Definition: An electric car is an automobile that is propelled by one or more electric motors, using electrical energy stored in rechargeable batteries
Compared with cars with internal combustion (IC) engines, electric cars are quieter and have no tailpipe emissions. When recharged by low-emission electrical power sources, electric vehicles can reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to IC engines. Where oil is imported, use of electric vehicles can reduce imports.
Recharging can take a long time and in many places, there is a patchy recharging infrastructure. Battery cost limits range and increases purchase cost over IC vehicles, but battery costs are decreasing. Drivers can also sometimes suffer from range anxiety- the fear that the batteries will be depleted before reaching their destination.
Synonyms: Electric Automobile; Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Why is this important? Manufacturers and consumers will be inevitably driven to electric vehicles in the years ahead, within 50 years a majority of our cars will be equipped with electric drivetrains. Electric cars will increase energy security, improve fuel economy, lower fuel costs, and reduce emissions. The total cost of owning an electric car will be significantly lower compared to a combustion engine car.
When will it be relevant to me? While electric cars are already present, the benefits compared to traditional combustion engine cars are not significant from a owners perspective. Four critical drivers for the predictions and significant benefits to become reality and for EVs to reach a tipping point:
- Governments must offer incentives to lower the costs.
- Manufacturers must accept extremely low profit margins.
- Customers must be willing to pay more to drive electric.
- The cost of batteries must come down.
Economics / impact: Global Electric Vehicles market will be more than US$ 100 Billion industry by 2020 (Market Reports Online, 2016)
Ecosystem: Electric car manufacturers, consumers, municipalities, utilities, and other supporting industries need to work together to develop an “electric vehicle ecosystem” that can support and enhance the operation of EVs and help deliver greater benefits to customers and the environment.
- Tesla just launched the Model 3 which will give a push to customer acceptance of electric cars in general
- OEMs will invest heavily in the EV infrastructure (network of charging stations)
- Batteries will be improved (higher range, lower costs) and significantly increase the benefits of electric cars compared to combustion engine cars