An Electric Car uses an electric motor or motors instead of an internal combustion engine to propel itself which is
powered by a large battery.
The main or possibly only differences between an electric car and a conventional petrol,
diesel or hybrid is the drivetrain and power source. An electric drivetrain consists of a
motor or motors and usually a smaller transmission/transaxle and axles to the driven wheels.
Instead of fuel and the 12 volt lead-acid battery, the power for an electric car comes from a large lithium-ion
battery pack. Lithium-ion is also used in cell phones and laptops and is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh).
Electricity from the batteries is used by the motors to create torque which spins the wheels.
An electric motor is more flexible in its operation than an engine in that it doesn't need a
transmission to allow the car to idle and it doesn't need several gear ratios to effectively move the car.
It is still common for a transmission or transaxle to be used as it would convert the motor's usually high RPM's
to a more usable RPM for the wheels but only one or two gear ratios are used.
Some electric cars are factory converted versions of regular cars such as the Ford Focus Electric or Mercedes Benz B-Class
Electric while others such as the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S were built as electric from the start.
Some plug in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt/Cadillac ELR and the BMW i3 are sometimes classified as and/or compared to
electric cars as their petrol powered engines function only as a range extender and doesn't directly propel the wheels.
The advantages of electric propulsion (and the reasons why they're relevant) are they cause no direct pollution, electricity is
cheaper than petrol/diesel and they're very quiet by nature.
The motors provide instant torque and acceleration that no internal combustion engine can achieve and they're usually compact
for their torque/horsepower output when compared to engines.
The disadvantages of electric propulsion (and the reasons most people rather conventional cars) are the batteries required to
power a car are heavy and can take up a lot of room and the range of driving on a full charge is much less than
internal combustion engines.
The batteries also take hours to recharge and the infrastructure for recharging is nowhere close to that of gas stations.
The main issue that keeps electric cars relevant is they're a great alternative if or when petroleum based fuels become scarce
so a workable infrastructure could be developed with time.
Most automotive marques have experimented with hybrids, electrics and alternative fuels along with their range of internal combustion
vehicles. Then there is Tesla Motors the world's only, electric only, mass market car manufacturer.
Tesla Motors is one of the best assets in the future of the electric car as they've mass produced what is arguably the most
competitive electric car (Model S) compared to internal combustion and they're building a network of charging stations for their cars.
Norway is one of the countries that has welcomed electric cars by continuously expanding its charging infrastructure and offers
many incentives for persons purchasing these cars as a result the city of Oslo, Norway has the most amount of electric cars per capita in
While the Model S and its charging infrastructure has obvious shortcomings compared with internal combustion and gas stations,
they have proven to be a comfortable, liveable alternative for many persons and that the electric car may have a bright future ahead as