A Nissan Leaf electric car recharging at an on-street public charging station in Amsterdam
An electric vehicle(EV), also referred to as an electric drive vehicle, uses one or more electric motors ortraction motors forpropulsion. Three main types of electric vehiclesexist, those that are directly powered from an external power station, those that are powered by stored electricity originally from an external power source, and those that are powered by an on-board electrical generator, such as an internal combustion engine (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. Proposals exist forelectric tanks, diesel submarines operating on battery power are, for the duration of the battery run, electric submarines, and some of the lighter UAVs are electrically-powered.
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 formotor 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, andrenewable 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.
Electric vehicle model by Ányos Jedlik, an early electric motor experimenter ( 1828, Hungary) .
Edison and a 1914 Detroit Electric, model 47 (courtesy of the National Museum of American History)
An electric vehicle and an antique car on display at a 1912 auto show
Electric motive power started with a small drifter operated by a miniature electric motor, built by Thomas Davenport in 1835. In 1838, a Scotsman named Robert Davidsonbuilt 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.
Between 1832 and 1839 (the exact year is uncertain), Robert Andersonof Scotland invented the first crude electric carriage, powered by non-rechargeable primary cells.
By the 20th century, electric carsand 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, asplatform trucks, forklift trucks,ambulances, 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 coaltransport, as the motors did not use precious oxygen in the mines. Switzerland’s lack of natural fossil resources forced the rapid electrification of their rail network. One of the earliest rechargeable batteries – the nickel-iron battery – was favored by Edison for use in electric cars.
Electric vehicles were among the earliest automobiles, and before the preeminence of light, powerful internal combustion engines, electric automobiles held many vehicle land speed and distance records in the early 1900s. They were produced by Baker Electric, Columbia Electric, Detroit Electric, and others, and at one point in history out-sold gasoline-powered vehicles. In fact, in 1900, 28 percent of the cars on the road in the USA were electric. EVs were so popular that even President Woodrow Wilson and his secret service agents toured Washington DC in their Milburn Electrics, which covered 60–70 miles per charge.
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.
General Motors EV1 electric car
A movie made on the subject in 2005-2006 was titled Who Killed the Electric Car? and released theatrically by Sony Pictures Classics in 2006. The film explores the roles of automobile manufacturers, oil industry, the U.S. government, batteries, hydrogen vehicles, and consumers, and each of their roles in limiting the deployment and adoption of this technology.
Ford released a number of their Ford Ecostar delivery vans into the market. Honda, Nissan and Toyota also repossessed and crushed most of their EVs, which, like the GM EV1s, had been available only by closed-end lease. After public protests, Toyota sold 200 of its RAV EVs to eager buyers; they now sell, five years later, at over their original forty-thousand-dollar price. This lesson did not go unlearned; BMW of Canada sold off a number of Mini EV’s when their Canadian testing ended.
The production of the Citroën Berlingo Electrique stopped in September 2005.
A Tesla Roadster, a REVAi and a Th!nk City at a free parking and charging station in Oslo, Norway. The country has the largest electric car ownership per capita in the world.
The Toyota Prius, the first mass-produced hybrid gasoline-electric car, was introduced worldwide in 2001. As of February 2012, a total of 2.5 million Prius cars have been sold worldwide and it is the world’s best selling hybrid. As of July 2012, series production all-electric cars available in some countries include the Tesla Roadster, REVAi,Buddy, Mitsubishi i MiEV, Tazzari Zero, Nissan Leaf, Smart ED,Wheego Whip LiFe, Mia electric,BYD e6, Bolloré Bluecar, Renault Fluence Z.E., Ford Focus Electric, BMW ActiveE, Coda, and Tesla Model S. The Leaf, with more than 32,000 units sold worldwide by early July 2012, is the world’s top-selling highway-capable all-electric car. As of July 2012, production plug-in hybrids available include theBYD F3DM, Chevrolet Volt/Opel Ampera, Fisker Karma, and Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. The Chevrolet Volt family, with more than 20,000 units sold through June 2012 in the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland, is the world’s best-selling plug-in hybrid.
A passenger train, taking power through a third rail with return through the traction rails
An electric Locomotive at Brig, Switzerland
There are many ways to generate electricity, of varying costs, efficiency and ecological desirability.
Connection to generator plants
- direct connection to generation plants as is common amongelectric trains, trolley buses, andtrolley trucks (See also :overhead lines, third rail andconduit current collection)
Onboard generators and hybrid electric vehicle
(See articles on diesel-electric and gasoline-electric hybrid locomotion for information on electric vehicles using also combustion engines).
- renewable sources such assolar power: solar vehicle
- generated on-board using a diesel engine: diesel-electriclocomotive
- 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
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 usesolar panels for electricity.
These systems are powered from an external generator plant (nearly always when stationary), and then disconnected before motion occurs, and the electricity is stored in the vehicle until needed.
- on-board rechargeable electricity storage system (RESS), called Full Electric Vehicles (FEV). Power storage methods include:
- chemical energy stored on the vehicle in on-board batteries: Battery electric vehicle (BEV)
- static energy stored on the vehicle in on-board electric double-layer capacitors
- kinetic energy storage: flywheels
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.
The power of a vehicle electric motor, as in other vehicles, is measured inkilowatts (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
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. The Chevrolet Volt is an example of a production plug-in hybrid.
On- and off-road electric vehicles
An electric powertrain used by Power Vehicle Innovation for trucks or buses
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, andforklifts. Off-road vehicles include electrified all-terrain vehicles andtractors.
Railborne electric vehicles
A streetcar (or Tram) drawing current from a single overhead wire through a pantograph
The fixed nature of a rail line makes it relatively easy to power electric vehicles through permanent overhead lines or electrified third rails, eliminating the need for heavy onboard batteries.Electric locomotives, electrictrams/streetcars/trolleys, electric light rail systems, and electric rapid transitare 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 theelectrical grid rather than wasting it.
Maglev trains are also nearly always electric vehicles.
Airborne electric vehicles
Since the beginning of the era of aviation, electric power for aircraft has received a great deal of experimentation. Currently flying electric aircraft include manned and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Seaborne electric vehicles
Electric boats were popular around the turn of the 20th century. Interest in quiet and potentially renewable marine transportation has steadily increased since the late 20th century, as solar cells have given motorboats the infinite range ofsailboats. Submarines use batteries (charged by diesel or gasoline engines at the surface), nuclear power, fuel cells or Stirling engines to run electric motor-driven propellers.
Spaceborne electric vehicles
Electric power has a long history of use in spacecraft. The power sources used for spacecraft are batteries, solar panels and nuclear power. Current methods of propelling a spacecraft with electricity include the arcjet rocket, the electrostatic ion thruster, the Hall effect thruster, and Field Emission Electric Propulsion. A number of other methods have been proposed, with varying levels of feasibility.
Energy and motors
A trolleybus uses two overhead wires to provide electric current supply and return to the power source
An electric bus at Lucerne
Most large electric transport systems are powered by stationary sources of electricity that are directly connected to the vehicles through wires. Electric traction allows the use of regenerative braking, in which the motors are used as brakes and become generators that transform the motion of, usually, a train into electrical power that is then fed back into the lines. This system is particularly advantageous in mountainous operations, as descending vehicles can produce a large portion of the power required for those ascending. This regenerative system is only viable if the system is large enough to utilise the power generated by descending vehicles.
In the systems above motion is provided by a rotary electric motor. However, it is possible to “unroll” the motor to drive directly against a special matched track. These linear motors are used in maglev trains which float above the rails supported by magnetic levitation. This allows for almost no rolling resistance of the vehicle and no mechanical wear and tear of the train or track. In addition to the high-performance control systems needed, switching and curving of the tracks becomes difficult with linear motors, which to date has restricted their operations to high-speed point to point services.
Properties of 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
Old: Banks of conventional lead-acid car batteries are still commonly used for EV propulsion
75 watt-hour/kilogram lithium ion polymer battery prototypes. Newer Li-poly cells provide up to 130 Wh/kg and last through thousands of charging cycles.
Because of the different methods of charging possible, the emissions produced have been quantified in different ways. 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 metallicFaraday 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.”
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 chargingsystem such as Evatran’s Plugless Power. Benefits are the convenience of with parking over the charge station and minimized cabling and connection infrastructure. Qualcomm is trialling such a system in London in early 2012.
Another proposed solution for the typically less frequent, long distance travel is “rapid charging”, such as the Aerovironment PosiCharge line (up to 250 kW) and the Norvik MinitCharge line (up to 300 kW). Ecotality is a manufacturer of Charging Stations and has partnered with Nissan on several installations. Battery replacement is also proposed as an alternative, although no OEMs including Nissan/Renault have any production vehicle plans. Swapping requires standardization across platforms, models and manufacturers. Swapping also requires many times more battery packs to be in the system.
One type of battery “replacement” proposed, vanadium redox battery, is much simpler: while the latest generation of vanadium redox battery only has an energy density similar to lead-acid, the charge is stored solely in a vanadium-based electrolyte, which can be pumped out and replaced with charged fluid. 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 Northwest 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 thegreenhouse 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 compoundemissions (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
Conventional electric double-layer capacitors are being worked to achieve the energy density of lithium ion batteries, offering almost unlimited lifespans and no environmental issues. High-K electric double-layer capacitors, such as EEStor’s EESU, could improve lithium ion energy density several times over if they can be produced. Lithium-sulphur batteries offer 250 Wh/kg. Sodium-ion batteries promise 400 Wh/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 pseudocapacitor based on Li-ion intercalation process with 318 Wh/kg specific energy, which seem to be at least two times improvement in comparison to typical Li-ion batteries.
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
There is a growing concern about the safety of electric vehicles, their charging systems and their batteries. But electric vehicles must meet all the same safety standards as conventional vehicles. For functional safety there are already standards available (ISO 26262 and IEC 61508), as well as for charging systems (UL 2202, UL 2251 or UL Subject 2594). For batteries, chemical and mechanical components certain tests and simulations can be performed to validate and certify their safety.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a U.S. federal agency, opened a defect investigation on November 25, 2011 after concerns that theChevy Volt is at risk of battery fires in a crash. The U.S. House of Representatives is holding a hearing on the matter in January, 2011. Automotive consulting firm CNW Marketing Research discovered a decline in consumer interest in the Volt, citing the fires as having made an impact on consumer perception.
Advocates of EVs are concerned that the focus of the media and the reaction of U.S. Representative Jim Jordan are unwarranted. The fires leading to the investigations occurred only during NHTSA controlled crashes, including simulated rolling of the vehicles. In contrast, 184,000 vehicles caught fire on U.S. roads in 2010.
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.
An Alkè electric city van.
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 thaninternal combustion engine vehicles. Energy is not consumed while the vehicle is stationary, unlike internal combustion engines which consume fuel while idling. However, looking at the well-to-wheel efficiency of electric vehicles, their total emissions, while still lower, are closer to an efficient gasoline or diesel in most countries where electricity generation relies on fossil fuels.
It is worth noting that well-to-wheel efficiency of an electric vehicle has far less to do with the vehicle itself and more to do with the method of electricity production. A particular electric vehicle would instantly become twice as efficient if electricity production were switched from fossil fuel to a wind or tidal primary source of energy. Thus when “well-to-wheels” is cited, one should keep in mind that the discussion is no longer about the vehicle, but rather about the entire energy supply infrastructure – in the case of fossil fuels this should also include energy spent on exploration, mining, refining, and distribution.
Cost of recharge
According to General Motors, as reported by CNN Money, the GM Volt will cost “less than purchasing a cup of your favorite coffee” to recharge. The Volt should cost less than 2 cents per mile to drive on electricity, compared with 12 cents a mile on gasoline at a price of $3.60 a gallon. This means a trip from Los Angeles to New York would cost $56 on electricity, and $336 with gasoline. This would be the equivalent to paying 60 cents a gallon of gas.
The reality is that the cost of operating an EV varies wildly depending on the part of the world in which the owner lives. In some locations an EV costs less to drive than a comparable gas-powered vehicle, as long as the higher initial purchase-price is not factored in (i.e. a pure comparison of gasoline cost to electricity cost). In the USA, however, in states which have a tiered electricity rate schedule, “fuel” for electric vehicles today costs owners significantly more than fuel for a comparable gas-powered vehicle. A study done by Purdue University found that in California most users already reach the third pricing tier for electricity each month, and adding an electric vehicle could push them into the fourth or fifth (highest, most expensive) tier, meaning that they will be paying in excess of $.45 cents per KWH for electricity to recharge their vehicle. At this price, which is higher than the average electricity price in the US, it is dramatically more expensive to drive a pure-electric vehicle than it is to drive a traditional pure-gas powered vehicle. “The objective of a tiered pricing system is to discourage consumption. It’s meant to get you to think about turning off your lights and conserving electricity. In California, the unintended consequence is that plug-in hybrid cars won’t be economical under this system,” said Tyner (the author), whose findings were published in the online version of the journal Energy Policy.
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, as long as vehicle owners do not mind their batteries being drained during the day by the power company prior to needing to use their vehicle for a return-commute home in the evening.
Furthermore, our current electricity infrastructure may need to cope with increasing shares of variable-output power sources such as windmills and PV solar panels. This variability could be addressed by adjusting the speed at which EV batteries are charged, or possibly even discharged.
Some concepts see battery exchanges and battery charging stations, much like gas/petrol stations today. Clearly these will require enormous storage and charging potentials, which could be manipulated to vary the rate of charging, and to output power during shortage periods, much as diesel generators are used for short periods to stabilize some national grids.
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 as waste combustion heat diverted from the engine cooling circuit. This process offsets the greenhouse gases’ external costs. If this is done with battery electric vehicles, the interior heating requires extra energy from the vehicles’ batteries. Although some heat could be harvested from the motor(s) and battery, their greater efficiency means there is not as much waste heat available as from a combustion engine.
However, for vehicles which are connected to the grid, battery electric vehicles can be preheated, or cooled, with little or no need for battery energy, especially for short trips.
Newer designs are focused on using super-insulated cabins which can heat the vehicle using the body heat of the passengers. This is not enough, however, in colder climates as a driver delivers only about 100 W of heating power. A reversible AC-system, cooling the cabin during summer and heating it during winter, seems to be the most practical and promising way of solving the thermal management of the EV. Ricardo Arboix 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
Shifts from private to public transport (train, trolleybus or tram) have the potential for large gains in efficiency in terms of individual miles per kWh.
Research shows people do prefer trams, because they are quieter and more comfortable and perceived as having higher status.
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
The Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and theNissan Leaf electric car were the first twomass production plug-in electric vehiclesintroduced in the U.S., both in December 2010
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 Reedand 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, theU.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 electrificationdemonstration 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 PHEVs and BEVs will also be eligible for the credit when they are released in the coming years. The new credits update incentives introduced in 2006, that offered credits for gas-electric hybrids, “Based on a formula determined by vehicle weight, technology, and fuel economy compared to base year models”, which expired after 60,000 units per manufacturer. 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/ECof 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 VATand 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, in 2010, then 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 fromVRT. 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 (2003–2010) Mr. Matti Vanhanen has mentioned that he wants to see more electric cars on Finnish roads as soon as possibleand 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 likehttp://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.
Smart ED all-electric car (right) and Opel Ampera plug-in hybrid (left) in Germany
“National Electric Mobility Platform” (NEMP) is a German government initiative to develop Germany into a leading market forelectric 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: (1) EVs are fully exempt from both the Vehicle Tax due upon purchase (Imposto Sobre Veículos) and the annual Circulation Tax (Imposto Único de Circulação); (2) Personal Income Tax provides an allowance of EUR 803 upon the purchase of EVs; (3) EVs are fully exempt from the 5%-10% company car tax rates which are part of the Corporation Income Tax; (4) The Budget Law provides for an increase of the depreciation costs related to the purchase of EVs for the purpose of Corporation Income Tax; (5) the first 5,000 EVs to be sold in Portugal will receive a 5,000€ incentive fund, and the Cash-for-Clunkers program grants an additional 1,500€ fund if a internal combustion engine vehicle built before 2000 is delivered when acquiring the new EV; (6) The Portuguese State did also commit to play a pedagogic role and defined that EVs will have a 20% share of the annual renewal of public car fleet, starting in 2011.
|“||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.
The Plug-in Car Grant started on 1 January 2011 and is available across theU.K. The program reduces the up-front cost of eligible cars by providing a 25% grant towards the cost of new plug-in cars capped at GB£5,000 (US$7,800). Both private and business fleet buyers are eligible for this grant which is received at the point of purchase. The subsidy programme is managed in a similar way to the grant made as part of the 2009 Car Scrappage Scheme, allowing consumers to buy an eligible car discounted at the point of purchase with the subsidy claimed back by the manufacturer afterwards.
The scheme was first announced in January 2009 by the Labour Government. The coalition government, led by David Cameron, took office in May 2010 and confirmed their support of the grant on 28 July 2010. This confirmed that GB£43 million would be available for the first 15 months of the scheme, with the 2011 Spending Review confirming funding for the programme for the lifetime of the Parliament of around GB£300 million.
Vehicles eligible for the subsidy must meet the following criteria:
- Vehicle type: Only ultra-low emission cars are eligible (vehicle category M1). Motorbikes, quadricycles and vans are not covered.
- Carbon dioxide exhaust emissions: Vehicles must emit equal or less than 75grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre driven.
- Range: Electric vehicles (EVs) must be able to travel a minimum of 70 miles (110 km) between charges. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) must have a minimum all-electric range of 10 miles (16 km).
- Minimum top speed: Vehicles must be able to reach a speed of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) or more.
- Warranty: Vehicles must have a 3-year or 60,000 miles (97,000 km) vehicle warranty (guarantee) and a 3-year battery and electric drive train warranty, with the option of extending the battery warranty for an extra 2 years(‘drive train’ means the parts that send power from the engine to the wheels. These include the clutch, transmission (gear box), drive shafts, U-joints and differential).
- Battery performance: Vehicles must have either a minimum 5-year warranty on the battery and electric drive train as standard, or extra evidence of battery performance to show reasonable performance after 3 years of use
- Electrical safety: Vehicles must comply with certain regulations (UN-ECE Reg 100.00) that show that they are electrically safe.
- Crash safety: To make sure cars will be safe in a crash, they must either have: EC whole vehicle type approval (EC WVTA, not small series) or evidence that the car has appropriate levels of safety as judged by international standards
As of February 2012 the following cars are eligible for the grant: Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Peugeot iOn, Citroen C-ZERO, Smart Fortwo electric drive, Nissan Leaf,Tata Vista, Vauxhall Ampera, Chevrolet Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid,Renault Fluence ZE and Mia. As of 31 December 2011, 892 claims have been made through the Plug-in Car Grant scheme, with Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) data showing that 1,052 cars eligible for the Grant were registered over the same period.
Plug-in Van Grant: the Plug-In Car Grant was extended to include vans on 17 January 2011. Van buyers can receive 20% – up to £8000 – off the cost of a plug-in van. To be eligible for the scheme, vans have to meet performance criteria to ensure safety, range, and ultra-low tailpipe emissions. Consumers, both business and private will receive the discount at the point of purchase.
The criteria are:
- Vehicle type: only new vans are eligible (vehicle category ‘N1’ with a gross weight of 3.5 tonnes or less). This includes pre-registration conversions (normal, internal combustion engine vans that were converted to battery or hybrid versions by specialist converters before the car’s first registration).
- Carbon dioxide exhaust emissions: vehicles must emit less than 75 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre driven.
- Range: eligible fully electric vans must be able to travel a minimum of 60 miles between charges. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) must have a minimum electric range of 10 miles.
- Minimum top speed: vehicles must be able to reach a speed of 50 miles per hour or more.
- Warranty: Vehicles must have a 3-year or 60,000-miles vehicle warranty (guarantee) and a 3-year battery and electric drive train warranty, with the option of extending the battery warranty for an extra 2 years
- Battery performance: vehicles must have either a minimum 5-year warranty on the battery and electric drive train as standard
or extra evidence of battery performance to show reasonable performance after 3 years of use
- Electrical safety: vehicles must comply with certain regulations (UN-ECE Reg 100.00) that show that they are electrically safe.
- Crash safety: to make sure vans will be safe in a crash, they must either have EC whole vehicle type approval (EC WVTA, not small series) or evidence that the car has appropriate levels of safety as judged by international standards.
The first seven vans eligible for the scheme were announced on 21 February 2012. These are Azure Dynamics – Azure Dynamics – Transit Connect Electric, Daimler Mercedes-Benz – Vito E-Cell, Faam – ECOMILE, Faam – JOLLY 2000, Mia-electric Mia U, Renault – Kangoo ZE variants Kangoo VAN ZE Renault – Kangoo Van ZE, Smith Electric – Edison.
Plugged-in Places The Government is supporting the ‘Plugged-In Places’ programme to install vehicle recharging points across the UK. The scheme offers match-funding to consortia of businesses and public sector partners to support the installation of electric vehicle recharging infrastructure in lead places across the UK. There are eight Plugged-In Places:East of England;Greater Manchester; London; Midlands; Milton Keynes; North East; Northern Ireland; and Scotland. The Government also published an Infrastructure Strategy in June 2011.
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 2011, only 8,159 electric cars were sold in China despite a 120,000 yuan subsidy. Unsubsidized lead-acid electric vehicles are produced without government approval at a rate of more than 30,000 per year in Shandong and requires no driving license because the top speed is less than 50 km/h. They cost 31,600 yuan and have been the target of criticism from major car manufacturers.
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.
- 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.
Buying and leasing
U.S. Air Force
Air Force officials unveiled a plan Aug. 31, 2011, to establish Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., as the first federal facility to replace 100 percent of its general purpose fleet with plug-in electric vehicles.
“With gas prices rising and the cost of batteries falling, now is the time to move toward electric vehicles,” said Undersecretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton. “The 100-percent Electric Vehicle Base initiative is a critical first step in this direction and will help guide the way for broader fleet electrification.”
Initial planning for the installation of charging infrastructure at Los Angeles AFB is already underway, and the vehicles could be in place as soon as January 2012.
As part of the program, all Air Force-owned and -leased general purpose fleet vehicles on the base will be replaced with PEVs. There are approximately 40 eligible vehicles, ranging from passenger sedans to two-ton trucks and shuttle buses. The replacement PEVs include fully -electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and extended-range electric vehicles.
The initiative would not include force protection, tactical and emergency response vehicles, which would remain on an exempt status, according to officials. The program is also subject to environmental review.
Electrification of Los Angeles AFB’s general purpose fleet is the first implementation step in an ongoing Department of Defense effort to establish strategies for large-scale integration of PEVs.
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.
Eliica Battery Electric Car with 370 km/h top speed and 200 km range
The number of US survey respondents willing to pay $4,000 more for a plug-in hybrid car increased from 17% in 2005 to 26% in 2006.
Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, head of theCentre of Automotive Research at theGelsenkirchen 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 hybridelectric 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, 2008, PBP and the Nissan–Renaultgroup 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 inlithium-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 fromMississippi State University. The company Epyon specializes in faster charging of electric vehicles.
Free Software EVs
The Tumanako Project aims to provide open hardware and software to drive and recharge electric vehicles. Author Morgen E. Peck covers the project and talks with developer Philip Court. “The main offering of the Tumanako project is a drive package and inverter for a 200kW induction motor. This includes all of the software necessary to take a “go” command from a driver and the calculations for how much power to feed to the motor. Court says his code works but will not be fully open source — meaning there are still snippets of proprietary code — for another 6 months to a year.”
Electric vehicle organizations
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)
- “Electric Vehicles Research”. idtechex.com.
Multilateral Cooperation to Advance Electric Vehicles
- The Implementing Agreement for co-operation on Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies and Programmes (IA-HEV)
IA-HEV was formed in 1993 to produce and disseminate balanced, objective information about advanced electric, hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles. IA-HEV is an international membership group collaborating under the International Energy Agency (IEA) framework.
- National Electric Drag Racing Association
- Electric Auto Association (EAA) (North America) and its chapter Plug In America.
- Project EVIE
- East Coast Electric Drag Racing Association
- Magazine About Hybrid Cars And Electric Vehicles
- EV Cup
- Eşarj Electrical Vehicle Charge Systems – Esarj
- U.S. Patent 1,017,198, E. W. Bender, Electric Motor vehicle
|Sustainable development portal|
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The REVAi/G-Wiz i electric car charging at an on-street station in London.
An electric car is anautomobile that ispropelled by one electric motor or more, using electrical energy stored in batteries or another energy storage device.Electric motors give electric cars instant torque, creating strong and smooth acceleration.
Electric cars were popular in the late 19th century and early 20th century, until advances in internal combustion engine technology and mass production of cheaper gasoline vehicles led to a decline in the use of electric drive vehicles. The energy crises of the 1970s and ’80s brought a short-lived interest in electric cars, though those cars did not reach mass marketing as today’s electric cars experience it. Since the mid-2000s, the production of electric cars is experiencing a renaissance due to advances in battery and power management technologies and concerns about increasingly volatile oil prices and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As of September 2012, series production highway-capable models available in some countries include the Tesla Roadster, REVAi, Buddy,Mitsubishi i MiEV, Nissan Leaf, Smart ED, Wheego Whip LiFe, Mia electric,BYD e6, Bolloré Bluecar, Renault Fluence Z.E., Ford Focus Electric, BMW ActiveE, Coda, Tesla Model S, and Honda Fit EV. As of August 2012, the world’s top-selling highway-capable all-electric cars are the Nissan Leaf, with more than 35,000 units sold worldwide, and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, with global sales of more than 15,000 vehicles, including more than 6,500 units rebadged as Peugeot iOn and Citroën C-Zero and sold in the European market.
Electric cars have several benefits compared to conventional internal combustion engine automobiles, including a significant reduction of local air pollution, as they have no tailpipe, and therefore do not emit harmful tailpipe pollutants from the onboard source of power at the point of operation;reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the onboard source of power, depending on the fuel and technology used for electricity generation to charge the batteries; and less dependence on foreign oil, which for the United States and other developed or emerging countries is cause for concern about vulnerability to oil price volatility and supply disruption. Also for manydeveloping countries, and particularly for the poorest in Africa, high oil prices have an adverse impact on their balance of payments, hindering their economic growth.
Despite their potential benefits, widespread adoption of electric cars faces several hurdles and limitations. As of 2010, electric cars are significantly more expensive than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles andhybrid electric vehicles due to the additional cost of their lithium-ion batterypack. However, battery prices are coming down with mass production and expected to drop further. Other factors discouraging the adoption of electric cars are the lack of public and private recharging infrastructure and the driver’s fear of the batteries running out of energy before reaching their destination (range anxiety) due to the limited range of existing electric cars. Several governments have established policies and economic incentives to overcome existing barriers, to promote the sales of electric cars, and to fund further development of electric vehicles, more cost-effective battery technology and their components. The U.S. has pledged US$2.4 billion in federal grants for electric cars and batteries. China has announced it will provide US$15 billionto initiate an electric car industry within its borders. Several national and local governments have established tax credits, subsidies, and other incentives to reduce the net purchase price of electric cars and other plug-ins.
Electric cars are a variety of electric vehicle (EV); the term “electric vehicle” refers to any vehicle that uses electric motors for propulsion, while “electric car” generally refers to road-going automobiles powered by electricity. While an electric car’s power source is not explicitly an on-board battery, electric cars with motors powered by other energy sources are generally referred to by a different name: an electric car powered by sunlight 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.
German electric car, 1904
Electric cars enjoyed popularity between the mid-19th century and early 20th century, when electricity was among the preferred methods for automobile propulsion, providing a level of comfort and ease of operation that could not be achieved by the gasoline cars of the time. Advances in internal combustion technology, especially the electric starter, soon rendered this advantage moot; the greater range of gasoline cars, quicker refueling times, and growing petroleum infrastructure, along with the mass production of gasoline vehicles by companies such as theFord Motor Company, which reduced prices of gasoline cars to less than half that of equivalent electric cars, led to a decline in the use of electric propulsion, effectively removing it from important markets such as the United States by the 1930s. However, in recent years, increased concerns over the environmental impact of gasoline cars, higher gasoline prices, improvements in battery technology, and the prospect of peak oil, have brought about renewed interest in electric cars, which are perceived to be more environmentally friendly and cheaper to maintain and run, despite high initial costs, after a failed reappearance in the late 90s.
Detroit Electric car charging
1890s to 1900s: Early history
Before the pre-eminence of internal combustion engines, electric automobiles held many speed and distance records. Among the most notable of these records was the breaking of the 100 km/h (62 mph) speed barrier, by Camille Jenatzyon April 29, 1899 in his ‘rocket-shaped’ vehicle Jamais Contente, which reached a top speed of 105.88 km/h (65.79 mph). Before the 1920s, electric automobiles were competing with petroleum-fueled cars for urban use of a quality service car.
Proposed as early as 1896 in order to overcome the lack of recharging infrastructure, an exchangeable battery service was first put into practice byHartford Electric Light Company for electric trucks. The vehicle owner purchased the vehicle from General Electric Company (GVC) without a battery and the electricity was purchased from Hartford Electric through an exchangeable battery. The owner paid a variable per-mile charge and a monthly service fee to cover maintenance and storage of the truck. The service was provided between 1910 to 1924 and during that period covered more than 6 million miles. Beginning in 1917 a similar service was operated in Chicago for owners of Milburn Light Electric cars who also could buy the vehicle without the batteries.
Thomas Edison and a Detroit Electric car in 1913.
In 1897, electric vehicles found their first commercial application in the U.S. as a fleet of electrical New York City taxis, built by the Electric Carriage and Wagon Company of Philadelphia. Electric cars were produced in the US by Anthony Electric, Baker, Columbia,Anderson, Fritchle, Studebaker,Riker, Milburn, and others during the early 20th century.
Despite their relatively slow speed, electric vehicles had a number of advantages over their early-1900s competitors. They did not have the vibration, smell, and noise associated with gasoline cars. They did not require gear changes, which for gasoline cars was the most difficult part of driving. Electric cars found popularity among well-heeled customers who used them as city cars, where their limited range was less of a disadvantage. The cars were also preferred because they did not require a manual effort to start, as did gasoline cars which featured a hand crank to start the engine. Electric cars were often marketed as suitable vehicles for women drivers due to this ease of operation.
The Henney Kilowatt, a 1961 production electric car based on the Renault Dauphine
In 1911, the New York Timesstated that the electric car has long been recognized as “ideal” because it was cleaner, quieter and much more economical than gasoline-powered cars.Reporting this in 2010, theWashington Post commented that “the same unreliability of electric car batteries that flummoxed Thomas Edison persists today.”
1990s to present: Revival of interest
The energy crises of the 1970s and 80s brought about renewed interest in the perceived independence that electric cars had from the fluctuations of the hydrocarbon energy market. 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 lithium-battery Altra EV miniwagon andToyota RAV4 EV. These cars were eventually withdrawn from the U.S. market.
First Nissan Leaf delivered in the U.S. on the road south of San Francisco
The global economic recession in the late 2000s led to increased calls for automakers to abandon fuel-inefficient SUVs, which were seen as a symbol of the excess that caused the recession, in favor of small cars, hybrid cars, and electric cars. California electric car maker Tesla Motors began development in 2004 on the Tesla Roadster, which was first delivered to customers in 2008. As of March 2012, Tesla had sold more than 2,250 Roadsters in at least 31 countries. TheMitsubishi i MiEV was launched for fleet customers in Japan in July 2009, and for individual customers in April 2010, followed by sales to the public in Hong Kong in May 2010, and Australia in July 2010 via leasing. Retail customer deliveries of the Nissan Leaf in Japan and the United States began in December 2010, followed in 2011 by several European countries and Canada.
As of July 2012, other electric automobiles, city cars, and light trucks available in some markets for purchase or leasing-only include the REVAi, Buddy, Citroën C1 ev’ie, Transit Connect Electric, Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell, Tazzari Zero,Smart ED, Wheego Whip LiFe, Mia electric, BYD e6, Bolloré Bluecar, Ford Focus Electric, BMW ActiveE, Coda, Renault Fluence Z.E., Tesla Model S,Honda Fit EV and several neighborhood electric vehicles. There are also several demonstration vehicles undergoing trial programs including the Volvo C30 Electric, Toyota RAV4 EV, and Volkswagen Golf blue-e-motion.
Comparison with internal combustion engine vehicles
An important goal for electric vehicles is overcoming the disparity between their costs of development, production, and operation, with respect to those of equivalent internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs).
Sales of the Mitsubishi i MiEV to the public began in Japan in April 2010, in Hong Kong in May 2010 and in Australia in July 2010.
The purchase price of electric cars is significantly more expensive than conventional internal combustion engine cars, even after consideringgovernment incentives for plug-in electric vehicles available in several countries. The primary reason is the high cost of car batteries. The high purchase price is hindering the mass transition from gasoline carsto electric cars. According to a survey taken by Nielsen for theFinancial Times in 2010, around three quarters of American and British car buyers have or would consider buying an electric car, but they are unwilling to pay more for an electric car. The survey showed that 65% of Americans and 76% of Britons are not willing to pay more for an electric car above the price of a conventional car. Also a 2010 report by J.D. Power and Associates states that it is not entirely clear to consumers the total cost of ownership of battery electric vehicles over the life of the vehicle, and “there is still much confusion about how long one would have to own such a vehicle to realize cost savings on fuel, compared with a vehicle powered by a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE). The resale value of HEVs and BEVs, as well as the cost of replacing depleted battery packs, are other financial considerations that weigh heavily on consumers’ minds.”
The electric car company Tesla Motors is using laptop battery technology for the battery packs of their electric cars that are 3 to 4 times cheaper than dedicated electric car battery packs that other auto makers are using. While dedicated battery packs cost $700–$800 per kilowatt hour, battery packs using small laptop cells cost about $200. That could potentially drive down the cost of electric cars that are using Tesla’s battery technology such as the Toyota RAV4 EV and the Smart ED as well as their own upcoming 2014 models such as theModel X. As of June 2012, and based on the three battery size options offered for the Tesla Model S, the New York Times estimated the cost of automotive battery packs between US$400 to US$500 per kilowatt-hour.
A study published in 2011 by the Belfer Center, Harvard University, found that the gasoline costs savings of plug-in electric cars over the vehicles’ lifetimes do not offset their higher purchase prices. This finding was estimated comparing their lifetime net present value at 2010 purchase and operating costs for the U.S. market, and assuming no government subidies. According to the study estimates, a PHEV-40 is US$5,377 more expensive than a conventional internal combustion engine, while a battery electric vehicle is US$4,819 more expensive. The study also examined how this balance will change over the next 10 to 20 years, assuming that battery costs will decrease while gasoline prices increase. Under the future scenarios considered, the study found that BEVs will be significantly less expensive than conventional cars (US$1,155 to US$7,181cheaper), while PHEVs, will be more expensive than BEVs in almost all comparison scenarios, and only less expensive than conventional cars in a scenario with very low battery costs and high gasoline prices. Savings differ because BEVs are simpler to build and do not use liquid fuel, while PHEVs have more complicated powertrains and still have gasoline-powered engines.
Running costs and maintenance
The Tesla Roadster, launched in 2008, has a range of 244 mi (393 km) and ended production in 2011.
Most of the running cost of an electric vehicle can be attributed to the maintenance of the battery pack, and its eventual replacement, because an electric vehicle has only around 5 moving parts in its motor, compared to a gasoline car that has hundreds of parts in itsinternal combustion engine.Electric cars have expensive batteries that must be replaced but otherwise incur very low maintenance costs, particularly in the case of current lithium-based designs.
To calculate the cost per kilometer of an electric vehicle it is therefore necessary to assign a monetary value to the wear incurred on the battery. This can be difficult because the battery will have a slightly lower capacity each time it is charged; it is at the end of its life when the owner decides its performance is no longer acceptable. Even then an ‘end of life’ battery is not completely worthless as it can be re-purposed, recycled or used as a spare.
Since a battery is made of many individual cells that do not necessarily wear evenly, periodically replacing the worst of them can retain the vehicle’s range.
The Tesla Roadster’s very large battery pack is expected to last seven years with typical driving and costs US$12,000 when pre-purchased today.Driving 40 miles (64 km) per day for seven years or 102,200 miles (164,500 km) leads to a battery consumption cost of US$0.1174 per 1 mile (1.6 km) orUS$4.70 per 40 miles (64 km). The company Better Place provides another cost comparison as they anticipate meeting contractual obligations to deliver batteries as well as clean electricity to recharge the batteries at a total cost ofUS$0.08 per 1 mile (1.6 km) in 2010, US$0.04 per mile by 2015 and US$0.02per mile by 2020. 40 miles (64 km) of driving would initially cost US$3.20 and fall over time to US$0.80.
In 2010 the U.S. government estimated that a battery with a 100 miles (160 km) range would cost about US$33,000. Concerns remain about durability and longevity of the battery.
The documentary film Who Killed the Electric Car? shows a comparison between the parts that require replacement in a gasoline powered cars and EV1s, with the garages stating that they bring the electric cars in every 5,000 mi (8,000 km), rotate the tires, fill the windshield washer fluid and send them back out again.
Electricity vs. hydrocarbon fuel
The EV1 used about 11 kW·h/100 km (0.40 MJ/km
- 0.18 kW·h/mi). Other electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf are quoted at 21.25 kW·h/100 km (0.765 MJ/km
- 0.3420 kW·h/mi) by the US Environmental Protection Agency. These differences reflect the different design and utility targets for the vehicles, and the varying testing standards. The actual energy use is greatly dependent on the actual driving conditions and driving style. Nissan estimates that the Leaf’s 5 year operating cost will be US$1,800 versusUS$6,000 for a gasoline car in the U.S. According to Nissan, the operating cost of the Leaf in the U.K is 1.75 pence per mile (1.09p per km) when charging at an off-peak electricity rate, while a conventional petrol-powered car costs more than 10 pence per mile (6.25p per km). These estimates are based on a national average of British Petrol Economy 7 rates as of January 2012, and assumed 7 hours of charging overnight at the night rate and one hour in the daytime charged at the Tier-2 daytime rate.
The following table compares out-of-pocket fuel costs estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency according to its official ratings for fuel economy (miles per gallon gasoline equivalent in the case of plug-in electric vehicles) for five 2012 model year series production all-electric cars available in the United States, and EPA rated most fuel efficient plug-in hybrid, (Chevrolet Volt), gasoline-electric hybrid car (Toyota Prius third generation) and gasoline-only car (Scion iQ) for model year 2012.
|Comparison of fuel efficiency and economics for five 2012 electric cars available in the U.S. market
against the EPA rated most fuel efficient plug-in hybrid, hybrid electric vehicle and gasoline-powered car in the U.S. for model year 2012
(Fuel economy and operating costs as displayed in the Monroney label
and the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s fueleconomy.gov website for model year 2012)
|Cost to drive
|Mitsubishi i||2012||Electric car||All-electric||112 mpg-e
(30 kW-hrs/100 miles)
(27 kW-hrs/100 miles)
(34 kW-hrs/100 miles)
|Ford Focus Electric||2012||Electric car||All-electric||105 mpg-e
(32 kW-hrs/100 miles)
(31 kW-hrs/100 miles)
(34 kW-hrs/100 miles)
|Nissan Leaf||2012||Electric car||All-electric||99 mpg-e
(34 kW-hrs/100 miles)
(32 kW-hrs/100 miles)
(37 kW-hrs/100 miles)
|Tesla Model S||2012||Electric car||All-electric||89 mpg-e
(38 kW-hrs/100 miles)
(38 kW-hrs/100 miles)
(37 kW-hrs/100 miles)
Model with 85kWhbattery
|Coda||2012||Electric car||All-electric||73 mpg-e
(46 kW-hrs/100 miles)
(44 kW-hrs/100 miles)
(50 kW-hrs/100 miles)
|Chevrolet Volt||2012||Plug-in hybrid||Electricity only||94 mpg-e
(36 kW-hrs/100 miles)
(36 kW-hrs/100 miles)
(37 kW-hrs/100 miles)
|Gasoline only||37 mpg||35 mpg||40 mpg||$2.72||$1,650|
|EV & gasoline||$1,000||See (3)|
|Toyota Prius||2012||Hybrid electric vehicle||Gasoline-electric
|50 mpg||51 mpg||48 mpg||$1.88||$1,150||See (2)|
|Scion iQ||2012||1.3L automatic
|Gasoline only||37 mpg||36 mpg||37 mpg||$2.53||$1,500||See (2)|
|Notes: All estimated fuel costs based on 15,000 miles annual driving, 45% highway and 55% city.
(1) Electricity cost of $0.12/kw-hr and premium gasoline price of $4.12 per gallon (as of June, 27 2012). Conversion 1 gallon of gasoline=33.7 kW-hr.
(2) Based on 45% highway and 55% city driving. Regular gasoline price of $3.94 per gallon (as of June 27, 2012). (3) Based on 65% electric mode and 35% gasoline-powered mode
Range and refueling time
Most cars with internal combustion engines can be considered to have indefinite range, as they can be refueled very quickly almost anywhere. Electric cars often have less maximum range on one charge than cars powered by fossil fuels, and they can take considerable time to recharge. This is a reason that many automakers marketed EVs as “daily drivers” suitable for city trips and other short hauls. The average American drives less than 40 miles (64 km) per day; so the GM EV1 would have been adequate for the daily driving needs of about 90% of U.S. consumers. Nevertheless, people can be concerned that they would run out of energy from their battery before reaching their destination, a worry known as range anxiety.
The Tesla Roadster can travel 245 miles (394 km) per charge; more than double that of prototypes and evaluation fleet cars currently on the roads.The Roadster can be fully recharged in about 3.5 hours from a 220-volt, 70-ampoutlet which can be installed in a home.
One way automakers can extend the short range of electric vehicles is by building them with battery switch technology. An EV with battery switch technology and a 100 miles (160 km) driving range will be able to go to a battery switch station and switch a depleted battery with a fully charged one in 59.1 seconds giving the EV an additional 100 miles (160 km) driving range. The process is cleaner and faster than filling a tank with gasoline and the driver remains in the car the entire time, but because of the high investment cost, its economics are unclear. As of late 2010 there were only 2 companies with plans to integrate battery switching technology to their electric vehicles: Better Place and Tesla Motors. Better Place operated a battery-switch station in Japan until November 2010 and announced a commitment to open four battery switch stations in California, USA.
Another way is the installation of DC Fast Charging stations with high-speed charging capability from three-phase industrial outlets so that consumers could recharge the 100 mile battery of their electric vehicle to 80 percent in about 30 minutes. A nationwide fast charging infrastructure is currently being deployed in the US that by 2013 will cover the entire nation. DC Fast Chargers are going to be installed at 45 BP and ARCO locations and will be made available to the public as early as March 2011. The EV Project will deploy charge infrastructure in 16 cities and major metropolitan areas in six states. Nissan has announced that 200 of its dealers in Japan will install fast chargers for the December 2010 launch of its Leaf EV, with the goal of having fast chargers everywhere in Japan within a 25 mile radius.
Air pollution and carbon emissions
Electric cars contribute to cleaner air in cities because they produce no harmfulpollution at the tailpipe from the onboard source of power, such as particulates(soot), volatile organic compounds, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone,lead, and various oxides of nitrogen. The clean air benefit is usually local because, depending on the source of the electricity used to recharge the batteries, air pollutant emissions are shifted to the location of the generation plants. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted depends on the emission intensity of the power source used to charge the vehicle, the efficiency of the said vehicle and the energy wasted in the charging process.
For mains electricity the emission intensity varies significantly per country and within a particular country it will vary depending on demand, the availability of renewable sources and the efficiency of the fossil fuel-based generation used at a given time. Charging a vehicle using off-grid renewable energy yields very low carbon intensity (only that to produce and install the off-grid generation system e.g. domestic wind turbine).
- United States
Sources of electricity in the U.S. in 2009.
An EV recharged from the US grid electricity in 2008 emits about 115 grams of CO2 per kilometer driven (6.5 oz(CO2)/mi), whereas a conventional US-market gasoline powered car emits 250 g(CO2)/km (14 oz(CO2)/mi) (most from its tailpipe, some from the production and distribution of gasoline).
The Union of Concerned Scientists(UCS) published in 2012 a report with an assessment of average greenhouse gas emissions resulting from charging plug-in car batteries considering the full life-cycle (well-to-wheel analysis) and according to fuel and technology used to generate electric power by region in the U.S. The study used the Nissan Leaf all-electric car to establish the analysis’s baseline. The UCS study expressed the results in terms of miles per gallon instead of the conventional unit of grams of carbon dioxide emissions per year. The study found that in areas where electricity is generated from natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric or other renewable sources, the potential of plug-in electric cars to reduce greenhouse emissions is significant. On the other hand, in regions where a high proportion of power is generated from coal, hybrid electric cars produce less CO2 emissions thanplug-in electric cars, and the best fuel efficient gasoline-powered subcompact car produces slightly less emissions than a plug-in car. In the worst-case scenario, the study estimated that for a region where all energy is generated from coal, a plug-in electric car would emit greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to a gasoline car rated at a combined city/highway fuel economy of 30 mpg-US (7.8 L/100 km; 36 mpg-imp). In contrast, in a region that is completely reliant on natural gas, the plug-in would be equivalent to a gasoline-powered car rated at 50 mpg-US (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp) combined.
The study found that for 45% of the U.S. population, a plug-in electric car will generate lower CO2 emissions than a gasoline-powered car capable of a combined fuel economy of 50 mpg-US (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp), such as theToyota Prius. Cities in this group included Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and Salt Lake City, and the cleanest cities achieved well-to-wheel emissions equivalent to a fuel economy of 79 mpg-US(3.0 L/100 km; 95 mpg-imp). The study also found that for 37% of the population, the electric car emissions will fall in the range of a gasoline-powered car rated at a combined fuel economy between 41 to 50 mpg-US (5.7 to 4.7 L/100 km; 49 to 60 mpg-imp), such as the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Lexus CT200h. Cities in this group include Phoenix, Arizona, Houston, Miami, Columbus, Ohio andAtlanta, Georgia. An 18% of the population lives in areas where the power supply is more dependent on burning carbon, and emissions will be equivalent to a car rated at a combined fuel economy between 31 to 40 mpg-US (7.6 to 5.9 L/100 km; 37 to 48 mpg-imp), such as the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus. This group includes Denver, Minneapolis, Saint Louis, Missouri, Detroit, andOklahoma City. The study found that there are no regions in the U.S. where plug-in electric cars will have higher greenhouse gas emissions than the average new compact gasoline engine automobile, and the area with the dirtiest power supply produces CO2 emissions equivalent to a gasoline-powered car rated 33 mpg-US (7.1 L/100 km; 40 mpg-imp).
The following table compares well-to-wheels greenhouse gas emissions estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for series productionplug-in electric cars from major carmakers available in the U.S. market by April 2012. For comparison purposes, emissions for the average gasoline-powered new car are also included. Total emissions include the emissions associated with the production, transmission and distribution of electricity used to charge the vehicle.
|Comparison of EPA’s full life cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions
for series production plug-in electric cars available in the U.S. market by April 2012
(Emissions as estimated by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s
fueleconomy.gov website for model years 2011 and 2012)
combined fuel economy
|Cleaner electric grids||U.S. national
|Dirtier electric grids|
|Mitsubishi i-MiEV||62 mi (100 km)||112 mpg-e
(30 kW-hrs/100 miles)
|80 g/mi (50 g/km)||100 g/mi (62 g/km)||160 g/mi (99 g/km)||200 g/mi (124 g/km)||230 g/mi (143 g/km)||270 g/mi (168 g/km)||290 g/mi (180 g/km)|
|Ford Focus Electric||76 mi (122 km)||105 mpg-e
(32 kW-hrs/100 miles)
|80 g/mi (50 g/km)||110 g/mi (68 g/km)||170 g/mi (106 g/km)||210 g/mi (131 g/km)||250 g/mi (155 g/km)||280 g/mi (174 g/km)||310 g/mi (193 g/km)|
|BMW ActiveE||94 mi (151 km)||102 mpg-e
(33 kW-hrs/100 miles)
|90 g/mi (56 g/km)||110 g/mi (68 g/km)||180 g/mi (112 g/km)||220 g/mi (137 g/km)||250 g/mi (155 g/km)||290 g/mi (180 g/km)||320 g/mi (199 g/km)|
|Nissan Leaf||73 mi (117 km)||99 mpg-e
(34 kW-hrs/100 miles)
|90 g/mi (56 g/km)||120 g/mi (75 g/km)||190 g/mi (118 g/km)||230 g/mi (143 g/km)||260 g/mi (162 g/km)||300 g/mi (186 g/km)||330 g/mi (205 g/km)|
|Chevrolet Volt||35 mi (56 km)||94 mpg-e
(36 kW-hrs/100 miles)
|170 g/mi (106 g/km)(1)||190 g/mi (118 g/km)(1)||230 g/mi (143 g/km)(1)||260 g/mi (162 g/km)(1)||290 g/mi (180 g/km)(1)||310 g/mi (193 g/km)(1)||330 g/mi (205 g/km)(1)|
|Smart ED||63 mi (101 km)||87 mpg-e
(39 kW-hrs/100 miles)
|100 g/mi (62 g/km)||130 g/mi (81 g/km)||210 g/mi (131 g/km)||260 g/mi (162 g/km)||300 g/mi (186 g/km)||350 g/mi (218 g/km)||380 g/mi (236 g/km)|
|Coda||88 mi (142 km)||73 mpg-e
(46 kW-hrs/100 miles)
|120 g/mi (76 g/km)||160 g/mi (99 g/km)||250 g/mi (155 g/km)||300 g/mi (186 g/km)||350 g/mi (218 g/km)||410 g/mi (255 g/km)||440 g/mi (273 g/km)|
|Gasoline only||22 mpg||Total emissions: 500 g/mi (311 g/km)
Upstream: 100 g/mi (62 g/km) and tailpipe: 400 g/mi (249 g/km)
|Note (1) EPA assumed for the Chevrolet Volt that 64% of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle’s operation is powered by electricity and the rest is powered from gasoline, and as a result, out of the total emissions shown, 87 g/mi correspond to tailpipe emissions. Tailpipe emissions are zero for all other electric vehicles included, and the emissions shown account upstream GHG emissions.|
- United Kingdom
A study made in the UK in 2008 concluded that electric vehicles had the potential to cut down carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40%, even taking into account the emissions due to current electricity generation in the UK and emissions relating to the production and disposal of electric vehicles.
The savings are questionable relative to hybrid or diesel cars (according to official British government testing, the most efficient European market cars are well below 115 grams of CO2 per kilometer driven, although a study in Scotland gave 149.5gCO2/km as the average for new cars in the UK), but would be more significant in countries with cleaner electric infrastructure.
In a worst-case scenario where incremental electricity demand would be met exclusively with coal, a 2009 study conducted by the World Wide Fund for Nature and IZES found that a mid-size EV would emit roughly 200 g(CO2)/km (11 oz(CO2)/mi), compared with an average of 170 g(CO2)/km (9.7 oz(CO2)/mi) for a gasoline-powered compact car. This study concluded that introducing 1 million EV cars to Germany would, in the best-case scenario, only reduce CO2emissions by 0.1%, if nothing is done to upgrade the electricity infrastructure or manage demand.
In France, which has a clean energy grid, CO2 emissions from electric car use would be about 12g per kilometer.
- Emissions during production
A 2011 report prepared by Ricardo found that hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars generate more carbon emissions during their production than current conventional vehicles, but still have a lower overallcarbon footprint over the full life cycle. The initial higher carbon footprint is due mainly to battery production. As an example, the study estimated that 43 percent of production emissions for a mid-size electric car are generated from the battery production.
Acceleration and drivetrain design
Electric motors can provide high power-to-weight ratios, and batteries can be designed to supply the large currents to support these motors.
Although some electric vehicles have very small motors, 15 kW (20 hp) or less and therefore have modest acceleration, many electric cars have large motors and brisk acceleration. In addition, the relatively constant torque of an electric motor, even at very low speeds tends to increase the acceleration performance of an electric vehicle relative to that of the same rated motor power internal combustion engine. Another early solution was American Motors’ experimentalAmitron piggyback system of batteries with one type designed for sustained speeds while a different set boosted acceleration when needed.
Electric vehicles can also use a direct motor-to-wheel configuration which increases the amount of available power. Having multiple motors connected directly to the wheels allows for each of the wheels to be used for both propulsion and as braking systems, thereby increasing traction. In some cases, the motor can be housed directly in the wheel, such as in the Whispering Wheeldesign, which lowers the vehicle’s center of gravity and reduces the number of moving parts. When not fitted with an axle, differential, ortransmission, electric vehicles have less drivetrain rotational inertia. Housing the motor within the wheel can increase the unsprung weight of the wheel, which can have an adverse effect on the handling of the vehicle.
A gearless or single gear design in some EVs eliminates the need for gear shifting, giving such vehicles both smoother acceleration and smoother braking. Because the torque of an electric motor is a function of current, not rotational speed, electric vehicles have a high torque over a larger range of speeds during acceleration, as compared to an internal combustion engine. As there is no delay in developing torque in an EV, EV drivers report generally high satisfaction with acceleration.
The gearless design is the least complex, but high acceleration requires high torque from the motor, which requires high current and results in Joule heating. This is because the internal wiring of the motor has electrical resistance, which dissipates power as heat when a current is put through it, in accordance toOhm’s Law. While the torque of the electric motor is not dependent on its rotational speed, the output power of the motor is the product of both the torque and the rotational speed, which means that more power is lost in proportion to the output power when the motor is turning slowly. In effect, the drivetrain becomes less efficient the slower the vehicle moves.
In the single gear design, this problem is mitigated by using a gear ratio that allows the motor to turn faster than the wheel, which translates low torque and high rotational speed of the motor into high torque and low rotational speed of the wheels, giving equal or better acceleration without compromising efficiency as much. However, since the motor does have a top speed at which it can operate, the tradeoff is lower top speed for the vehicle. If a higher top speed is desired, the tradeoff is lower acceleration and lower efficiency at slow speeds.
The use of a multiple-speed transmission allows the vehicle to operate efficiently at both high and low speeds, but comes with more complexity and cost.
For example, the Venturi Fetish delivers supercar acceleration despite a relatively modest 220 kW (295 hp), and top speed of around 160 km/h (100 mph). Some DC motor-equipped drag racer EVs, have simple two-speedmanual transmissions to improve top speed. The Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.7 seconds with a motor rated at 215 kW (288 hp).
Also the Wrightspeed X1 prototype created by Wrightspeed Inc is the worlds fastest street legal electric car. With an acceleration of 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds the X1 has bested some of the worlds fastest sports cars.
Internal combustion engines are relatively inefficient at converting on-board fuel energy to propulsion as most of the energy is wasted as heat. On the other hand, electric motors are more efficient in converting stored energy into driving a vehicle, and electric drive vehicles do not consume energy while at rest or coasting, and some of the energy lost when braking is captured and reused through regenerative braking, which captures as much as one fifth of the energy normally lost during braking. Typically, conventional gasoline engineseffectively use only 15% of the fuel energy content to move the vehicle or to power accessories, and diesel engines can reach on-board efficiencies of 20%, while electric drive vehicles have on-board efficiency of around 80%.
Production and conversion electric cars typically use 10 to 23 kW·h/100 km (0.17 to 0.37 kW·h/mi). Approximately 20% of this power consumption is due to inefficiencies in charging the batteries. Tesla Motors indicates that the vehicle efficiency (including charging inefficiencies) of their lithium-ion batterypowered vehicle is 12.7 kW·h/100 km (0.21 kW·h/mi) and the well-to-wheels efficiency (assuming the electricity is generated from natural gas) is 24.4 kW·h/100 km (0.39 kW·h/mi).
The safety issues of BEVs are largely dealt with by the international standardISO 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
Frontal crash test of a Volvo C30 DRIVe Electric to assess the safety of the battery pack.
In the United States, General Motors ran in several cities a training program for firefighters andfirst responders to demonstrate the sequence of tasks required to safely disable the Chevrolet Volt’s powertrain and its 12 volt electrical system, which controls its high-voltage components, and then proceed to extricate injured occupants. 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 also made available an Emergency Response Guide for the 2011 Volt for use by emergency responders. The guide also 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. As of August 2012, no fires after a crash have been reported in the U.S. associated with the Volt, the Leaf or the Tesla Roadster.
- Chevrolet Volt
As a result of a crashed tested Chevolet Volt that caught fire in June 2011 three weeks after the testing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA) issued a statement saying that the agency does not believe the Volt or other electric vehicles are at a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles. “In fact, all vehicles – both electric and gasoline-powered – have some risk of fire in the event of a serious crash.” The NHTSA announced in November 2011 that it was working with all automakers to develop postcrash procedures to keep occupants of electric vehicles and emergency personnel who respond to crash scenes safe. General Motors said the fire would have been avoided if GM’s protocols for deactivating the battery after the crash had been followed, and also stated that they“are working with other vehicle manufacturers, first responders, tow truck operators, and salvage associations with the goal of implementing industrywide protocols.”
In further testing of the Volt’s batteries carried out by NHTSA in November 2011, two of the three tests resulted in thermal events, including fire. Therefore the NHTSA opened a formal safety defect investigation on November 25, 2011, to examine the potential risks involved from intrusion damage to the battery in the Chevrolet Volt. As opposed to the Volt’s battery, the Nissan Leaf’s pack is shielded from damage by a layer of steel reinforcement.Also, Nissan clarified that the Nissan Leaf, unlike the Volt, has an air cooled battery pack that does not need to be disabled after a crash. The Leaf was designed with a battery safety systems that is activated in a crash that involves the airbags. The airbag control unit sends a signal mechanically to the battery and disconnects the high voltage from the vehicle. Both the Tesla Roadsterand the Ford Focus Electric have liquid-cooling systems, and the Focus battery is enclosed in a steel case. After the initial Volt fire, the NHTSA examined the Leaf and other electric vehicles and said its testing “has not raised safety concerns about vehicles other than the Chevy Volt.”
On January 5, 2012, General Motors announced that it would offer a customer satisfaction program to provide modifications to the Chevrolet Volt to reduce the chance that the battery pack could catch fire days or weeks after a severe accident. General Motors explained the modifications will enhance the vehicle structure that surround the battery and the battery coolant system to improve battery protection after a severe crash. The safety enhancements consist of strengthen an existing portion of the Volt’s vehicle safety structure to further protect the battery pack in a severe side collision; add a sensor in the reservoir of the battery coolant system to monitor coolant levels; and add a tamper-resistant bracket to the top of the battery coolant reservoir to help prevent potential coolant overfill. On January 20, 2012, the NHTSA closed the Volt’s safety defect investigation related to post-crash fire risk. The agency concluded that “no discernible defect trend exists” and also found that the modifications recently developed by General Motors are sufficient to reduce the potential for battery intrusion resulting from side impacts. The NHTSA also said that “based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles.” The agency also announced it has developed interim guidance to increase awareness and identify appropriate safety measures regarding electric vehicles for the emergency response community, law enforcement officers, tow truck operators, storage facilities and consumers.
All 12,400 Chevrolet Volts produced until December 2011, including all Amperas in stock at European dealerships, will receive the safety enhacements. Since production was halted during the holidays, the enhacements will be in place when production resumes in early 2012. Sales will continue and dealers will modified the Volts they have in stock, either before or after they are sold. General Motors sent a letter to Volt owners indicating that Chevrolet will contact them with more details about the service effort scheduled to begin in February 2012.
Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid.
- Fisker Karma
In December 2011, Fisker Automotive recalled the first 239 Karmas delivered to the U.S. due to a risk of battery fire caused by coolant leak. Of the 239 cars, less than fifty have been delivered to customers, the rest were in dealerships. In the report filed by Fisker Automotive with the NHTSA, the carmaker said some hose clamps were not properly positioned, which could allow a coolant leak and an electrical short could possibly occur if coolant enters the battery compartment, causing a thermal event within the battery, including a possible fire. In May 2012 a Fisker Karma was involved in a home fire that also burnt two other cars in Fort Bend County, Texas. The chief fire investigator said the Karma was the origin of the fire that spread to the house, but the exact cause is still unknown. The plug-in hybrid electric car was not plugged in at the time the fire started and it was reported that the Karma’s battery was intact. The carmaker release a public statement saying that “…there are conflicting reports and uncertainty surrounding this particular incident. The cause of the fire is not yet known and is being investigated.” Fisker Automotive also stated that the battery pack “does not appear to have been a contributing factor in this incident.” The NHTSA is conducting a field inquiry of the incident, and is working with insurance adjusters and Fisker to determine the fire’s cause.
A second fire incident took place in August 2012 when a Karma caught fire while stopped at a parking lot in Woodside, California. According to Fisker engineers, the area of origin for the fire was determined to be outside the engine compartment, as the fire was located at the driver’s side front corner of the car. The evidence suggested that the ignition source was not the lithium-ion battery pack, new technology components or unique exhaust routing. The investigation conducted by Fisker engineers and an independent fire expert concluded that the cause of the fire was a low temperature cooling fan located at the left front of the Karma, forward of the wheel. An internal fault caused the fan to fail, overheat and started a slow-burning fire. Fisker announced a voluntary recall on all Karmas sold to replace the faulty fan and install an additional fuse.
BYD e6 all-electric taxi in Shenzhen, China.
- BYD e6
In May 2012, after a high-speed car crashed into a BYD e6 taxi inShenzhen, China, the electric car caught fire after hitting a tree and all three occupants died in the accident. The Chinese investigative team concluded that the cause of the fire were “electric arcs caused by the short-circuiting of high voltage lines of the high voltage distribution box ignited combustible material in the vehicle including the interior materials and part of the power batteries.” The team also noted that the battery pack did not explode; 75% of the single cell batteries did not catch on fire; and no flaws in the safety design of the vehicle were identified.
Great effort is taken to keep the mass of an electric vehicle as low as possible to improve its range and endurance. However, the weight and bulk of the batteries themselves usually makes an EV heavier than a comparable gasoline vehicle, reducing range and leading to longer braking distances; it also has less interior space. However, 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 despite having a negative effect on the car’s performance. An accident in a 2,000 lb (900 kg) vehicle will on average cause about 50% more injuries to its occupants than a 3,000 lb (1,400 kg) vehicle. In a single car accident,and for the other car in a two car accident, the increased mass causes an increase in accelerations and hence an increase in the severity of the accident. Some electric cars use low rolling resistance tires, which typically offer less grip than normal tires. Many electric cars have a small, light and fragile body, though, and therefore offer inadequate safety protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in America had condemned the use of low speed vehicles and “mini trucks,” referred to as neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) when powered by electric motors, on public roads.
Hazard to pedestrians
At low speeds, electric cars produced less roadway noise as compared to vehicles propelled by internal combustion engines. Blind people or the visually impaired consider the noise of combustion engines a helpful aid while crossing streets, hence electric cars and hybrids could pose an unexpected hazard. Tests have shown that this is a valid concern, as vehicles operating in electric mode can be particularly hard to hear below 20 mph (30 km/h) for all types of road users and not only the visually impaired. At higher speeds, the sound created by tire friction and the air displaced by the vehicle start to make sufficient audible noise.
The US Congress and the Government of Japan passed legislation to regulate the minimum level of sound for hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles when operating in electric mode, so that blind people and other pedestrians and cyclists can hear them coming and detect from which direction they are approaching. The Nissan Leaf is the first electric car to use Nissan’s Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians system, which includes one sound for forward motion and another for reverse.
Differences in controls
Presently most EV manufacturers do their best to emulate the driving experience as closely as possible to that of a car with a conventional automatic transmission that motorists are familiar with. Most models therefore have a PRNDL selector traditionally found in cars with automatic transmission despite the underlying mechanical differences. Push buttons are the easiest to implement as all modes are implemented through software on the vehicle’s controller.
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” will still be provided on the selector. In this case the motor is disabled in “N” and an electrically actuated hand brake provides the “P” mode.
In some cars the motor will spin slowly to provide a small amount of creep in “D”, similar to a traditional automatic.
When the foot is lifted from the accelerator of an ICE, engine braking causes the car to slow. An EV would coast under these conditions, and applying mild regenerative braking instead provides a more familiar response. Selecting the L mode will increase this effect for sustained downhill driving, analogous to selecting a lower gear.
Cabin heating and cooling
Electric vehicles generate very little waste heat and resistance electric heat may have to be used to heat the interior of the vehicle if heat generated from battery charging/discharging can not be used to heat the interior.
While heating can be simply provided with an electric resistance heater, higher efficiency and integral cooling can be obtained with a reversible heat pump (this is currently implemented in the hybrid Toyota Prius). Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) junction cooling is also attractive for its simplicity — this kind of system is used for example in the Tesla Roadster.
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, most simply and effectively by inducting outside air to avoid extreme heat buildup when the vehicle is closed and parked in the sunlight (such cooling mechanisms are available asaftermarket kits for conventional vehicles). Two models of the 2010 Toyota Prius include this feature as an option.
Prototypes of 75 watt-hour/kilogramlithium-ion polymer battery. Newer lithium-ion cells can provide up to 130 W·h/kg and last through thousands of charging cycles.
Finding the economic balance of range against performance, energy density, and accumulator type versus cost challenges every EV manufacturer.
While most current highway-speed electric vehicle designs focus onlithium-ion and other lithium-based variants a variety of alternative batteries can also be used. Lithium based batteries are often chosen for their high power and energy density but have a limited shelf-life and cycle lifetime which can significantly increase the running costs of the vehicle. Variants such as Lithium iron phosphate and Lithium-titanate attempt to solve the durability issues with traditional lithium-ion batteries.
Other battery technologies include:
- Lead acid batteries are still the most used form of power for most of the electric vehicles used today. The initial construction costs are significantly lower than for other battery types, and while power output to weight is poorer than other designs, range and power can be easily added by increasing the number of batteries.
- NiCd – Largely superseded by NiMH
- Nickel metal hydride (NiMH)
- Nickel iron battery – Known for its comparatively long lifetime and low power density
Several battery technologies are also in development such as:
- Zinc-air battery
- Molten salt battery
- Zinc-bromine flow batteries or Vanadium redox batteries can be refilled, instead of recharged, saving time. The depleted electrolyte can be recharged at the point of exchange, or taken away to a remote station.
Travel range before recharging
The range of an electric car depends on the number and type of batteries used. The weight and type of vehicle, and the performance demands of the driver, also have an impact just as they do on the range of traditional vehicles. The range of an electric vehicle conversion depends on the battery type:
The Renault Fluence Z.E. is the first electric car within the Better Place network. Deliveries began in Israel in January 2012.
An alternative to quick recharging is to exchange the drained or nearly drained batteries (or battery range extender modules) with fully charged batteries, similar to howstagecoach horses were changed at coaching inns. Batteries could beleased or rented instead of bought, and then maintenance deferred to the leasing or rental company, and ensures availability.
Several companies are attempting to implement this business model, and Better Place was the first to deploy anelectric vehicle network in Israel, and it will be followed by similar recharging networks in Denmark and Hawaii. Around 100 Renault Fluence Z.E.s were delivered in Israel and allocated among the Better Place employees in January 2012. Retail customers deliveries are scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2012.
Replaceable batteries were used in the electric buses at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Vehicle-to-grid: uploading and grid buffering
A Smart grid allows BEVs to provide power to the grid, specifically:
- During peak load periods, when the cost of electricity can be very high. These vehicles can then be recharged during off-peak hours at cheaper rates while helping to absorb excess night time generation. Here the batteries in the vehicles serve as a distributed storage system to buffer power.
- During blackouts, as an emergency backup supply.
Battery life should be considered when calculating the extended cost of ownership, as all batteries eventually wear out and must be replaced. The rate at which they expire depends on the type of battery technology and how they are used — many types of batteries are damaged by depleting them beyond a certain level. Lithium-ion batteries degrade faster when stored at higher temperatures.
The future of battery electric vehicles depends primarily upon the cost and availability of batteries with high specific energy, power density, and long life, as all other aspects such as motors, motor controllers, and chargers are fairly mature and cost-competitive with internal combustion engine components. Diarmuid O’Connell, VP of Business Development at Tesla Motors, estimates that by the year 2020 30% of the cars driving on the road will be battery electric or plug-in hybrid.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has predicted that one in 10 cars globally will run on battery power alone by 2020. Additionally a recent report claims that by 2020 electric cars and other green cars will take a third of the total of global car sales.
It is estimated that there are sufficient lithium reserves to power 4 billion electric cars.
Other methods of energy storage
Experimental supercapacitors and flywheel energy storage devices offer comparable storage capacity, faster charging, and lower volatility. They 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 are electric cars that derive most or all of their electricity from built in solar panels. After the 2005 World Solar Challenge established that solar race cars could exceed highway speeds, the specifications were changed to provide for vehicles that with little modification could be used for transportation.
Charging station at Rio de Janeiro,Brazil. This station is run by Petrobras and uses solar energy.
Batteries in BEVs must be periodically recharged (see also Replacing, above).
Unlike vehicles powered by fossil fuels, BEVs are most commonly and conveniently charged from thepower grid overnight at home, without the inconvenience of having to go to a filling station. Charging can also be done using a street or shop charging station.
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 roof top photovoltaic solar cell panels, micro hydro or wind may also be used and are promoted because of concerns regarding global warming.
US Charging Standards
Around 1998 the California Air Resources Board classified levels of charging power that have been codified in title 13 of the California Code of Regulations, the U.S. 1999 National Electrical Code section 625 and SAE Internationalstandards. Three standards were developed, termed Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 charging.
|Level||Original definition||Coulomb Technologies’ definition||Connectors|
|Level 1||AC energy to the vehicle’s on-board charger; from the most common U.S. grounded household receptacle, commonly referred to as a 120 volt outlet.||120 V AC; 16 A (= 1.92 kW)||SAE J1772 (16.8 kW),
|Level 2||AC energy to the vehicle’s on-board charger;208 – 240 volt, single phase. The maximum current specified is 32 amps (continuous) with a branch circuit breaker rated at 40 amps. Maximum continuous input power is specified as 7.68 kW (= 240V x 32A*).||208-240 V AC;
12 A – 80 A (= 2.5 – 19.2 kW)
|SAE J1772 (16.8 kW),
IEC 62196 (44 kW),
Magne Charge (Obsolete),
IEC 60309 16 A (3.8 kW)
IEC 62198-2 Type2 same as VDE-AR-E 2623-2-2, also known as the Mennekes connector (43.5 kW)IEC 62198-2 Type3 also known as Scame
|Level 3||DC energy from an off-board charger; there is no minimum energy requirement but the maximum current specified is 400 amps and 240 kW continuous power supplied.||very high voltages (300-600 V DC); very high currents (hundreds of Amperes)||Magne Charge (Obsolete)
CHΛdeMO (62.5 kW),SAE J1772 Combo, IEC 62196 Mennekes Combo
.* or potentially 208V x 37A, out of the strict specification but within circuit breaker and connector/cable power limits. Alternatively, this voltage would impose a lower power rating of 6.7 kW at 32A.
More recently the term “Level 3” has also been used by the SAE J1772 Standard Committee for a possible future higher-power AC fast charging standard. To distinguish from Level 3 DC fast charging, this would-be standard is written as “Level 3 AC”. SAE has not yet approved standards for either AC or DC Level 3 charging.
As of June 2012, some electric cars provide charging options that do not fit within the older California “Level 1, 2, and 3 charging” standard, with its top charging rate of 40 Amps. For example, the Tesla Roadster may be charged at a rate up to 70 Amps (16.8 kW) with a wall-mounted charger.
For comparison in Europe the IEC 61851-1 charging modes are used to classify charging equipment. The provisions of IEC 62196 charging modes for conductive charging of electric vehicles include Mode 1 (max. 16A / max. 250V a.c. or 480V three-phase), Mode 2 (max. 32A / max. 250V a.c. or 480V three-phase), Mode 3 (max. 63A (70A U.S.) / max. 690V a.c. or three-phase) and Mode 4 (max. 400A / max. 600V d.c.).
Most electric cars have used conductive coupling to supply electricity for recharging after the California Air Resources Board 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 Chargeinductive charging system around 1998 for the General Motors EV1 and it was also used for the Chevrolet S-10 EV and Toyota RAV4 EV vehicles.
Using regenerative braking, a feature which is present on many hybrid electric vehicles, approximately 20% of the energy usually lost in the brakes is recovered to recharge the batteries.
Smart ED charging from a Level 2 station
More electrical power to the car reduces charging time. Power is limited by the capacity of the gridconnection, and, for level 1 and 2 charging, by the power rating of the car’s on-board charger. A normalhousehold outlet is between 1.5 kW (in the US, Canada, Japan, and other countries with 110 volt supply) to 3 kW (in countries with 230V supply). The main connection to a house may sustain 10, 15 or even 20 kW in addition to “normal” domestic loads – though it would be unwise to use all the apparent capability – and special wiring can be installed to use this. As examples of on-board chargers, theNissan Leaf at launch has a 3.3 kW charger and the Tesla Roadster can accept up to 16.8 kW (240V at 70A) from the High Power Wall Connector. These power numbers are small compared to the effective power delivery rate of an averagepetrol pump, about 5,000 kW. Even if the electrical supply power can be increased, most batteries do not accept charge at greater than theircharge rate (“1C“), because high charge rates have an adverse effect on the discharge capacities of batteries. Despite these power limitations, plugging in to even the least-powerful conventional home outlet provides more than 15kilowatt-hours of energy overnight, sufficient to propel most electric cars more than 70 kilometres (43 mi) (see Energy efficiency above).
Some types of batteries such as Lithium-titanate, LiFePO4 and even certainNiMH variants can be charged almost to their full capacity in 10–20 minutes. Fast charging requires very high currents often derived from a three-phase power supply. Careful charge management is required to prevent damage to the batteries through overcharging.
Most people do not usually require fast recharging because they have enough time, six to eight hours (depending on discharge level) during the work day or overnight at home to recharge. BEV drivers frequently prefer recharging at home, avoiding the inconvenience of visiting a public charging station.
In Europe, the electricity supply is generally 240 Volts, and a domestic current is generally supplied at 13A. This means that power is supplied to electric vehicles at around 3.1 kW and takes most available electric cars around 8 hours to fully charge.
Hobbyists, conversions, and racing
The full electric Formula Student car of the Eindhoven University of Technology
Hobbyists often build their own EVs by converting existing production cars to run solely on electricity. There is a cottage industrysupporting the conversion and construction of BEVs by hobbyists. Universities such as the University of California, Irvineeven build their own custom electric or hybrid-electric cars from scratch.
Short-range battery electric vehicles can offer the hobbyist comfort, utility, and quickness, sacrificing only range. Short-range EVs may be built using high-performance lead–acid batteries, using about half the mass needed for a 100 to 130 km (60 to 80 mi) range. The result is a vehicle with about a 50 km (30 mi) range, which, when designed with appropriate weight distribution (40/60 front to rear), does not require power steering, offers exceptional acceleration in the lower end of its operating range, and is freeway capable and legal. But their EVs are expensive due to the higher cost for these higher-performance batteries. By including a manual transmission, short-range EVs can obtain both better performance and greater efficiency than the single-speed EVs developed by major manufacturers. Unlike the converted golf carts used for neighborhood electric vehicles, short-range EVs may be operated on typical suburban throughways (where 60–80 km/h / 35-50 mph speed limits are typical) and can keep up with traffic typical on such roads and the short “slow-lane” on-and-off segments of freeways common in suburban areas.
Faced with chronic fuel shortage on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian electrical engineer Waseem Othman al-Khozendar invented in 2008 a way to convert his car to run on 32 electric batteries. According to al-Khozendar, the batteries can be charged with US$2 worth of electricity to drive from 180 to 240 km (110 to 150 mi). After a 7-hour charge, the car should also be able to run up to a speed of 100 km/h (60 mph).
Japanese Professor Hiroshi Shimizu from Faculty of Environmental Information of the Keio University created an electric limousine: the Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car) has eight wheels with electric 55 kW hub motors (8WD) with an output of 470 kW and zero emissions, a top speed of 370 km/h (230 mph), and a maximum range of 320 km (200 mi) provided by lithium-ion batteries.However, current models cost approximately US$300,000, about one third of which is the cost of the batteries.
In 2008, several Chinese manufacturers began marketing lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries directly to hobbyists and vehicle conversion shops. These batteries offered much better power-to-weight ratios allowing vehicle conversions to typically achieve 75 to 150 mi (120 to 240 km) per charge. Prices gradually declined to approximately US$350 per kW·h by mid 2009. As the LiFePO4 cells feature life ratings of 3,000 cycles, compared to typical lead acid battery ratings of 300 cycles, the life expectancy of LiFePO4 cells is around 10 years. This has led to a resurgence in the number of vehicles converted by individuals. LiFePO4 cells do require more expensive battery management and charging systems than lead acid batteries.
Electric drag racing is a sport where electric vehicles start from standstill and attempt the highest possible speed over a short given distance. They sometimes race and usually beat gasoline sports cars.Organizations such as NEDRA keep track of records world wide using certified equipment.
Currently available electric cars
The GEM neighborhood electric vehicleis the world’s top selling electric vehicle, with 45,000 units sold through 2010.
As of July 2012, the number ofmass production highway-capable models available in the market is limited. Most electric vehicles in the world roads are low-speed, low-range neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) or electric quadricycles. Pike Research estimated there were almost 479,000 NEVs on the world roads in 2011. The top selling NEV is the Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) vehicles, which as of December 2010 had sold more than 45,000 units worldwide since 1998. The two largest NEV markets in 2011 were the United States, with 14,737 units sold, and France, with 2,231 units.
The Nissan Leaf is the world’s top selling highway-capable electric car, with more than 35,000 units sold by August 2012.
The world’s top selling highway-capable electric cars are the Nissan Leaf, with global sales of more than 35,000 units by August 2012, and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, with 20,000 vehicles manufactured by June 2012, and more than 15,000 sold worldwide. The i MiEV production includes 11,000 units rebadged in France as Peugeot iOn and Citroën C-ZERO for sale in Europe.Mitsubishi Motors temporarily suspended deliveries of the i-MiEV to the PSA Peugeot Citroen (PSA) Group in August 2012 due to PSA slow sales that had resulted in more than 4,400 electric cars in unsold inventory. Japan and the United States are the largest highway-capable electric car markets in the world, followed by Western Europe and China. In Japan, more than 18,000 electric cars have been sold, including 13,000 Leafs sold by early April 2012 and 5,000 i-MiEVs sold by October 2011. In the U.S. electric car sales are led by the Nissan Leaf with 12,841 units sold through June 2012.
Total electric car sales in Western European countries reached 11,563 units during 2011, representing a 0.09% market share of all new car sales in the region. The top selling countries were France (2,630), Norway (2,240), Germany (2,154), and the United Kingdom (1,082). The top selling models in the region in 2011 were the Mitsubishi i-MiEV followed by its rebadged versions the Peugeot iOn and the Citroën C-Zero. During the first quarter of 2012 a total of 4,867 plug-in electric cars were sold in Western Europe, representing a market share of 0.15% of all new car sales. Electric car sales were led by France and Germany. The top selling highway-capable cars during this quarter was the Nissan Leaf with 1,241 units, followed by the Opel Ampera plug-in hybrid with 982 units. A total of 5,579 electric vehicles were sold in China during 2011, including passenger and commercial vehicles, and 3,444 electric vehicles during the first half of 2012.
Norway has the largest electric car ownership per capita in the world.Shown a Tesla Roadster, a REVAi and aTh!nk City at a free parking and charging station in Oslo.
As of June 2012, Norway had 7,197 registered electric cars,representing the largest fleet of highway-capable electric cars in Europe, the country with the largest EV ownweship per capita in the world, and Oslo recognized as the EV capital of the world.A total of 2,240 electric cars were sold in 2011, up from 722 in 2010, for a total of 5,448 electric cars registered through December 2011. Sales in 2011 were led by the Mitsubishi i-MiEV line-up with 1,477 units including the rebadged Peugeot iOn and Citroën C-Zero, together representing 66% of electric car sales in Norway that year. During the first six months of 2012 a total of 1,749 electric cars were sold, led by the Nissan Leaf with 1,068 units, reaching cumulative sales of 1,449 units since its launch in September 2011. The i-MiEV family has sold 2,138 units through June 2012. During the first five months of 2012, electric car sales represented a 2.5% market share of new car sales in the country.
The Bolloré Bluecar, deployed exclusively for the Parisian Autolib’ carsharing program, led electric car registrations in France during the first half of 2012.
A total of 2,630 electric cars were registered in France in 2011, up from 184 cars in 2010. Also during 2010, a total of 406 heavy quadricycles and 796 utility electric vehicles were registered in the country. Sales in the French market for 2011 were led by the Citroën C-Zero with 645 units followed by the Peugeot iOns with 639 vehicles, and the Bolloré Bluecar with 399 electric cars.During the first half of 2012, a total of 2,271 electric cars were registered in France, led by Autolib’ Bolloré Bluecars with 1,383 units and the Nissan Leaf with 239 units. Considering electric quadracycles and utility vehicles, the total of electric vehicles registered during the first half of 2012 rises to 5,446 units, with the Renault Kangoo Z.E. as the top selling utility EV with 1,058 units registered, and the Renault Twizy as the top selling electric quadricycle with 1,551 units.
A total of 2,154 electric cars were sold in Germany through December 2011, increasing its registered fleet to 4,541 electric cars. Sales in the country for 2011 were led by the Mitsubishi i-MiEV family with 683 i-MiEVs, 208 Peugeot iOns and 200 Citroën C-Zeros, representing 50.6% of all electric car sales in 2011. A total of 1,419 electric-drive cars were registered in Germany during the first half of 2012, led by the Opel Ampera plug-in hybrid with 585 units, followed by the Nissan Leaf with 249, and the Citroën C-Zero with 247 units.
Since 2006 a total of 1,096 electric cars have been registered in the U.K. through December 2010, and a total of 1,082 units were sold during 2011, up from 138 units in 2010. During the first six months of 2012, 622 all-electric cars were registered in the UK, led by the Nissan Leaf with 343 units. Sales during the this period climb to 1,066 when other plug-in electric vehicles are accounted, with the Vauxhall Ampera ranking second after the Leaf with 230 units, followed by the Renault Twizy electric quadricycle with 158 units.
There are also several pre-production models and plug-in conversions of existing internal combustion engine models undergoing field trials or are part of demonstration programs, such as the Volvo C30 DRIVe Electric, Volkswagen Golf blue-e-motion, and the RAV4 EV second generation. Other models scheduled for market launch in 2012 and 2013 include the Renault Zoe, Fiat 500 Elettra, Scion iQ EV, Volkswagen e-Up!, and BMW i3.
Both the Nissan Leaf all-electric car and theChevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid are eligible for government incentives for plug-in electric vehicles in several countries.
Several countries have established grants and tax credits for the purchase of new electric cars depending on battery size. The U.S. offers a federal income tax credit up toUS$7,500, and several states have additional incentives. The U.K. offers a Plug-in Car Grant up to a maximum of GB£5,000 (US$7,600). As of April 2011, 15 European Union member states provide economic incentives for the purchase of new electrically chargeable vehicles, which consist of tax reductions and exemptions, as well as of bonus payments for buyers of all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and somealternative fuel vehicles.
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- Electric Vehicle Racing in UK
- The Greenpower Challenge – EV racing for young people
- Compressed air car
- Electric car use by country
- Electric boat
- Electric bus
- Electric motorcycles and scooters
- Electric vehicle conversion
- Government incentives for plug-in electric vehicles
- Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV)
- List of modern production plug-in electric vehicles
- List of production battery electric vehicles
- Patent encumbrance of large automotive NiMH batteries
- Plug-in electric vehicle (PEV)
- Plug-in electric vehicles in the United States
- Plug-in hybrid (PHEV)
- Solar Golf Cart
- Tesla electric car
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