Battery-electric vehicle

For electric vehicles other than battery powered road vehicles, see electric vehicle. For passenger electric vehicles, see Electric car.

A battery electric vehicle (BEV) is a type of electric vehicle (EV) that uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs. BEVs use electric motors and motor controllers instead of internal combustion engines (ICEs) for propulsion.

A battery-only electric vehicle or all-electric vehicle derives all its power from its battery packs and thus has no internal combustion engine, fuel cell, or fuel tank.


Vehicles using both electric motors and internal combustion engines are examples of hybrid electric vehicles, and are not considered pure or all-electric vehicles because they cannot be externally charged (operate in charge-sustaining mode) and instead they are continually recharged with power from the internal combustion engine and regenerative braking.[2]

Hybrid vehicles with batteries that can be charged externally to displace some or all of their internal combustion engine power and gasoline fuel are called plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and run as BEVs during their charge-depleting mode. PHEVs with a series powertrain are also called range-extended electric vehicles (REEVs), such as the Chevrolet Volt and Fisker Karma.

Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are a subcategory of electric vehicles that includes battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles, (PHEVs), and electric vehicle conversions of hybrid electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.[2][3]

In China, plug-in electric vehicles, together with hybrid electric vehicles are called new energy vehicles (NEVs).[4] However, in the United States, neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) are battery electric vehicles that are legally limited to roads with posted speed limits no higher than 45 miles per hour (72 km/h), are usually built to have a top speed of 30 miles per hour (48 km/h), and have a maximum loaded weight of 3,000 lbs.[5]


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 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) and higher oil prices.[6]

BEVs include automobiles, light trucks, and neighborhood electric vehicles.

Electric bus

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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 Atlanta Olympics.[7][8]

Beginning in the summer of 2000, Hong Kong Airport began operating a 16-passenger Mitsubishi Rosa electric shuttle bus, and in the fall of 2000, New York City began testing a 66-passenger battery-powered school bus, an all electric version of the Blue Bird TC/2000.[9] A similar bus was operated in Napa Valley, California for 14 months ending in April, 2004.[10]

The 2008 Beijing Olympics used a fleet of 50 electric buses, which have a range of 130 km (81 mi) with the air conditioning on. They use Lithium-ion batteries, and consume about 1 kW·h/mi (0.62 kW·h/km; 2.2 MJ/km). The buses were designed by the Beijing Institute of Technology and built by the Jinghua Coach Co. Ltd.[11] The batteries are replaced with fully charged ones at the recharging station to allow 24 hour operation of the buses.[12]

In France, the bus electric phenomenon is in development, but we already can find some of them in operation in numerous cities of France.[13] PVI, a medium company located in the Paris region, is one of the leader of the market with its brand Gepebus (offering Oreos 2X and Oreos 4X).[14]

In the United States, the first battery-electric, fast-charge bus has been in operation in Pomona, California since September 2010 at Foothill Transit. The Proterra EcoRide BE35 uses lithium-titanate batteries and is able to fast-charge in less than 10 minutes.[15]

Thunder Sky

Thunder Sky (based in Hong Kong) builds lithium-ion batteries used in submarines and has three models of electric buses, the 10/21 passenger EV-6700 with a range of 280 km (170 mi) under 20 mins quick-charge, the EV-2009 city buses, and the 43 passenger EV-2008 highway bus, which has a range of 300 km (190 mi) under quick-charge (20 mins to 80%), and 350 km (220 mi) under full charge (25 mins). The buses will also be built in the United States and Finland.[16]


Valence Technology has entered into a contract with The Tanfield Group Plc [17] to manufacture and supply Lithium Phosphate energy storage systems to power Tanfield’s all-electric commercial delivery vehicles. The Valence battery systems will be installed in vans and trucks produced by Tanfield’s UK-based trading division, Smith Electric Vehicles, the world’s largest manufacturer of electric vans and trucks.

Free Tindo

Tindo is an all-electric bus from Adelaide, Australia. The Tindo (aboriginal word for sun) is made by Designline International[18] in New Zealand and gets its electricity from a solar PV system on Adelaide's central bus station. Rides are zero-fare as part of Adelaide's public transport system.[19]

First electric commercial bus

Seoul Metropolitan Government runs the world's first commercial all-electric bus service. The bus was developed by Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hankuk Fiber which make a lightweight body from carbon composite material. Provided with Li-on battery and regenerative braking, the bus may run to 52 miles (84 km) in a single 30 minutes charge. The maximum speed is 62 miles per hour (100 km/h).[20]

First Fast-Charge, Battery-Electric Transit Bus

Proterra's EcoRide BE35 transit bus, called the Ecoliner by Foothill Transit in West Covina, California, is the world’s first heavy duty, fast charge, battery-electric bus. Proterra's ProDrive drive-system uses a UQM motor and regenerative braking that captures 90% 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%. It can travel 30–40 miles on a single charge, is up to 600% more fuel-efficient than a typical diesel or CNG bus, and produces 44% less carbon than CNG.[21]

Semi-trailer trucks

The Port of Los Angeles and South Coast Air Quality Management District have demonstrated a short-range heavy-duty all electric truck capable of hauling a fully loaded 40-foot (12 m) cargo container. The current design is capable of pulling a 60,000 lb (27 t) cargo container at speeds up to 40 mph (64 km/h) and has a range of between 30 and 60 miles (48 and 97 km). It uses 2 kilowatt-hours per mile (1.2 kW·h/km; 4.5 MJ/km), compared to 5 miles per US gallon (47 L/100 km; 6.0 mpg-imp) for the hostler semi tractors it replaces.[22]

Electric tractors

Electric tractors have been built since the 1990s.[23][24][25]

Milk float

A common example of the battery electric trucks is the milk float. Since it makes many stops in delivering milk it is more practical to use an electric vehicle than a combustion truck, which would be idling much of the time; it also reduces noise in residential areas. For most of the 20th century, the majority of the world's battery electric road vehicles were British milk floats.[26]

Garbage truck

With a similar driving pattern of a delivery vehicle like the milk float above, garbage trucks are excellent candidates for electric drive. Most of their time is spent stopping, starting or idling. These activities are where internal combustion engines are their least efficient. In preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games, 3,000 of the internal combustion engine garbage trucks in Beijing were replaced with lithium ion polymer battery pack electric drive trucks.[27] The batteries were procured for about $3,300 each.[28]

Pickup trucks

In early 2009, Phoenix Motorcars will be shipping a test fleet of their all-electric SUT (Sports Utility Truck) to Maui. One of the surviving electric vehicles from the late 1990s is the Chevy S-10 electric pickup truck. Many other vehicles from this era, such as the General Motors EV1 were recalled and destroyed. A newcomer is the Miles Electric Vehicles ZX40ST electric truck now available in the United States. Miles Electric Vehicles is based in Santa Monica, California.[29]

The Big Bike Company Limited, in Gloucestershire, England, is now offering fully electric pick up trucks for sale. Powered by an impressive bank of batteries, these small utility vehicles are able to deliver a payload of approximately 500 kg, and have a range of up to 80 miles. Using a 3 wheel configuration, the rolling and aerodynamic drag is reduced. As a tricycle it can also be driven on a motorcycle licence. They are marketed on the internet, and can be viewed on a temporary web site at

Electric cars

Main article: Electric car

An electric car is a plug-in battery powered automobile which is propelled by electric motor(s). Although electric cars often give good acceleration and have generally acceptable top speed, the lower specific energy of production batteries available in 2010 compared with carbon-based fuels means that electric cars need batteries that are fairly large fraction of the vehicle mass but still often give relatively low range between charges. Recharging can also take significant lengths of time. For shorter range commuter type journeys, rather than long journeys, electric cars are practical forms of transportation and can be recharged overnight.

Electric cars have the potential of significantly reducing city pollution by having zero tail pipe emissions.[31][32][33] Vehicle greenhouse gas savings depend on how the electricity is generated. With the current U.S. energy mix, using an electric car would result in a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.[34][35][36][37] Given the current energy mixes in other countries, it has been predicted that such emissions would decrease by 40% in the UK,[38] 19% in China,[39] and as little as 1% in Germany.[40][41]

Electric cars are expected to have a major impact in the auto industry[42][43] given advantages in city pollution, less dependence on oil, and expected rise in gasoline prices.[44][45][46] World governments are pledging billions to fund development of electric vehicles and their components. The U.S. has pledged US$2.4 billion in federal grants for electric cars and batteries.[47] China has announced it will provide US$15 billion to initiate an electric car industry.[48]

By mid July 2013 the leading electric vehicle manufacturer is the Renault-Nissan Alliance with global sales of 100,000 all-electric vehicles since December 2010, which includes over 71,000 Nissan Leafs, about 11,000 Renault Twizy heavy quadricycles, almost 10,000 Renault Kangoo Z.E. utility vans, about 5,000 Renault Zoes, and over 3,000 Renault Fluence Z.E. electric cars.[49][50] The alliance sold 43,829 all-electric vehicles during 2012,[51] and the Nissan Leaf is the world's top selling highway-capable electric car ever,[52] with global sales of 83,000 units through September 2013.[1] Ranking second is Mitsubishi Motors with global sales of around 32,685 electric vehicles since July 2009 through April 2013, and its all-electric line up includes the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the rebadged Peugeot iOn and Citroën C-Zero, and the Mitsubishi Minicab MiEV utility van, and sales figures include the Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV plug-in hybrid.[53] Tesla Motors is the third best selling all-electric vehicle manufacturer, with more than 15,000 electric cars sold since February 2008, including almost 2,500 Tesla Roadsters and 12,700 Tesla Model S sold through June 2013.[30][54][55]

Special-purpose vehicles

Special-purpose vehicles come in a wide range of types, ranging from relatively common ones such as golf carts, things like electric golf trolleys, milk floats, all-terrain vehicles, neighborhood electric vehicles, and a wide range of other devices. Certain manufacturers specialize in electric-powered "in plant" work machines.


Battery electric railcars


Electric rail trolley

Main article: Cater MetroTrolley


Main article: Electrathon

Two wheels

Electric motorcycles and scooters

Electric bicycles

Main article: Electric bicycles


Main article: Segway PT


Fuel use in vehicle designs
Vehicle type Fuel used
All-petroleum vehicle Most use of petroleum
Regular hybrid electric vehicle Less use of petroleum, but non-pluginable
Plug-in hybrid vehicle Residual use of petroleum. More use of electricity
All-electric vehicle Most use of electricity


Main article: Traction motor

Electric cars have traditionally used series wound DC motors, a form of brushed DC electric motor. Separately excited and permanent magnet are just two of the types of DC motors available. More recent electric vehicles have made use of a variety of AC motor types, as these are simpler to build and have no brushes that can wear out. These are usually induction motors or brushless AC electric motors which use permanent magnets. There are several variations of the permanent magnet motor which offer simpler drive schemes and/or lower cost including the brushless DC electric motor.

Motor controllers

Main article: Motor controller

The motor controller regulates the power to the motor, supplying either variable pulse width DC or variable frequency variable amplitude AC, depending on the motor type, DC or AC.


As of 2013, networks of charging stations are being built in major developed countries. While many of charging station networks can handle multiple vehicle types, and may be provided by or partially supported by local governmental authorities, some companies are providing proprietary charging networks. An example of the latter is the Tesla supercharger network provided by Tesla Motors which, in June 2013, announced an upgrade of their stations to become "Tesla stations" which would also support under-two-minute battery swaps for the Tesla Model S.[56]

See also

Sustainable development portal


Further reading

  • Witkin, Jim. lithium ion battery.

External links

  • EERE).
  • Automotive DesignLine Europe, electric and hybrid vehicle design resource for engineers and engineering managers.
  • Zero Emission Workspace, electric vehicles in an off-grid commercial building project.
  • Electrically Propelled Perambulator, 1894
  • Hiram Percy Maxim, Motor vehicle, 1897
  • Electric motor vehicle, 1904
  • EV Network – the UK national directory of recharging points.
  • The European Association for Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (AVERE).
  • EVCanada – Promoting the uptake of Electric Vehicles in Canada.
  • Czech EV Club – (CZ) Eng. section in photogallery.
  • Alternative Technology Association Electric Vehicle Interest Group.
  • Australian Electric Vehicle Association.
  • Electric Car Society.
  • Reasons to buy an electric car in 2013
  • Green Car Congress)
  • Solar charging station for Ford Focus Electric Vehicle
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, April 2013.
  • International Energy Agency (IEA), May 2013
  • , Harvard University

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