A battery electric vehicle (BEV), pure electric vehicle, only-electric vehicle, fully electric vehicle or all-electric vehicle is a type of electric vehicle (EV) that exclusively uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs, with no secondary source of propulsion (e.g. hydrogen fuel cell, internal combustion engine, etc.). BEVs use electric motors and motor controllers instead of internal combustion engines (ICEs) for propulsion. They derive all power from battery packs and thus have no internal combustion engine, fuel cell, or fuel tank. BEVs include – but are not limited to motorcycles, bicycles, scooters, skateboards, railcars, watercraft, forklifts, buses, trucks, and cars.
In 2016, there were 210 million electric bikes worldwide used daily. Cumulative global sales of highway-capable light-duty pure electric car vehicles passed the one million unit milestone in September 2016. As of October 2020, the world’s top selling all-electric car in history is the Tesla Model 3, with an estimated 645,000 sales, followed by the Nissan Leaf with over 500,000 sales as of September 2020.
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The concept of battery electric vehicles is to use charged batteries on board vehicles for propulsion. Battery electric cars are becoming more and more attractive with the higher oil prices and the advancement of new battery technology (lithium-ion) that have higher power and energy density (i.e., greater possible acceleration and more range with fewer batteries). Compared to older battery types such as lead-acid batteries. Lithium-ion batteries for example now have an energy density of 0.9–2.63 MJ/L whereas lead-acid batteries had an energy density of 0.36 MJ/L (so 2.5 to 7.3x higher). There is still a long way to go if comparing it to petroleum-based fuels and biofuels, however (gasoline having an energy density of 34.2 MJ/L -38x to 12.92x higher- and ethanol having an energy of 24 MJ/L -26x to 9.12x higher-). BEVs include automobiles, light trucks, and neighborhood electric vehicles.
Battery electric railcars: EV-E301 battery electric multiple unit on the Karasuyama Line, Japan
Battery electric trains in the form of BEMUs (battery electric multiple units) are operated commercially in Japan. They are charged via pantographs, either when driving on electrified railway lines or during stops at specially equipped train stations. They use battery power for propulsion when driving on railway lines that are not electrified, and have successfully replaced diesel multiple units on some such lines.
Electric bus: Chattanooga, Tennessee operates nine zero-fare electric buses, which have been in operation since 1992 and have carried 11.3 million passengers and covered a distance of 3,100,000 kilometres (1,900,000 mi), they were made locally by Advanced Vehicle Systems. Two of these buses were used for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
In 2014, the first production model all-electric school bus was delivered to the Kings Canyon Unified School District in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The bus was one of four the district ordered. This battery-electric school bus, which has 4 sodium nickel batteries, is the first modern electric school bus approved for student transportation by any state.
In 2016, including the light heavy-duty vehicles, there were roughly 1.5 million heavy-duty vehicles in California.
First Fast-Charge, Battery-Electric Transit Bus: Proterra’s EcoRide BE35 transit bus, called the Ecoliner by Foothill Transit in West Covina, California, is a heavy-duty, fast charge, battery-electric bus. Proterra’s ProDrive drive-system uses a UQM motor and regenerative braking that captures 90 percent of the available energy and returns it to the TerraVolt energy storage system, which in turn increases the total distance the bus can drive by 31–35 percent. It can travel 30–40 miles (48–64 km) on a single charge, is up to 600 percent more fuel-efficient than a typical diesel or CNG bus, and produces 44 percent less carbon than CNG. Proterra buses have had several problems, most notably in Philadelphia where the entire fleet was removed from service.
Electric trucks: For most of the 20th century, the majority of the world’s battery electric road vehicles were British milk floats. The 21st century saw the massive development of BYD electric trucks.
Electric vans: In March 2012, Smith Electric Vehicles announced the release of the Newton Step-Van, an all-electric, zero-emission vehicle built on the versatile Newton platform that features a walk-in body produced by Indiana-based Utilimaster.
Electric car: Although electric cars often give good acceleration and have generally acceptable top speed, the lower specific energy of production batteries available in 2015 compared with carbon-based fuels means that electric cars need batteries that are a fairly large fraction of the vehicle mass but still often give a relatively low range between charges. Recharging can also take significant lengths of time. For journeys within a single battery charge, rather than long journeys, electric cars are practical forms of transportation and can be recharged overnight.
Electric cars can significantly reduce city pollution by having zero emissions. Vehicle greenhouse gas savings depend on how the electricity is generated.
Electric cars are having a major impact in the auto industry given advantages in city pollution, less dependence on oil and combustion, and scarcity and expected rise in gasoline prices. World governments are pledging billions to fund development of electric vehicles and their components.
Formula E is a fully electric international single-seater championship. The series was conceived in 2012, and the inaugural championship started in Beijing on 13 September 2014. The series is sanctioned by the FIA. Alejandro Agag is the current CEO of Formula E.
Electric bicycles: India is the world’s biggest market for bicycles at 22 million units per year. By 2024, electric 2 wheelers will be a $2 billion market with over 3 million units being sold in India.
Electric boats: Several battery electric ships operate throughout the world, some for business. Electric ferries are being operated and constructed.