Published on July 10, 2016
An electric car is an automobile that is propelled by one or more electric motors, using electrical energy stored in rechargeable batteries or another energy storage device. Electric motors give electric cars instant torque, creating strong and smooth acceleration. They are also around three times as efficient as cars with an internal combustion engine.
The first practical electric cars were produced in the 1880s. Electric cars were popular in the late 19th century and early 20th century, until advances in internal combustion engines, electric starters in particular, 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 1980s brought a short-lived interest in electric cars; although, those cars did not reach the mass marketing stage, as is the case in the 21st century. Since 2008, a renaissance in electric vehicle manufacturing has occurred due to advances in batteries and energy management, concerns about increasing oil prices, and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Several national and local governments have established tax credits, subsidies, and other incentives to promote the introduction and adoption in the mass market of new electric vehicles depending on battery size and their all-electric range.
Electric cars are significantly quieter than conventional internal combustion engine automobiles. They do not emit tailpipe pollutants, giving a large reduction of local air pollution, and, can give a significant reduction in total greenhouse gas and other emissions (dependent on the method used for electricity generation ). They also provide for independence from foreign oil, which in several countries is cause for concern about vulnerability to oil price volatility and supply disruption. Recharging can take a long time and in many places there is a patchy recharging infrastructure. For long distance driving, many cars support fast charging that can give around 80% charge in half an hour using public rapid chargers. While battery cost is decreasing fairly rapidly, it is still relatively high, and because of this, most electric cars have a more limited range and a somewhat higher purchase cost than conventional vehicles. Drivers can also sometimes suffer from range anxiety- the fear that the batteries will be depleted before reaching their destination.
As of December 2015, there were over 30 models of highway legal all-electric passenger cars and utility vans available for retail sales, mainly in the United States, China, Japan, and Western European countries. By the end of 2015, about 720,000 light-duty pure electric vehicles have been sold worldwide out of total global sales of 1.2 million plug-in electric cars sold since 2010. The world’s top selling highway-capable electric car ever is the Nissan Leaf, released in December 2010, with almost 220,000 units sold worldwide by mid-April 2016. The Tesla Model S, released in June 2012, ranks second with global sales of about 120,000 units through March 2016.