What is an electric vehicle?
Electric vehicles (EV) are cars that run on and are charged up with an electric power instead of a traditional
petrol or diesel. The electricity that powers the electric cars is stored in batteries before being used by
the electric motors to drive the car’s wheels.
What are the benefits of electric vehicles?
● Environmental friendly due to no pollution emission at the tailpipe;
● Quieter and easier to drive than petrol/diesel cars;
● Cheaper refueling than petrol/diesel cars;
● Can be charged up almost everywhere;
● Cheaper and easier to repair;
● Drivers of EVs are privileged by the governments e.g., higher legal speed limits for EVs in Austria;
Are there any disadvantages to this type of cars?
It is tempting to say 'no' but nothing is perfect, and so also the electric vehicles cannot yet be considered ideal. Right now the most discouraging factors are: high price of EV, relatively low range and long time of charging in comparison to the traditional cars. However, looking at the speed at which the electromotive technology is developing these days, soon these factors may not be an issue anymore.
History of electric vehicles - facts and milestones
● Early 1800’s - some of the first small-scale electric cars are created by innovators in Hungary, the Netherlands and the United States;
● Second half of the 19th century - French and English inventors build the first practical electric cars;
● 1890’s - William Morrison inroduces a six-passenger vehicle capable of reaching a top speed of 14 miles
per hour; by 1900’s and for another decade electric cars were ⅓ of cars sold in the United States of
● 1898 - Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the Porshe company, develops an electric car called the P1 ;
● 1908 - beginning of a bad era for electric vehicles due to creation of Henry Ford’s mass-produced
Model T, gasoline powered car; by 1935 eclectric cars were almost completely replaced;
● 1973 - the Arab oil embargo forces America to rethink relying on foreign oil
● 1976 - the Congress passes the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development, and
Demonstration Act authorizing the Energy Department to support research and development in electric
and hybrid vehicles; exploration of electric technology strikes again; at the time a typical EV can run up to
45 miles per hour and their typical range is limited to 40 miles before needing to be recharged;
● 1973 - General Motors develops a prototype for an urban electric car;
● 1975 - American Motor Company produces electric delivery jeeps;
● 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment and the 1992 Energy Policy Act - new interest in electric cars;
● 1990’s - General Motors designes and develops the EV1 with a range of 80 miles and the ability to
accelerate from 0 to 50 miles per hour in just seven seconds(!);
● 1997 - introduction of the Toyota Prius - the world’s first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle
● 2010 - Tesla establishes a manufacturing facility in California;
● the Energy Department invests more than $115 million to help build a nation-wide charging
infrastructure, installing more than 18,000 residential, commercial and public chargers across the country;
with private businesses installing their own chargers at key locations in the U.S., total of public electric
vehicle chargers rises to more than 8,000 different locations with more than 20,000 charging outlets;
The present and the future of electric vehicles
2000’s was when the electric car trend started to spread quickly worldwide. Not only the awareness
among people was raised but also many new models appeared on the market. Since their debut in 2004,
Tesla Motors developed and released Tesla Roadster t o customers in 2008. By December 2012 they have
sold 2,450 Roadsters in over 30 countries, and the car became the first highway legal serial production
all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells, and the first production all-electric car to travel more than
320 km (200 miles) per charge.
Tesla’s next vehicle was Model S - in the USA first transaction took place in June, 2012. A year later first
car of this model was sold in Europe. Year 2015 marked the beginning of retail sale of a new model,
Tesla Motors’ competitor, Mitsubishi, also launched their electric cars in the 2000’s period, of the brand
i-MiEV. It was happily welcomed worldwide, resulting in around 27,200 units sold or exported until
Since then the electric car market has been developing in a very fast pace. Models released to the market
in 2012 and 2013 include the BMW ActiveE, Coda, Renault Fluence Z.E., Tesla Model S, Honda Fit EV,
Toyota RAV4 EV, Renault Zoe, Roewe E50, Mahindra e2o, Chevrolet Spark EV, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Electric Drive, Fiat 500e, Volkswagen e-Up!, BMW i3, and Kandi EV.
The Tesla Model S was ranked as the top selling electric car in North America during the first quarter of
2013 with 4,900 cars sold, ahead of the Nissan Leaf (3,695).
Production of electric cars did not end in America. Other countries also had their influence on the global
market. For example, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric was released in South Korea in July 2016, and sold over
1,000 units during its first two months in the market. In September 2016, cumulative global sales of pure
electric passenger cars and utility vans passed the 1 million unit milestone.
Nowadays, more drivers than ever are choosing electric vehicles over petrol/diesel powered cars, and
they have good reason to do so. The vehicles have come a long way in the past few years, with their
batteries able to last longer than ever before. Many electric vehicle developers have also been improving
their battery charge times in recent years, making it possible for these cars to be charged and ready to run
more quickly. Electric vehicles are now available in a variety of configurations and designs, as well as
space of a desired preference.