An electric car is a car that is powered by an electric motor, using the power stored in the battery or other energy storage devices. Electric cars were popular at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, while improvements to the internal combustion engine and the mass production of a cheaper petrol vehicle led to a reduction in the use of the vehicle on an electric drive. The energy crisis in the 1970s and 80s led to a short-term interest in electric cars, and in mid-2000 renewed interest in the manufacture of electric cars, mainly due to concerns about the accelerated rise in oil prices and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Since September 2011, serial production models available in some countries include Tesla Roadster, REVAi, Buddy, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Leaf, Smart ED and Wheego Whip LiFe. Leaf and i-MiEV are, with a total sales of more than 15,000 units each, the best-selling electric cars capable of driving by the highway until September 2011. Electric vehicles do not consume energy while they are still standing, and part of the energy lost during braking is reused through regenerative braking, which uses up to one-fifth of normal energy lost during braking. Usually, conventional gasoline engines use only 15% of the energy content of the fuel to drive the vehicle or to power additional equipment.
Electric cars have several potential advantages over conventional auto-ignition cars, which involve a significant reduction in air pollution in cities, as they do not release pollutants from their energy sources while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, depending on fuel and technology used for producing electric power for battery charging, lower oil dependence, which in developed countries and developing countries causes concern about their exposure to sudden price changes and supply disruption. Also, for many developing countries, and especially for the poorest in Africa, high oil prices have adversely affected the balance of payments, hampering their economic growth.
Despite the potential advantages, the broad acceptance of electric cars faces several obstacles and limitations. Electric cars are considerably more expensive than conventional cars with internal combustion and hybrid electric vehicles due to the additional cost of their lithium-ion accumulators. However, the price of a battery drops with mass production and is expected to continue to fall. Other obstacles to the general use of electric cars are the lack of public and private charging infrastructure and the fear of power-hungry drivers before reaching their destination due to the limited reach of existing electric cars.
Several governments have offered political and economic incentives to overcome the existing barriers, promoting the sale of electric cars and financing the further development of electric vehicles, more cost-effective performance of batteries and their components. The US has pledged $ 2.4 billion of incentives for the development of electric cars and their batteries. China has announced that it will provide $ 15 billion to launch the electric car industry within its borders. Several national and local authorities have established tax incentives, subsidies and other incentives to reduce the net purchase price of electric cars and other accessories.