micro hydro or wind may also be used and are promoted because of concerns regarding global warming.
Charging stations can have a variety of different speeds of charging, with slower charging being more common for houses, and more powerful charging stations on public roads and areas for trips. The BMW i3 can charge 0–80% of the battery in under 30 minutes in rapid charging mode. The superchargers developed by Tesla Motors provide up to 250 kW of charging, allowing a 250-mile charge in 30 minutes.
Most electric cars use conductive coupling to supply electricity for recharging after CARB settled on the SAE J1772-2001 standard as the charging interface for electric vehicles in California in June 2001. In Europe, the ACEA has decided to use the Type 2 connector from the range of IEC_62196 plug types for conductive charging of electric vehicles in the European Union, as the Type 1 connector (SAE J1772-2009) does not provide for three-phase charging.
Another approach is inductive charging using a non-conducting "paddle" inserted into a slot in the car. Delco Electronics developed the Magne Charge inductive charging system in 1998 for the General Motors EV1 that was also used for the Chevrolet S-10 EV and Toyota RAV4 EV vehicles.
Vehicle-to-grid: uploading and grid buffering
During peak load periods, when the cost of generation can be very high, electric vehicles with vehicle-to-grid capabilities could contribute energy to the grid. These vehicles can then be recharged during off-peak hours at cheaper rates while helping to absorb excess night time generation. The batteries in the vehicles serve as a distributed storage system to buffer power.
Currently available electric cars
Tesla became the world's leading electric vehicle manufacturer in December 2019, with cumulative global sales of over 900,000 all-electric cars since 2008. Its Model S was the world's top selling plug-in electric car in 2015 and 2016, and its Model 3 has been the world's best selling plug-in electric car for three years in a row, from 2018 to 2020. The Tesla Model 3 surpassed the Leaf in early 2020 to become the world's cumulative best selling electric car, with more than 500,000 sold by March 2020. Tesla produced its 1 millionth electric car in March 2020, becoming the first auto manufacturer to do so. Tesla has listed as the world's top selling plug-in electric car manufacturer, both as a brand and by automotive group for three years running, from 2018 to 2020.
As of December 2019, the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance is one of the world's leading all-electric vehicle manufacturer. Since 2010, the Alliance's global all-electric vehicle sales totaled over 800,000 light-duty electric vehicles through December 2019, including those manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors, now part of the Alliance. Nissan leads global sales within the Alliance, with about 500,000 cars and vans sold by April 2020, followed by the Groupe Renault with more than 273,550 electric vehicles sold worldwide through December 2019, including its Twizy heavy quadricycle. Mitsubishi's only all-electric vehicle is the i-MiEV, with global sales of over 50,000 units by March 2015, accounting for all variants of the i-MiEV, including the two minicab versions sold in Japan. The Alliance's best-selling Nissan Leaf was the world's top-selling plug-in electric car in 2013 and 2014. Through 2019, the Nissan Leaf was the world's all-time top-selling highway-legal electric car with global sales of almost 450,000 units. The Renault Kangoo Z.E. utility van is the European leader of the light-duty all-electric segment with sales of 57,595 units through November 2020.
Other leading electric vehicles manufacturers are BAIC Motor, with 480,000 units sold, SAIC Motor with 314,000 units, and Geely with 228,700, all cumulative sales in China as of December 2019. BMW is also a leading plug-in car manufacturer, with over 500,000 plug-in electric cars sold globally by December 2019, but its electrified vehicle lineup only includes one all-electric model, the BMW i3, with 200,000 units produced up to October 2020, including the REx variant.
The following table lists the all-time best-selling highway-capable all-electric cars with cumulative global sales of more than 135,000 units from their inception through December 2020:
|Global sales |
|Global annual |
|Tesla, Inc.||Tesla Model 3||2017-07||+810,000||365,000 (2020)||2020-12|
|Nissan||Nissan Leaf||2010-12||500,000||55,740 (2020)||2020-12|
|Tesla, Inc.||Tesla Model S||2012-06||308,000||28,000 (2019)||2020-12|
|Renault||Renault Zoe||2012-12||284,761||102,868 (2020)||2020-12|
|BAIC||BAIC EC-Series||2016-12||205,600(2)||27,350 (2019)||2020-12|
|BAIC||BAIC EU-Series||2016-01||203,800(2)||111,047 (2019)||2020-12|
|BMW||BMW i3||2013-11||191,000(3)||41,800 (2019)||2020-08|
|Tesla, Inc.||Tesla Model X||2015-09||180,000||39,000 (2019)||2020-12|
|SAIC-GM-Wuling||Wuling Hongguang Mini EV||2020-07||160,000||120,000 (2020)||2021-01|
|Chery||Chery eQ||2014-11||139,000||39,400 (2019)||2020-08|
|Volkswagen Group||Volkswagen e-Golf||2014-06||136,000||36,016 (2019)||2020-08|
(1) Vehicles are considered highway-capable if able to achieve at least a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph).
(2) Sales in main China only. (3) BMW i3 sales includes the REx variant (split is not available).
Retrofitted electric vehicles
Any car can be converted to an electric vehicle using plug-and-play custom solution kits. The car resulting from a conversion of an ICE car to an electric car is called an Retrofitted Electric Vehicle.
Electric cars by country
Global sales of highway legal plug-in electric passenger cars and light utility vehicles achieved the one million milestone in September 2015, almost twice as fast as hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). Cumulative global sales of light-duty all-electric vehicles reached one million units in September 2016. Global sales of plug-in passenger cars passed 2 million in December 2016, the 3 million mark in November 2017, the 5 million milestone in December 2018, and totaled 7.2 million units in December 2019. Despite rapid growth, the global stock of plug-in electric cars represented about 1 out of every 250 vehicles (0.40%) on the world's roads by the end of 2018.
As of December 2019, the global stock of pure electric passenger cars totaled 4.79 million units, representing two-thirds of all plug-in passenger cars on the world's roads. China has the largest all-electric car fleet in use, with 2.58 million at the end of 2019, more than half (53.9%) of the world’s electric car stock. In addition, there were almost 378,000 electric light commercial vehicles in use by the end of 2019, mainly in China and Europe.
All-electric cars have oversold plug-in hybrids for several years, and by the end of 2019, the plug-in market continues to shift towards fully electric battery vehicles. The global ratio between annual sales of battery BEVs and PHEVs went from 56:44 in 2012 to 74:26 in 2019.
Government policies and incentives
Several national, provincial, and local governments around the world have introduced policies to support the mass-market adoption of plug-in electric vehicles. A variety of policies have been established to provide: financial support to consumers and manufacturers; non-monetary incentives; subsidies for the deployment of charging infrastructure; and long-term regulations with specific targets.
Financial incentives for consumers are aiming to make electric car purchase price competitive with conventional cars due to the higher upfront cost of electric vehicles. Depending on battery size, there are one-time purchase incentives such as grants and tax credits; exemptions from import duties; exemptions from road tolls and congestion charges; and exemption of registration and annual fees.
The U.S. offers a federal income tax credit up to US$7,500. The UK offers a Plug-in Car Grant up to GB£4,500 (US$5,929). France introduced a bonus-malus CO
2-based tax that penalizes fossil-fuel vehicle sales. As of 2020, monetary incentives are available in several European Union member states, China, Norway, some provinces in Canada, South Korea, India, and other countries.
Among the non-monetary incentives, there are several perks such allowing plug-in vehicles access to bus lanes and high-occupancy vehicle lanes, free parking and free charging. Some countries or cities that restrict private car ownership (for example, a purchase quota system for new vehicles), or have implemented permanent driving restrictions (for example, no-drive days), have these schemes exclude electric vehicles to promote their adoption.
Some government have also established long term regulatory signals with specific targets such as Zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandates, national or regional CO
2 emission regulations, stringent fuel economy standards, and the phase out of internal combustion engine vehicle sales. For example, Norway set a national goal that by 2025 all new car sales should be ZEVs (battery electric or hydrogen).
EV plans from major manufacturers
|2020-11||Volkswagen||$86 billion||2025||27||2022||Plans 27 electric vehicles by 2022, on a dedicated EV platform dubbed "Modular Electric Toolkit" and initialed as MEB. In November 2020 it announced the intention to invest $86 billion in the following 5 years, aimed at developing EVs and increasing its share in the EV market. Total capital expenditure will include "digital factories", automotive software and self-driving cars.|
|2020-11||GM||$27 billion||2035||Announced that it’s boosting its EV and self-driving investment from $20 billion to $27 billion, and it currently plans to have 30 EVs on the market by the end of 2025 (including: the Hummer EV; the Cadillac Lyriq SUV; Buick, GMC, and Chevrolet EVs; and a Chevy compact crossover EV). CEO Barra said 40% of the vehicles GM will offer in the United States will be battery electric vehicles by the end of 2025. GM's "BEV3" next-generation electric vehicle platform is designed to be flexible for use in many different vehicle types, such as front, rear and all-wheel drive configurations.|
|2019-01||Mercedes||$23 billion||2030||10||2022||Plans to invest $23 billion in battery cells through 2030 and to have 10 all electric vehicles by 2022.|
|2019-07||Ford||$29 billion||2025||Will use Volkswagen's Modular Electric Toolkit ("MEB") to design and build its own fully electric vehicles starting in 2023. The Ford Mustang Mach-E is an electric crossover that will reach up to 480 km (300 miles). Ford is planning to release an electric F-150 in the 2021 time frame.|
|2019-03||BMW||12||2025||Plans 12 all electric vehicles by 2025, using a fifth-generation electric powertrain architecture, which will save weight and cost and increase capacity. BMW has ordered €10 billion worth of battery cells for the period from 2021 through 2030.|
|2020-01||Hyundai||23||2025||Announced that it plans 23 pure electric cars by 2025. Hyundai will announce its next generation electric vehicle platform, named e-GMP, in 2021.|
|2019-06||Toyota||Has developed a global EV platform named e-TNGA that can accommodate a three-row SUV, sporty sedan, small crossover or a boxy compact. Toyota and Subaru will release a new EV on a shared platform; it will be about the size of a Toyota RAV4 or a Subaru Forester.|
|2019-04||29 automakers||$300 billion||2029||A Reuters analysis of 29 global automakers concluded that automakers are planning on spending $300 billion over the next 5 to 10 years on electric cars, with 45% of that investment projected to occur in China.|
|2020-10||Fiat||Launched its new electric version of the New 500 for sale in Europe starting in early 2021.|
|2020-11||Nissan||Announced the intention to sell only electric and hybrid cars in China from 2025, introducing 9 new models. Nissan other plans includes manufacturing, by 2035, half zero-emission vehicles and half gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. In 2018 Infiniti, the luxury brand of Nissan, announced that by 2021 all newly introduced vehicles will be electric or hybrid.|
|2020-12||Audi||€35 billion||2021-2025||20||2025||30 new electrified models by 2025, of which 20 PEV. By 2030-2035, Audi intends to offer just electric vehicles.|
Psychological barriers to adoption
For the past century, most people have driven ICE cars, making them feel common, familiar, and low risk. Even though EV technology has been around for over a century and modern EVs have been on the market for decades, multiple studies show that various psychological factors impair EV adoption.
A 2019 study found that the dominant fear hindering EV adoption was range anxiety. ICE car drivers are accustomed to going on trips without having to plan refueling stops, and may worry that an EV will lack the range to reach their destination or the closest charging station. Range anxiety has been shown to diminish among drivers who have gained familiarity and experience with EVs.
This same study also found that people view driving an EV as an action taken by those with "stronger attitudes in favor of environmental and energy security" or by those that are "attracted to the novelty and status associated with being among the first to adopt new technology". Thus, people may be resistant to EV ownership if they do not consider themselves environmentalists or early adopters of new technology, or do not want others to think of themselves in this way.
The perceived value associated with driving an EV can also differ by gender. A 2019 survey conducted in Norway found that people believe women drive EVs for sustainability purposes, while men drive EVs for the new technology. The thought process behind this stereotype is that "big and expensive cars are driven by men, while women drive smaller, less valuable cars". Since the reasons behind adopting EVs have a gender component, it can be argued that some fear driving an EV will result in a disconnect between their gender identity and how they are perceived by others.
- Electric aircraft
- Electric boat
- Electric bus
- Electric car energy efficiency
- Electric motorcycles and scooters
- Electric motorsport
- Electric vehicle warning sounds - fake "engine sound" generated for pedestrian safety
- Battery electric vehicle
- Formula E
- List of electric cars currently available
- Phase-out of fossil fuel vehicles
- Solar car
- Electric vehicle
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- Jose, Pontes (31 January 2020). "Global Top 20 - December 2019". EVSales.com. Retrieved 10 May 2020. "Global sales totaled 2,209,831 plug-in passenger cars in 2019, with a BEV to PHEV ratio of 74:26, and a global market share of 2.5%. The world's top selling plug-in car was the Tesla Model 3 with 300,075 units delivered, and Tesla was the top selling manufacturer of plug-in passenger cars in 2019 with 367,820 units, followed by BYD with 229,506."
- Jose, Pontes (31 January 2019). "Global Top 20 - December 2018". EVSales.com. Retrieved 31 January 2019. "Global sales totaled 2,018,247 plug-in passenger cars in 2018, with a BEV:PHEV ratio of 69:31, and a market share of 2.1%. The world's top selling plug-in car was the Tesla Model 3, and Tesla was the top selling manufacturer of plug-in passenger cars in 2018, followed by BYD."
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Since 2010, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance has sold over 800,000 100%-electric vehiclesSee pp. 24 and 39. Since the launch of the Renault electric program, the Group has sold more than 252,000 electric vehicles in Europe and more than 273,550 electric vehicles worldwide. Since inception, a total of 181,893 Zoe cars, 48,821 Kangoo Z.E. electric vans and 29,118 Twitzy quadricycles have been sold globally through December 2019. Global sales of the Zoe totaled 48,269 units in 2019, and Kangoo ZE totaled 10,349.
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ZOE remains the number 1 most sold electric passenger car in Europe. More than 268,000 ZOE have been sold in Europe since its launch (As of November 2020).
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the BMW Group has reached another electromobility milestone and already delivered half a million electrified cars to customers worldwide.
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Q4 deliveries grew to 90,700 vehicles, which was 8% more than our prior all time-high in Q3. This included 63,150 Model 3 (13% growth over Q3), 13,500 Model S, and 14,050 Model X vehicles. In 2018, we delivered a total of 245,240 vehicles: 145,846 Model 3 and 99,394 Model S and X.
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Model 3/Y Production 87,282 Deliveries 76,266 (1Q 2020)Includes updated production and sales figures from 1Q 2019 through 1Q 2020.
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In Q4, we delivered 63,359 Model 3 vehicles to customers in North America.
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In Q3, we delivered 25,915 Model S and Model X vehicles and 222 Model 3 vehicles, for a total of 26,137 deliveries
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Since its market launch, the BMW i3 has been the most widely sold electric vehicle in the premium compact segment with more than 165,000 units already sold worldwide
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Tesla delivered just over 25,000 vehicles in Q1, of which approx 13,450 were Model S and approx 11,550 were Model X.
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Tesla delivered 29,870 vehicles, of which 15,200 were Model S, 13,120 were Model X, and 1,550 were Model 3
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Since its launch in July well over 160,000 units have been sold, all of them in Asia.
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At the end of 2018, some 5.3 million plug-in EVs were on the roadA total of 1.45 million light-duty pure electric vehicles were sold in 2018.
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The plug-in electric car segment represented just about 1 out of every 250 vehicles on the world's roads by the end of 2018
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