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|Plug-in hybrids · Electric vehicles|
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 engine (a hybrid electric vehicle), or a hydrogen fuel cell. Electric vehicles include electric cars, electric trains, electric lorries, electric aeroplanes, electric boats, electric motorcycles and scooters and electric spacecraft.
Electric vehicles first came into existence in the mid-19th century, when electricity was among the preferred methods for 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) is the dominant propulsion method for motor vehicles 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. Electric vehicles 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. Currently though there are more than 400 coal power plants in the U.S. alone. However it is generated, this energy is then transmitted to the vehicle through use of overhead lines, wireless energy transfer such as inductive charging, or a direct connection through an electrical cable. The electricity may then be stored 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 electric or hybrid electric vehicles is regenerative braking and suspension; their ability to recover energy normally lost during braking as electricity to be restored to the on-board battery.
In 2003, the first mass-produced hybrid gasoline-electric car, the Toyota Prius, was introduced worldwide, in the same year GoinGreen in London launched the G-Wiz electric car, a quadricycle that became the world's best selling EV, and the first battery electric car produced by a major auto company, the Nissan Leaf debuted in December 2010. California auto maker Fisker Automotive was the first to introduce a premium luxury Electric Vehicle with extended range, the Fisker Karma. Other major auto companies have electric cars in development, and various nations around the world are building pilot networks of charging stations to recharge them.
- Main article: History of the electric vehicle
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.
By the 20th century, electric cars and rail transport were commonplace, with commercial electric automobiles having the majority of the market. Over time their general-purpose commercial use reduced to specialist roles, as platform trucks, forklift trucks, tow tractors and urban delivery vehicles, such as the iconic British milk float; for most of the 20th century, the UK was the world's largest user of electric road vehicles.
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 favoured by Edison for use in electric cars.
Electric vehicles were among the earliest automobiles, and before the preeminence of light, powerful internal combustion engines, electric automobiles held many vehicle land speed and distance records in the early 1900s. They were produced by Baker Electric, Columbia Electric, Detroit Electric, and others, and at one point in history out-sold gasoline-powered vehicles.
In the 1930s, National City Lines, which was a partnership of General Motors, Firestone, and Standard Oil of California purchased many electric tram networks across the country to dismantle them and replace them with GM buses. The partnership was convicted of conspiring to monopolize the sale of equipment and supplies to their subsidiary companies conspiracy, but were acquitted of conspiring to monopolize the provision of transportation services. Electric tram line technologies could be used to recharge BEVs and PHEVs on the highway while the user drives, providing virtually unrestricted driving range. The technology is old and well established (see : Conduit current collection, Nickel-iron battery). The infrastructure has not been built.
In January 1990, General Motors' President introduced its EV concept two-seater, the "Impact", at the Los Angeles Auto Show. That September, the California Air Resources Board mandated major-automaker sales of EVs, in phases starting in 1998. From 1996 to 1998 GM produced 1117 EV1s, 800 of which were made available through three-year leases.
Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan and Toyota also produced limited numbers of EVs for California drivers. In 2003, upon the expiration of GM's EV1 leases, GM crushed them. The crushing has variously been attributed to 1) the auto industry's successful federal court challenge to California's zero-emissions vehicle mandate, 2) a federal regulation requiring GM to produce and maintain spare parts for the few thousands EV1s and 3) the success of the oil and auto industries' media campaign to reduce public acceptance of electric vehicles.
A movie made on the subject in 2005-2006 was titled Who Killed the Electric Car? and released theatrically by Sony Pictures Classics in 2006. The film explores the roles of automobile manufacturers, oil industry, the U.S. government, batteries, hydrogen vehicles, and consumers, and each of their roles in limiting the deployment and adoption of this technology.
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.
With increasing prices of gasoline, electric vehicles are hitting the mainstream.
Major car makers, such as Ford, Daimler AG, Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Corp., Renault SA, Peugeot-Citroen, VW, Nissan and Mitsubishi Corp., are developing new-generation electric vehicles.
There are many ways to generate electricity, some of them more ecological than others:
- on-board rechargeable electricity storage system (RESS), called Full Electric Vehicles (FEV). Power storage methods include:
- direct connection to generation plants as is common among electric trains, trolley buses, and trolley trucks (See also : overhead lines, third rail and conduit current collection)
- renewable sources such as solar power: solar vehicle
- generated on-board using a diesel engine: diesel-electric locomotive
- generated on-board using a fuel cell: fuel cell vehicle
- generated on-board using nuclear energy: nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers
It is also possible to have hybrid electric vehicles that derive electricity from multiple sources. Such as:
- on-board rechargeable electricity storage system (RESS) and a direct continuous connection to land-based generation plants for purposes of on-highway recharging with unrestricted highway range
- on-board rechargeable electricity storage system and a fueled propulsion power source (internal combustion engine): plug-in hybrid
Batteries, electric double-layer capacitors and flywheel energy storage are forms of rechargeable on-board electrical storage. By avoiding an intermediate mechanical step, the energy conversion efficiency can be improved over the hybrids already discussed, by avoiding unnecessary energy conversions. Furthermore, electro-chemical batteries conversions are easy to reverse, allowing electrical energy to be stored in chemical form.
Another form of chemical to electrical conversion is fuel cells, projected for future use.
For especially large electric vehicles, such as submarines, the chemical energy of the diesel-electric can be replaced by a nuclear reactor. The nuclear reactor usually provides heat, which drives a steam turbine, which drives a generator, which is then fed to the propulsion. See Nuclear Power
A few experimental vehicles, such as some cars and a handful of aircraft use solar panels for electricity.
- Main article: Traction motor
The power of a vehicle electric motor, as in other vehicles, is measured in kilowatts (kW). 100 kW is roughly equivalent to 134 horsepower, although most electric motors deliver full torque over a wide RPM range, so the performance is not equivalent, and far exceeds a 134 horsepower (100 kW) fuel-powered motor, which has a limited torque curve.
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.
It is generally possible to equip any kind of vehicle with an electric powertrain.
Hybrid electric vehicle
- Main article: Hybrid electric vehicle
A hybrid electric vehicle combines a conventional (usually fossil fuel-powered) powertrain with some form of electric propulsion. Common examples include hybrid electric cars such as the Toyota Prius.
On- and off-road electric vehicles
Electric vehicles are on the road in many functions, including electric cars, electric trolleybuses, Electric_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 electric vehicles
- Main article: Railway electrification system
The fixed nature of a rail line makes it relatively easy to power electric vehicles through permanent overhead lines or electrified third rails, eliminating the need for heavy onboard batteries. Electric locomotives, electric trams/streetcars/trolleys, electric light rail systems, and electric rapid transit are all in common use today, especially in Europe and Asia.
Since electric trains do not need to carry a heavy internal combustion engine or large batteries, they can have very good power-to-weight ratios. This allows high speed trains such as France's double-deck TGVs to operate at speeds of 320 km/h (200 mph) or higher, and electric locomotives to have a much higher power output than diesel locomotives. In addition they have higher short-term surge power for fast acceleration, and using regenerative braking can put braking power back into the electrical grid rather than wasting it.
Maglev trains are also nearly always electric vehicles.
Airborne electric vehicles
Since the beginning of the era of aviation, electric power for aircraft has received a great deal of experimentation. Currently flying electric aircraft include manned and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Seaborne electric vehicles
- See also: Submarine#Propulsion, Ship#Propulsion_systems, electric boat, Better Place, and Plug-in hybrid vehicle
Electric boats were popular around the turn of the 20th century. Interest in quiet and potentially renewable marine transportation has steadily increased since the late 20th century, as solar cells have given motorboats the infinite range of sailboats. Submarines use batteries (charged by diesel or gasoline engines at the surface), nuclear power, or fuel cells  to run electric motor driven propellers.
Spaceborne electric vehicles
- Main article: Electrically powered spacecraft propulsion
Electric power has a long history of use in spacecraft. The power sources used for spacecraft are batteries, solar panels and nuclear power. Current methods of propelling a spacecraft with electricity include the arcjet rocket, the electrostatic ion thruster, the Hall effect thruster, and Field Emission Electric Propulsion. A number of other methods have been proposed, with varying levels of feasibility.
Energy and motors
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 electric vehicles== +/−
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 pedilecs, electric motorcycles and scooters, neighborhood electric vehicles, industrial fork-lift trucks and including many hybrid vehicles.
Although electric vehicles have few direct emissions, all rely on energy created through electricity generation, and will usually emit pollution and generate waste, unless it is generated by renewable source power plants. Since electric vehicles use whatever electricity is delivered by their electrical utility/grid operator, electric vehicles can be made more or less efficient, polluting and expensive to run, by modifying the electrical generating stations. This would be done by an electrical utility under a government energy policy, in a timescale negotiated between utilities and government.
Fossil fuel vehicle efficiency and pollution standards take years to filter through a nation's fleet of vehicles. New efficiency and pollution standards rely on the purchase of new vehicles, often as the current vehicles already on the road reach their end-of-life. Only a few nations set a retirement age for old vehicles, such as Japan or Singapore, forcing periodic upgrading of all vehicles already on the road.
Electric vehicles will take advantage of whatever environmental gains happen when a renewable energy generation station comes online, a fossil-fuel 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
- Main article: Electric vehicle battery
Because of the different methods of charging possible, the emissions produced have been quantified in different ways. Plug-in all-electric and hybrid vehicles also have different consumption characteristics.
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. 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.
If a large proportion of private vehicles were to convert to grid electricity it would increase the demand for generation and transmission, and consequent emissions. However, overall energy consumption and emissions would diminish because of the higher efficiency of electric vehicles over the entire cycle. In the USA it has been estimated there is already nearly sufficient existing power plant and transmission infrastructure, assuming that most charging would occur overnight, using the most efficient off-peak base load sources.
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."
- Main article: Charging station
Electric vehicles typically charge from conventional power outlets or dedicated charging stations, a process that typically takes hours, but can be done overnight and often gives a charge that is sufficient for normal everyday usage.
However with the widespread implementation of electric vehicle networks within large cities, such as those provided by POD Point  in the UK and Europe, electric vehicle 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.
One proposed solution for daily recharging is a standardized inductive charging system such as Evatran's Plugless Power. Benefits are the convenience of with parking over the charge station and minimized cabling and connection infrastructure.
Another proposed solution for the typically less frequent, long distance travel is "rapid charging", such as the Aerovironment PosiCharge line (up to 250 kW) and the Norvik MinitCharge line (up to 300 kW). Ecotality is a manufacturer of Charging Stations and has partnered with Nissan on several installations. Battery replacement is also proposed as an alternative, although no OEM's including Nissan/Renault have any production vehicle plans. Swapping requires standardization across platforms, models and manufacturers. Swapping also requires many times more battery packs to be in the system.
One type of battery "replacement" proposed is much simpler: while the latest generation of vanadium redox battery only has an energy density similar to lead-acid, the charge is stored solely in a vanadium-based electrolyte, which can be pumped out and replaced with charged fluid. The vanadium battery system is also a potential candidate for intermediate energy storage in quick charging stations because of its high power density and extremely good endurance in daily use. System cost however, is still prohibitive. As vanadium battery systems are estimated to range between $350–$600 per kWh, a battery that can service one hundred customers in a 24 hour period at 50 kWh per charge would cost $1.8-$3 million.
According to Department of Energy research conducted at Pacific National Laboratory, 84% of existing vehicles could be switched over to plug-in hybrids without requiring any new grid infrastructure. 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). The emissions would be displaced away from street level, where they have "high human-health implications."
There is another way to "refuel" electric vehicles. Instead of recharging them from electric socket, batteries could be mechanically replaced on special stations just in a couple of minutes (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. 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.
Other in-development technologies
- Main article: Electric double-layer capacitor
Conventional electric double-layer capacitors are being worked to achieve the energy density of lithium ion batteries, offering almost unlimited lifespans and no environmental issues. High-K electric double-layer capacitors, such as EEStor's EESU, could improve lithium ion energy density several times over if they can be produced. Lithium-sulphur batteries offer 250Wh/kg. Sodium-ion batteries promise 400Wh/kg with only minimal expansion/contraction during charge/discharge and a very high surface area. Researchers from one of the Ukrainian state universities claim that they have manufactured samples of supercapacitor based on intercalation process with 318 W-h/kg specific energy, which seem to be at least two times improvement in comparison to typical Li-ion batteries.
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 electric vehicles, 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
Advantages and disadvantages of electric vehicles
Due to efficiency of electric engines as compared to combustion engines, even when the electricity used to charge electric vehicles 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.
Electric vehicles release almost no air pollutants at the place where they are operated. In addition, it is generally easier to build pollution control systems into centralised power stations than retrofit enormous numbers of cars.
Electric vehicles typically have less noise pollution than an internal combustion engine vehicle, whether it is at rest or in motion. Electric vehicles emit no tailpipe CO2 or pollutants such as NOx, NMHC, CO and PM at the point of use.
Electric motors don't require oxygen, unlike internal combustion engines; this is useful for submarines.
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 Electric Vehicle 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 electric vehicles, 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.
Electric motors are mechanically very simple.
Electric motors often achieve 90% energy conversion efficiency over the full range of speeds and power output and can be precisely controlled. They can also be combined with regenerative braking systems that have the ability to convert movement energy back into stored electricity. This can be used to reduce the wear on brake systems (and consequent brake pad dust) and reduce the total energy requirement of a trip. Regenerative braking is especially effective for start-and-stop city use.
They can be finely controlled and provide high torque from rest, unlike internal combustion engines, and do not need multiple gears to match power curves. This removes the need for gearboxes and torque converters.
Electric vehicles provide quiet and smooth operation and consequently have less noise and vibration than internal combustion engines. 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 electric vehicles are moving slowly, up to a speed when normal motion and rotation (road, suspension, electric motor, etc.) noises become audible.
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.
Electric vehicle 'tank-to-wheels' efficiency is about a factor of 3 higher than internal combustion engine vehicles. It does not consume energy when it is not moving, unlike internal combustion engines where they continue running even during idling. However, looking at the well-to-wheel efficiency of electric vehicles, their emissions are comparable to an efficient gasoline or diesel in most countries because electricity generation relies on fossil fuels.
Cost of recharge
The GM Volt will cost "less than purchasing a cup of your favorite coffee" to recharge. The Volt should cost less than 2 cents per mile to drive on electricity, compared with 12 cents a mile on gasoline at a price of $3.60 a gallon. This means a trip from Los Angeles to New York would cost $56 on electricity, and $336 with gasoline. This would be the equivalent to paying 60 cents a gallon of gas.
Stabilization of the grid
Since electric vehicles 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. This Vehicle to Grid (V2G) connection has the potential to reduce the need for new power plants.
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.
Many electric designs have limited range, due to the low energy density of batteries compared to the fuel of internal combustion engined vehicles. Electric vehicles also often have long recharge times compared to the relatively fast process of refueling a tank. This is further complicated by the current scarcity of public charging stations. "Range anxiety" is a label for consumer concern about EV range.
Heating of electric vehicles
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 from the combustion process from the waste heat from the engine cooling circuit and this offsets the greenhouse gases' external costs. If this is done with battery electric vehicles, this will require extra energy from the vehicles' batteries. Although some heat could be harvested from the motor(s) and battery, due to their greater efficiency there is not as much waste heat available as from a combustion engine.
However, for vehicles which are connected to the grid, battery electric vehicles can be preheated, or cooled, and need little or no energy from the battery, especially for short trips.
Newer designs are focused on using super-insulated cabins which can heat the 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 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.
Electric public transit efficiency
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, but combustion buses only last about 15-years.
Incentives and promotion
|This section requires expansion.|
- Main article: Electric vehicles in the United States
In 2003 the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated there would be 55,852 Full-electric vehicles (FEV) in 2004, with an annual growth rate of 39.1 % (excluding in this estimation electric hybrids).
The EIA's 2007 Annual Energy Review (AER) estimates the actual number of FEV's on the road in 2004 as 49,536 and a preliminary estimated 2006 number of 53,526.
President Barack Obama has announced $2.4 billion for electric vehicles; $1.5 billion in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce highly efficient batteries and their components; up to $500 million in grants to U.S. based manufacturers to produce other components needed for electric vehicles, such as electric motors and other components; and up to $400 million to demonstrate and evaluate Plug-In Hybrids and other electric infrastructure concepts—like truck stop charging station, electric rail, and training for technicians to build and repair electric vehicles (greencollar jobs).
Qualifying electric vehicles purchased new are eligible for a one-time federal tax credit that equals 10% of the cost of the vehicle up to $4,000, provided under Section 179A of the Energy Policy Act of 1992; it was extended through 2007 by the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004. A tax deduction of up to $100,000 per location is available for qualified electric vehicle recharging property used in a trade or business.
In 2008, 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." Other local and state governments have also expressed interest in electric cars.
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.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), which passed the Energy and Commerce Committee on May 21, 2009, has extensive provisions for electric cars. The bill calls for all electric utilities to, "develop a plan to support the use of plug-in electric drive vehicles, including heavy-duty hybrid electric vehicles". The bill also provides for "smart grid integration," allowing for more efficient, effective delivery of electricity to accommodate the additional demands of plug-in electric vehicles. Finally, the bill allows for the Department of Energy to fund projects that support the development of electric vehicle and smart grid technology and infrastructure.
The House of Representatives passed legislation in late 2008, enumerating tax credits ranging from $2500 to $7500 for electric vehicle buyers. The actual credit varies depending on the specified vehicle's battery capacity. The Chevrolet Volt and the Tesla vehicles are eligible for the full $7500 credit. The bill called for the credit to be applicable for the first 250,000 vehicles sold per manufacturer. 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. The Volt, plug-in Prius, and other PHEV's and BEV's will also be eligible for the credit when they are released in the coming years. The new credits update incentives introduced in 2006, that offered credits for gas-electric hybrids, "Based on a formula determined by vehicle weight, technology, and fuel economy compared to base year models", which expired after 60,000 units per manufacturer. The new credits will only apply to plug-in EVs and all-electric vehicles.
Electrification of transport (electromobility) figures prominently in the Green Car Initiative (GCI), included in the European Economic Recovery Plan. DG TREN is supporting a large European "electromobility" project on electric vehicles and related infrastructure with a total budget of around €50-million as part of the Green Car Initiative.
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 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. 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.
EU member states
Republic of Ireland
In the Republic of Ireland, Green Party minister for Energy, Eamon Ryan announced a scheme  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 electric vehicles have been exempted from VRT. Annual motor tax for electric vehicles is €104. The Government has set a target of 10% for all vehicles on Irish roads to be electric by 2020.
The Prime Minister of Finland Mr. Matti Vanhanen has mentioned that he wants to see more electric cars on Finnish roads as soon as possible and with any cost to the governmental car related tax incomes. Charging at home from motor and cabin heating outlets (common in all Nordic countries) has been determined to be a possible load on the grid. If all cars in Finland run totally on electricity, it will add 7-9 TWh annually to the load, which corresponds to 10 % of Finland's annual consumption. 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.
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 windmills — ahead of the UN Climate Summit that descended on Copenhagen in December 2009. A great deal of the electricity is generated by windmills.
"National Electric Mobility Platform" (NEMP) is a German government initiative to develop Germany into a leading market for electric mobility, with about 1 million electric vehicles on its streets by 2020.
As the latest development (October 2010) DBM Energy's electric Audi A2 completes record setting 372-mile (599 km) drive on a single charge.
The Portuguese Government launched in early 2008 a national Programme for Electric Mobility called Mobi.E.
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 Electric Vehicles. 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 electric vehicle 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:
- EVs are fully exempt from both the Vehicle Tax due upon purchase (Imposto Sobre Veículos) and the annual Circulation Tax (Imposto Único de Circulação);
- Personal Income Tax provides an allowance of EUR 803 upon the purchase of EVs;
- EVs are fully exempt from the 5%-10% company car tax rates which are part of the Corporation Income Tax;
- The Budget Law provides for an increase of the depreciation costs related to the purchase of EVs for the purpose of Corporation Income Tax;
- 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 a internal combustion engine vehicle built before 2000 is delivered when acquiring the new EV;
- 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.
|“||Electric vehicles are the future and the driver of the industrial revolution||”|
—Miguel Sebastián, Spanish Industry Minister 
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.
In October 2008 the then UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged £100 million in government money to support electric, hybrid and other more environmentally friendly car projects over a five-year period to help make Britain "the European capital for electric cars".
One of these projects was the Plugged-in-Places initiative which was a UK government incentive to encourage the take up of electric vehicles. In early 2010, it was announced which areas would be included in the scheme as part of phase 1:
- Milton Keynes
- North East England
These three areas have received £30 million funding from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to install 11,000 recharging points and help shape the future of the UKs electric vehicle infrastructure
In July 2010, the UK also announced it would honour a grant starting in January 2011 to give EV buyers a discount of 25%, of up to £5000 when buying an electric vehicle, provided the vehicle is one of a pre-approved selection of electric vehicles.
In December 2010 it was announced which areas will be included as part of phase 2 of the "Plugged-in places" program:
- Greater Manchester
- East of England
- Northern Ireland
These five areas will share £20 Million of government funding in March 2011, supplied by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
- Main article: Renewable energy in China
Many electric vehicle companies are looking to China as the leader of future electric car implementation around the world. In April 2009, Chinese officials announced their plan to make China the world's largest producer of electric cars. The Renault-Nissan Alliance will work with China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MITI) to help set up battery recharging networks throughout the city of Wuhan, the pilot city in the country's electrical vehicle pilot program. The corporation plans to have electric vehicles on the market by 2011. According to an April 10, 2009 New York Times article entitled "China Outlines Plans for Making 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 electric vehicles. 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.
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. The chief executive of Nissan Carlos Ghosn said earlier that the auto maker would likely produce the Leaf, a battery electric vehicle, in China if there are "substantial" purchase incentives offered to buyers.
In June 2009, it is reported that consumers in Japan who purchase an electric vehicle 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.
Electric vehicles are hitting the mainstream. Automakers has showcased at the 2009 Washington Auto Show and subsequents their commitment to quickly bringing electric hybrid and all-electric vehicles to market as early as 2010.
World production race
All major carmakers, such as Ford Motor Co., Daimler AG, Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Corp., Renault SA, Peugeot-Citroen, VW and Mitsubishi Corp., are developing new-generation electric vehicles. Automakers are in a new race to be the first to market an all-electric car to claim the mantle as the world's greenest automaker.
- Joule, designed by Cape Town-based Optimal Energy, 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.
- 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 electric vehicles, placing less demand on battery requirements, and making the vehicle more affordable.
- Shenzhen GreenWheel Electric Vehicle
- Zotye International
- EPower Cars
- Guangzhou Langqing Electric Car Co., Ltd.
- BYD F6DM (2008)
- Nanjing Dongyu Electric Motorcycle&Electric Bicycle
- Tradwin Hongkong International(Distributor)
- DOK-ING XD
- Malone TAZR (2010) Small private company producing lithium battery powered three wheeled electric sports car.
- Morgan LifeCar (2009+)
- Lightning GT (2009+)
- Imperia GP (2010), from 70,248€ Excl. VAT, preorders in 2009
- Smith Electric Vehicles Edison Van
- Modec Van
- Aixam Mega mini van
- Power Vehicle Innovation (electric trucks and buses) 
Portugal and Spain want to create the first green car in Iberia, hoping to generate 150 million euros worth of investment and 800 new jobs in the region's struggling motor industry. The green car, which could be powered by electricity. The Mobi-green car, as the vehicle is named, is being developed by two automotive research centres in Portugal and Spain using funds from both the public and private sectors. 
London, England is at the forefront and a London-based entrepreneur has just unveiled a three-wheeled zero-emission electric vehicle aimed at delivery fleets. The A-Kar is powered by lithium-ion battery cells and takes five hours for a full charge, giving a range of 70 miles (110 km) and a top speed of 35 mph. 
Practically the only EV to have been manufactured for several years is the Indian REVA. It is produced by REVA Electric Car Company Private Ltd. (RECC) in Bangalore, India, a company established in 1994 as a joint venture between the Maini Group India and AEV LLC, California USA. After seven years of R&D, they commercialized the first REVA car in June 2001.
The current version of the REVA is the REVAi. It was first reserved for the Indian market, but it is now distributed in several European countries: UK (by GoinGreen under the name G-Wiz), Cyprus and Greece (by REVA Phaedra Electricity Mobility Ltd., Belgium (by Green Mobil), Norway (by Ole Chr. Bye AS), Iceland (by Perlukafarinn ehf), Spain (by Emovement)and Germany (by Elektro PKW, the REVA is also available in the Republic of Ireland GreenAer. It may be exported to the USA with a speed limiter for use as a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV).
In July 2010, the government of Tamil Nadu allocated land in Ranipet to Bavina Cars India for production of electric cars. The plant is set to be operational by 2011.
In addition to Bangalore-based Reva, which currently is the only company actually selling EVs today, electric cars made in India includes:
- Mahindra & Mahindra: Four-seat model by 2010.
- Tata: 2008-2009 (also possibly an air car).
- Ajanta Group: clockmaker with plans for low-cost electric vehicle.
- Tara: Low-cost EV less than a Tata Nano.
- Hero Electric: 2013 Electric car.
With Tata, Ajanta and Tara talking about 'low-cost' cars and "less than a Tata Nano".
Startups are taking the lead in electric vehicles in North America 
- Myers Motors, a small private company
Buying and leasing
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).
On November 11, 2010, General Electric (GE) announced its plans to buy 25,000 electric vehicles by the year 2015. GE's chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, said that specifically, the company would convert half of its corporate fleet vehicles to electric vehicles 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 electric vehicles 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 electric vehicles 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.
- Main article: Battery electric vehicle
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.
Several startup companies like Tesla Motors, Commuter Cars, and Miles Electric Vehicles will have powerful battery-electric vehicles available to the public in 2008. Battery and energy storage technology is advancing rapidly. The average distance driven by 80% of citizens per day in a car in the US is about 50 miles (US dept of transport, 1991), which fits easily within the current range of the electric car. This range can be improved by technologies such as Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles which are capable of using traditional fuels for unlimited range, rapid charging stations for BEVs, improved energy density batteries, flow batteries, or battery swapping.
In 2006 GM began the development of a plug-in hybrid that will use a lithium-ion battery. The vehicle, initially known as the iCar, is now called the Chevrolet Volt. The basic design was first exhibited January 2007 at the North American International Auto Show. GM is planning to have this EV ready for sale to the public in the latter half of 2010. The car is to have a 40-mile (64 km) range. If the battery capacity falls below 30 percent a small internal combustion engine will kick in to charge the battery on the go. This in effect increases the range of the vehicle, allowing it to be driven until it can be fully charged by plugging it into a standard household AC electrical source. In December 2010 Nissan introduced the Nissan Leaf in Japan and the U.S. The Nissan Leaf is a five-door mid-size hatchback electric car. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined the range to be 117 kilometres (73 mi), with an energy consumption of 765 kJ/km (34 kWh per 100 miles).
Among other awards and recognition, the Nissan Leaf won the 2010 Green Car Vision Award award, the 2011 European Car of the Year award, the 2011 World Car of the Year, and ranks as the most efficient EPA certified vehicle for all fuels ever. The Ford C-MAX Energi was launched that year in response to the Leaf and Volt, to be available on the market within a year and estimated to have a 500-mile range.
On October 29, 2007, Shai Agassi launched Project Better Place, a company focused on building massive scale Electric Recharge Grids as infrastructure supporting the deployment of electric vehicles (including plug-in hybrids) in countries around the world. On January 21[when?], PBP and the Nissan–Renault group signed a MOU - PBP will provide the battery recharging and swapping infrastructure and Renault-Nissan will mass-produce the vehicles.
Improved long term energy storage and nano batteries
There have been several developments which could bring electric vehicles outside their current fields of application, as scooters, golf cars, neighborhood vehicles, in industrial operational yards and indoor operation. First, advances in lithium-based battery technology, in large part driven by the consumer electronics industry, allow full-sized, highway-capable electric vehicles to be propelled as far on a single charge as conventional cars go on a single tank of gasoline. Lithium batteries have been made safe, can be recharged in minutes instead of hours, and now last longer than the typical vehicle. The production cost of these lighter, higher-capacity lithium batteries is gradually decreasing as the technology matures and production volumes increase.
Rechargeable Lithium-air batteries potentially offer increased range over other types and are a current topic of research.
Introduction of battery management and intermediate storage
Another improvement is to decouple the electric motor from the battery through electronic control, employing ultra-capacitors to buffer large but short power demands and regenerative braking energy. The development of new cell types combined with intelligent cell management improved both weak points mentioned above. The cell management involves not only monitoring the health of the cells but also a redundant cell configuration (one more cell than needed). With sophisticated switched wiring it is possible to condition one cell while the rest are on duty.
Faster battery recharging
By soaking the matter found in conventional lithium ion batteries in a special solution, lithium ion batteries were supposedly said to be recharged 100x faster. This test was however done with a specially-designed battery with little capacity. Batteries with higher capacity can be recharged 40x faster. The research was conducted by Byoungwoo Kang and Gerbrand Ceder of MIT. The researchers believe the solution may appear on the market in 2011. 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. The company Epyon specializes in faster charging of electric vehicles.
Electric vehicle organisations
The World Electric Vehicle Association (WEVA), chairman Hisashi Ishitani, formed by:
- Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA)
- Electric Vehicle Association of Asia Pacific (EVAAP)
- European Association for Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (AVERE)
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- National Electric Drag Racing Association
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- Project EVIE
- East Coast Electric Drag Racing Association
- EV Cup
- Eşarj Electrical Vehicle Charge Systems - Esarj
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