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An electric vehicle, also called an EV, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. EVs first came into existence in the mid-19th century, when electricity was among the preferred methods for motor vehicle propulsion, providing a level of comfort and ease of operation that could not be achieved by the gasoline cars of the time. In the 21st century, EVs saw a resurgence due to technological developments, and an increased focus on renewable energy. Electric motive power started in 1827, when Hungarian priest Ányos Jedlik built the first crude but viable electric motor, provided with stator, rotor and commutator, and the year after he used it to power a tiny car. Robert Anderson of Scotland invented the first crude electric carriage, powered by non-rechargeable primary cells. The first mass-produced electric vehicles appeared in America in the early 1900s. In 1902, “Studebaker Automobile Company” entered the automotive business with electric vehicles, though it also entered the gasoline vehicles market in 1904.
Due to the limitations of storage batteries at that time, electric cars did not gain much popularity, however electric trains gained immense popularity due to their economies and fast speeds achievable. By the 20th century, electric rail transport became commonplace. Electrified trains were used for coal transport, as the motors did not use precious oxygen in the mines. Switzerland’s lack of natural fossil resources forced the rapid electrification of their rail network.
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EVs were among the earliest automobiles, and before the preeminence of light, powerful internal combustion engines, electric automobiles held many vehicle land speed and distance records in the early 1900s. A number of developments contributed to decline of electric cars. In January 1990, General Motors’ President introduced its EV concept two-seater, the “Impact”, at the Los Angeles Auto Show. That September, the California Air Resources Board mandated major-automaker sales of EVs, in phases starting in 1998. From 1996 to 1998 GM produced 1117 EV1s, 800 of which were made available through three-year leases. Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, and Toyota also produced limited numbers of EVs for California drivers. In 2003, upon the expiration of GM’s EV1 leases, GM discontinued them.
A movie made on the subject in 2005-2006 was titled Who Killed the Electric Car? Ford released a number of their Ford Ecostar delivery vans into the market. Honda, Nissan and Toyota also repossessed and crushed most of their EVs, which, like the GM EV1s, had been available only by closed-end lease. The production of the Citroën Berlingo Electrique stopped in September 2005. During the last few decades, environmental impact of the petroleum-based transportation infrastructure, along with the fear of peak oil, has led to renewed interest in an electric transportation infrastructure. As of May 2015, more than 500,000 highway-capable all-electric passenger cars and light utility vehicles have been sold worldwide since 2008, out of total global sales of about 850,000 light-duty plug-in electric vehicles. Norway is the country with the highest market penetration per capita in the world, with four plug-in electric vehicles per 1000 inhabitants in 2013.
In March 2014, Norway became the first country where over 1 in every 100 passenger cars on the roads is a plug-in electric. By some estimates electric vehicles sales may constitute almost a third of new-car sales by the end of 2030. There are many ways to generate electricity, of varying costs, efficiency and ecological desirability. It is also possible to have hybrid EVs that derive electricity from multiple sources.
Another form of chemical to electrical conversion is fuel cells, projected for future use. For especially large EVs, such as submarines, the chemical energy of the diesel-electric can be replaced by a nuclear reactor. The nuclear reactor usually provides heat, which drives a steam turbine, which drives a generator, which is then fed to the propulsion. A few experimental vehicles, such as some cars and a handful of aircraft use solar panels for electricity. Batteries, electric double-layer capacitors and flywheel energy storage are forms of rechargeable on-board electrical storage.