GM announces its electric car

GM announces its electric car


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On January 4, 1996, General Motors announces at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show it will build an electric car, dubbed the EV1, to be launched in the fall of that year.

The EV1 wasn’t an entirely new concept, as electric vehicles had been around since the auto industry’s nascent days. In the early 20th century, the Columbia Runabout, which could travel 40 miles on a single electric charge at speeds of 15 mph, was a best-seller. As Time.com noted: “Before her husband Henry’s mass production of gas-powered cars crushed the electric industry, Clara Ford drove a 1914 Detroit Electric, which could last 80 miles without a charge.” The oil crisis of the 1970s, coupled with a burgeoning environmental movement, led to renewed interest in electric vehicles, although no automaker was able to develop one that garnered mass appeal.

When it debuted in 1996, the EV1 was made available to consumers in just two states, Arizona and California, and for lease-only, as GM considered the development of electric vehicle technology to be ongoing. During its years in production, from 1996 to 1999, around 2,500 EV1s were produced in total. In late 2003, the company announced it was pulling the plug on the EV1 program and wouldn’t renew any leases. GM cited the high cost of producing and maintaining the vehicles as a reason for the EV1’s demise. However, as The Los Angeles Times noted in 2009: “The EV1 began in the 1990s as a response to a zero-emission vehicle mandate by California’s Air Resources Board….When, finally, GM and other automakers managed to get California to soften its zero-emission mandate in 2002, [GM CEO Rick] Wagoner promptly canceled the program.” (During this time, other automakers introduced then discontinued their own electric vehicles, including Toyota, whose RAV4 EV was available from 1997 to 2003.)

Environmental activists protested the end of the EV1, staging a mock funeral and later holding a vigil at a Los Angeles-area GM facility that had impounded a number of EV1s that would later be destroyed.

By 2008, GM had been hit hard by a global economic crisis and slumping auto sales and needed a multi-billion-dollar bailout loan from the federal government in order to stay in business. In March 2009, company CEO Wagoner was ousted by the Obama administration and in April of that year, GM filed for bankruptcy. The company was criticized for continuing to focus on its sport-utility vehicles and small trucks despite a growing consumer demand for smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Wagoner was quoted as saying that pulling the plug on the EV1 and not putting more development resources toward hybrid gas-electric vehicles was a major mistake of his career.


GM unveils new logo to emphasize its pivot to electric vehicles

General Motors debuted a new logo meant to convey the automaker’s renewed commitment to the production and sale of electric vehicles. The company is also launching a new marketing campaign to underscore that commitment, as it seeks to compete with Tesla and other automakers that are rushing new EVs to market.

It’s been about a decade since GM has last tweaked its logo, but this update represents the starkest change in the company’s 113-year history. The most obvious change is the use of a lowercase “gm” in the logo, after previously only using capital letters. The underline has been shortened to just the “m,” in a nod to the company’s recently announced Ultium electric vehicle battery and platform.

The blue square has been rounded at the corners, giving the logo more of a smartphone app appearance. The blue is used as an outline rather than to fill the entire square, and the negative space in the “m” is meant to evoke the shape of an electrical plug.

“This is only the fifth logo change in 113 years,” said Deborah Wahl, chief marketing officer of GM, in a briefing with reporters Friday. “And probably the most progressive thing that we’ve done since 1964.”

A new marketing campaign will punctuate GM’s shift to electric vehicles. Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell has been tapped as a spokesperson for the automaker.

As an umbrella company for a family of auto brands, GM’s logo isn’t as recognizable as some of its rivals like Ford or Tesla. For example, the new logo won’t appear on any of its new EVs, from the Cadillac Lyriq to the GMC Hummer EV. As such, the new marketing campaign is intended to push the message of the company’s overall commitment to electrification rather than sell any one vehicle.

GM has been loudly trumpeting its multibillion-dollar pivot to electrification for months now, while keeping an eye on the meteoric rise of Tesla’s stock price. On Thursday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk saw his own net worth surpass Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, making him the richest man in the world. And today, for the first time, Tesla’s stock value eclipsed the combined values of GM and Ford.

GM has been trying to convince investors of its own commitment to electric vehicles. The company recently committed to spending $27 billion on electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025 — up from the $20 billion it announced before the COVID-19 pandemic. GM has also said it will launch 30 new electric vehicles around the world, more than two-thirds of which will be available in North America.

GM unveiled two new EVs in 2020: the Cadillac Lyriq SUV, expected to go into production in late 2022, and the GMC Hummer EV, slated for late 2021. But the auto giant has been criticized for bringing vehicles to market too late, while other automakers are racing to get their EVs to customers much sooner.

Up next will be two new versions of the Chevy Bolt, the automaker’s mass-market electric car that has been on sale since 2017. A refreshed Bolt and a larger Bolt Electric Utility Vehicle were first announced at the automaker’s “EV Day” earlier this year and are expected to enter production in summer 2021. GM has also said it would release an electric Chevy pickup truck with 400 miles of range.

The new ad campaign, relying on Gladwell and a bevy of actors to proclaim the “inclusiveness” of electric cars, is a far cry from GM’s first commercial for an electric vehicle in 1995. The ill-fated EV1 was the automaker’s first battery-powered vehicle, but was later killed off in a series of corporate decisions documented in the film Who Killed the Electric Car?


General Motors Sets All-Electric Target For Vehicles By 2035

General Motors announced a goal of phasing out gas-powered vehicles by 2035. It's part of an industry-wide — and potentially economy-wide — transformation in order to fight climate change.

One of the country's most important automakers says electric cars are the future and that the future will be here in just 15 years. General Motors, which manufactures millions of cars every year, has set a target date 2035 for ending production of gas and diesel vehicles. NPR's Camila Domonoske covers cars and energy.

CAMILA DOMONOSKE, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.

KELLY: How big a deal is this pledge from GM?

DOMONOSKE: Well, GM is really influential, and this is a signal that they are all-in on a future that's based on electric vehicles. And to put this in context, GM is planning on making a lot of electric vehicles. But in the U.S. right now, they only sell one. And all the company's profits are coming from gas and diesel vehicles, mostly big ones - SUVs and trucks. So it's a wholesale transformation of the business model that they're pledging to undergo.

KELLY: A transformation for GM - what about the rest of the auto industry? Might they follow suit?

DOMONOSKE: Well, this is definitely a sign of an industry-wide change that's coming in fast. Inside GM, it's giving everyone a target to shoot for. With suppliers, investors, dealers, it's showing this is the plan. I spoke to Stephanie Brinley, an automotive analyst with IHS Markit, and I asked her whether this puts pressure on rival companies to match this pledge and set a date of their own.

STEPHANIE BRINLEY: I think it does give another company permission to come along, but I don't think that it necessarily means that they have to.

DOMONOSKE: But I do think it's fair to say this sets a new bar for what an ambitious pledge about electrification looks like for an auto company.

KELLY: And what do we know, Camila, about why GM is being so ambitious? What's motivating this?

DOMONOSKE: Well, there is global pressure across the car industry to accelerate the switch to electric vehicles. You have governments who are all in on this. It's a major priority for the Biden administration. You have states like California pledging to ban the sale of gas-powered cars not in the distant future. You have countries in Europe. You have China setting ambitious targets - so lots of government policies. You also have major investors who are hyper-focused on this right now. And you only need to look at Tesla's stock to see some of the symptoms of just how focused they are, so there really is a wide range of pressure.

KELLY: So this is about profit margins. What about the climate crisis? How big a role is that playing?

DOMONOSKE: Oh, it's entirely about the climate crisis.

DOMONOSKE: The idea of electrifying the fleet of passenger vehicles around the world is about the role that it plays in carbon emissions. Here in the United States, transportation is the single biggest source of carbon emissions, so tackling that is widely seen as absolutely essential to having any meaningful impact on reducing the worst effects of climate change. I'll note just switching to electric cars isn't enough. You need a clean electric grid too. You need buildings that use less energy. You need less driving overall, and it needs to be global. But that's why this is a top priority for governments and for investors.

KELLY: Yeah. And just spell out a few of the details in terms of what it will actually take to achieve this transformation, move the whole U.S. fleet to electric.

DOMONOSKE: I mean, it's huge. Batteries are super-important. You need more of them. They need to be cheaper. The grid needs to be improved. You need more chargers. Consumers need to have cars that they want and can afford. Old cars need to come off the road. I mean, the scale really is enormous, and that's not new. Knowing the scale of the transformation that's necessary to fight climate change has kind of been established. What's new is that there are people, leaders, car CEOs saying that this is possible and not vaguely in the future or in 2050 but 2035. The timelines have moved up so dramatically. I mean, that's tomorrow in automotive terms.

KELLY: NPR's Camila Domonoske.

Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

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Specifications

One electric motor each drives the front wheels. The car has one of the lowest flow resistance coefficients of a production vehicle (0.195). The battery packs are arranged centrally in a T-shape. The EV1 reached a top speed of 129 km/h (limited), with an acceleration of 0-100 km/h in less than 9 seconds. The range with fully charged batteries was a maximum of 140 miles (225 kilometers).

One of the three surviving General Motors EV1 was on loan at the Autovision Museum in Altlussheim, Germany – (photo by Claus arrester | CC BY-SA 3.0)

As standard, the EV1 has air conditioning, heated front and rear windows, window regulators, CD radio, two airbags, and a tire pressure monitoring system, as well as a special acoustic pedestrian warning. Self-illuminating digital displays provide information about range, charge status, speed and temperature. Access and starting can optionally be done without a key using a programmable ID code (combination lock).

Interior of GM EV1 – (photo by Claus arrester | CC BY-SA 3.0)

With a vehicle of the first generation, an owner completed a long-distance test of approx. 6000 kilometers (Charge across America).


G.M. Will Sell Only Zero-Emission Vehicles by 2035

The move, one of the most ambitious in the auto industry, is a piece of a broader plan by the company to become carbon neutral by 2040.

The days of the internal combustion engine are numbered.

General Motors said Thursday that it would phase out petroleum-powered cars and trucks and sell only vehicles that have zero tailpipe emissions by 2035, a seismic shift by one of the world’s largest automakers that makes billions of dollars today from gas-guzzling pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.

The announcement is likely to put pressure on automakers around the world to make similar commitments. It could also embolden President Biden and other elected officials to push for even more aggressive policies to fight climate change. Leaders could point to G.M.’s decision as evidence that even big businesses have decided that it is time for the world to begin to transition away from fossil fuels that have powered the global economy for more than a century.

G.M.’s move is sure to roil the auto industry, which, between car and parts makers, employed about one million people in the United States in 2019, more than any other manufacturing sector by far. It will also have huge ramifications for the oil and gas sector, whose fortunes are closely tied to the internal combustion engine.

A rapid shift by the auto industry could lead to job losses and business failures in related areas. Electric cars don’t have transmissions or need oil changes, meaning conventional service stations will have to retool what they do. Electric vehicles also require fewer workers to make, putting traditional manufacturing jobs at risk. At the same time, the move to electric cars will spark a boom in areas like battery manufacturing, mining and charging stations.

Electric cars today are the fastest-growing segment of the auto industry, but they still make up a small proportion of new car sales: about 3 percent of the global total, according to the International Energy Agency. Sales of such cars jumped last year in Europe and China, but they remain niche products in the United States. They are bought primarily by affluent early adopters who are drawn to the luxury models made by Tesla, which dominates the business, and by environmentally conscious consumers.

A spokesman for Ford Motor declined to directly comment on G.M.’s move but said his company was “committed to leading the electric vehicle revolution in the areas where we are strong.” Several other automakers, most of them European, have previously pledged more modest steps in the direction that G.M. says it is headed. Daimler, which makes Mercedes-Benz cars, has said it would have an electric or hybrid version of each of its models by 2022, and Volkswagen has promised an electric version for each of its models by 2030.

G.M. said its decision to switch to electric cars was part of a broader plan to become carbon neutral by 2040. “General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world,” Mary T. Barra, G.M.’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. “We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole.”

G.M.’s announcement comes just one week after Mr. Biden signed an executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department to quickly reinstate tough auto fuel-economy rules put in place during the Obama administration, and one day after he signed a follow-up order directing the federal government to purchase all-electric vehicles. He is also pushing for a new economic recovery package to include funding to build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, and to create a system of rebates and incentives for purchasing electric vehicles.

On Thursday, a White House spokesman, Vedant Patel, welcomed G.M.’s new commitment. “We applaud efforts by the private sector to further embrace renewable and clean energy technologies,” he said. “As the president and many others have said, efforts like this will help grow our economy and create good-paying union jobs.”

G.M.’s move appears to follow a pattern by Ms. Barra of responding quickly to changes in the White House. It was Ms. Barra who, in the early days of the Trump administration, met with the new president in the Oval Office and asked him to roll back the tough Obama tailpipe pollution rules.

Four years later, her company’s evident about-face has won her the good will of those working to put those rules back in place.

“This move by G.M. is a big deal,” said Margo Oge, a former Obama administration official who played a lead role in developing the tough fuel economy standards and now informally advises the Biden administration and auto companies. “This helps the Biden-Harris administration to focus on long-term decarbonization of vehicles rather than just cleaning up the Trump mess.”

The chief executive of Audi, the luxury car company owned by Volkswagen, said customers would ultimately determine the speed of the transition to electric cars. “Ten years ago, nobody would have been able to foresee the enormous speed of change,” Markus Duesmann, the chief executive, who is also head of technology for Volkswagen, said in a statement.

Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, a veteran industry analyst, said that even if European carmakers had not put a date on internal combustion’s demise, there was a consensus that electric cars would dominate within 10 or 15 years. “Mary Barra is a good C.E.O.,” Mr. Dudenhöffer said. “She has the right strategy.”

Mr. Biden made clear on his first day in office that he intends to make tackling climate change one of the driving forces of his agenda. Chief among them are the federal standards on auto tailpipe pollution, which is the nation’s single largest source of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

The Obama-era standards had required automakers to achieve an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which would have eliminated about six billion tons of planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution over the lifetime of the vehicles, and required a large-scale transition to hybrid and electric vehicles. The Trump administration rolled back the standard to about 40 miles per gallon, essentially eliminating the need for companies to invest in such technology.

The Biden administration is expected to announce by April that it will introduce rules requiring cars to reach an average of about 51 miles per gallon by 2026. The proposal is also expected to include additional provisions aimed at boosting the production and sales of electric vehicles.

The American Petroleum Institute, which represents oil and gas companies, said automakers would do what they felt was right for their businesses. But the group’s senior vice president, Frank Macchiarola, said policymakers ought to protect the right of consumers “to choose what kind of car they want to drive.”

The vision of an all-electric future represents a dramatic shift in thinking at G.M. Just over 20 years ago, it developed an experimental electric car called the EV1 and leased it to a select group of customers. The car was praised by environmentalists. But seeing little profit potential in the EVI and American tastes shifting toward S.U.V.s, the automaker ended the effort. It even went so far as to take cars back from customers and destroy them, an episode chronicled in the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?”

G.M.’s reputation was further damaged in environmental circles in the 2000s as it produced larger and larger S.U.V.s. None engendered more scorn than the hulking Hummer H2, introduced in 2002. It weighed more than 6,600 pounds — twice the weight of a Honda Accord — and had a fuel economy of just 10 miles per gallon.

But by 2008, gas prices were rising and G.M.’s focus on trucks and S.U.V.s left it especially vulnerable just as the financial crisis hit. Its lack of fuel-efficient cars was a contributing factor in the troubles that led the company into a government-backed bankruptcy.

That history continues to dog G.M., and some experts said they were not convinced that the company would make the transition to electric cars as quickly as it had promised, in part because Ms. Barra or her successors could simply change their minds.

“To borrow a phrase from Thomas Edison, what consumers and the climate need are commitments that are 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” said David Friedman, a vice president of Consumer Reports. “Strong aspirations are important and inspirational, but firm production plans and strong policies are what move the market and the climate.”

But some in the environmental movement said they trust G.M. The company is working with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a “shared vision” of leaving internal combustion vehicles behind. “E.D.F. and G.M. have had some important differences in the past, but this is a new day in America,” the group’s president, Fred Krupp, said in a statement.

G.M. said it would increase the use of renewable energy, and would eliminate or offset emissions from its factories, buildings, vehicles and other sources.

The company plans to spend $27 billion over the next five years to introduce 30 electric vehicles, including an electric Hummer pickup truck that it expects to start delivering to customers this year. Currently its main fully electric offering in the United States is the Chevy Bolt, a small car. The company sells several electric models in China.


GM Accelerates Electrification Timeline, Plans 30 EVs by 2025

General Motors is moving toward an all-electric lineup and is aiming for the highest EV market share in North America.

  • General Motors has upped its commitment to electrification, announcing today that it is investing another $7 billion to electric and autonomous tech.
  • GM also announced that it will have 30 electric vehicles on the market by 2025 two-thirds of those will be available in North America.
  • GM said that the flexibility of its Ultium platform allows it to adapt the propulsion system to the needs of various vehicles quickly.

General Motors is leaving no room for doubt as to whether or not it&rsquos dedicated to electrification: the Detroit-based automaker announced today at a conference hosted by British bank Barclays that it is increasing its investment in electric and autonomous technology by $7 billion and will have 30 EVs on the market by 2025. That brings GM&rsquos total EV and autonomous tech investment through 2025 to $27 billion as the automaker moves toward a full-electric lineup.

This increase in planned electric vehicles&mdashup from the 20 slated to hit the market by 2023&mdashGM said, is made possible by the flexible Ultium platform which can be adapted to a variety of different vehicles. That platform can also now give vehicles a range of up to 450 miles, up from the 400 miles which GM claimed at an &ldquoEV Day&rdquo back in March.

Alongside the scaling of EV production, GM expects that the cost of its Ultium batteries will drop by 60 percent by the middle of this decade, bringing the batteries &ldquocloser to cost parity with gas-powered engines.&rdquo GM also said that its second-generation Ultium batteries will be ready by that time, which will have twice the energy density of the current batteries.

&ldquoClimate change is real, and we want to be part of the solution by putting everyone in an electric vehicle,&rdquo General Motors CEO Mary Barra said in a press release. &ldquoWe are transitioning to an all-electric portfolio from a position of strength and we&rsquore focused on growth.&rdquo

Of those 30 electric vehicles expected to reach the market by 2025, 20 will reach the North American market. Earlier this year, GM&rsquos 2019 Sustainability Report gave a glimpse at many of these models, but today's presentation gave another look at the expanding EV lineup. Cadillac will launch multiple electric crossovers and "low roof entries" in addition to the already announced Lyriq, Celestiq, and full-size SUV. At GMC, beyond the 2022 Hummer pickup EV and SUV EV, there is also a full-size pickup in the works. At Chevrolet, which already offers the Bolt and has a Bolt EUV coming, a pickup and a crossover model are planned along with &ldquolow roof entries.&rdquo And at Buick, more than one electric crossover is expected.

The flexible Ultium platform is what brought the development timeline of the Hummer down to 26 months, as opposed to the standard 50 months, GM said. That reduction in development time will affect other vehicles' launches as well in the case of the Cadillac Lyriq, it will arrive by the first quarter of t 2022 instead of arriving late that year.


Contents

Electric model cars Edit

The invention of the first model electric vehicle is attributed to various people. [7] In 1828, the Hungarian priest and physicist Ányos Jedlik invented an early type of electric motor, and created a small model car powered by his new motor. Between 1832 and 1839, Scottish inventor Robert Anderson also invented a crude electric carriage. [8] In 1835, Professor Sibrandus Stratingh of Groningen, the Netherlands and his assistant Christopher Becker from Germany also created a small-scale electric car, powered by non-rechargeable primary cells. [9]

Electric locomotives Edit

In 1834, Vermont blacksmith Thomas Davenport built a similar contraption which operated on a short, circular, electrified track. [10] The first known electric locomotive was built in 1837, in Scotland by chemist Robert Davidson of Aberdeen. It was powered by galvanic cells (batteries). Davidson later built a larger locomotive named Galvani, exhibited at the Royal Scottish Society of Arts Exhibition in 1841. The 7,100-kilogram (7-long-ton) vehicle had two direct-drive reluctance motors, with fixed electromagnets acting on iron bars attached to a wooden cylinder on each axle, and simple commutators. It hauled a load of 6,100 kilograms (6 long tons) at 6.4 kilometres per hour (4 mph) for a distance of 2.4 km (1.5 miles). It was tested on the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway in September of the following year, but the limited power from batteries prevented its general use. It was destroyed by railway workers, who saw it as a threat to their security of employment. [11] [12] [13] [14]

A patent for the use of rails as conductors of electric current was granted in England in 1840, and similar patents were issued to Lilley and Colten in the United States in 1847. [15] The first battery rail car was used in 1887 on the Royal Bavarian State Railways. [16]

Rechargeable batteries that provided a viable means for storing electricity on board a vehicle did not come into being until 1859, with the invention of the lead–acid battery by French physicist Gaston Planté. [17] [18] Camille Alphonse Faure, another French scientist, significantly improved the design of the battery in 1881 his improvements greatly increased the capacity of such batteries and led directly to their manufacture on an industrial scale. [19]

What is likely the first human-carrying electric vehicle with its own power source was tested along a Paris street in April 1881 by French inventor Gustave Trouvé. [20] In 1880 Trouvé improved the efficiency of a small electric motor developed by Siemens (from a design purchased from Johann Kravogl [de] in 1867) and using the recently developed rechargeable battery, fitted it to an English James Starley tricycle, so inventing the world's first electric vehicle. [21] Although this was successfully tested on 19 April 1881 along the Rue Valois in central Paris, he was unable to patent it. [22] Trouvé swiftly adapted his battery-powered motor to marine propulsion to make it easy to carry his marine conversion to and from his workshop to the nearby River Seine, Trouvé made it portable and removable from the boat, thus inventing the outboard motor. On 26 May 1881, the 5-metre Trouvé boat prototype, called Le Téléphone reached a speed of 3.6 km/h (2.2 mph) going upstream and 9.0 km/h (5.6 mph) downstream. [23]

English inventor Thomas Parker, who was responsible for innovations such as electrifying the London Underground, overhead tramways in Liverpool and Birmingham, and the smokeless fuel coalite, built the first production electric car in Wolverhampton in 1884, although the only documentation is a photograph from 1895. [24]

Parker's long-held interest in the construction of more fuel-efficient vehicles led him to experiment with electric vehicles. He also may have been concerned about the malign effects smoke and pollution were having in London. [25] Production of the car was in the hands of the Elwell-Parker Company, established in 1882 for the construction and sale of electric trams. The company merged with other rivals in 1888 to form the Electric Construction Corporation this company had a virtual monopoly on the British electric car market in the 1890s. The company manufactured the first electric 'dog cart' in 1896. [26]

France and the United Kingdom were the first nations to support the widespread development of electric vehicles. [8] German engineer Andreas Flocken built the first real electric car in 1888. [27] [28] [29] [30]

Electric trains were also used to transport coal out of mines, as their motors did not use up precious oxygen. Before the pre-eminence of internal combustion engines, electric automobiles also held many speed and distance records. [31] Among the most notable of these records was the breaking of the 100 km/h (62 mph) speed barrier, by Camille Jenatzy on 29 April 1899 in his 'rocket-shaped' vehicle Jamais Contente, which reached a top speed of 105.88 km/h (65.79 mph). Also notable was Ferdinand Porsche's design and construction of an all-wheel drive electric car, powered by a motor in each hub, which also set several records in the hands of its owner E.W. Hart.

The first electric car in the United States was developed in 1890–91 by William Morrison of Des Moines, Iowa the vehicle was a six-passenger wagon capable of reaching a speed of 23 kilometres per hour (14 mph). It was not until 1895 that consumers began to devote attention to electric vehicles after A.L. Ryker introduced the first electric tricycles to the U.S. [32]

Interest in motor vehicles increased greatly in the late 1890s and early 1900s. Electric battery-powered taxis became available at the end of the 19th century. In London, Walter Bersey designed a fleet of such cabs and introduced them to the streets of London in 1897. [33] They were soon nicknamed "Hummingbirds" due to the idiosyncratic humming noise they made. [34] In the same year in New York City, the Samuel's Electric Carriage and Wagon Company began running 12 electric hansom cabs. [35] The company ran until 1898 with up to 62 cabs operating until it was reformed by its financiers to form the Electric Vehicle Company. [36]

Electric vehicles had a number of advantages over their early-1900s competitors. They did not have the vibration, smell, and noise associated with gasoline cars. They also did not require gear changes. (While steam-powered cars also had no gear shifting, they suffered from long start-up times of up to 45 minutes on cold mornings.) The cars were also preferred because they did not require a manual effort to start, as did gasoline cars which featured a hand crank to start the engine.

Electric cars found popularity among well-heeled customers who used them as city cars, where their limited range proved to be even less of a disadvantage. Electric cars were often marketed as suitable vehicles for women drivers due to their ease of operation in fact, early electric cars were stigmatized by the perception that they were "women's cars", leading some companies to affix radiators to the front to disguise the car's propulsion system. [ citation needed ]

Acceptance of electric cars was initially hampered by a lack of power infrastructure, but by 1912, many homes were wired for electricity, enabling a surge in the popularity of the cars. In the United States by the turn of the century, 40 percent of automobiles were powered by steam, 38 percent by electricity, and 22 percent by gasoline. A total of 33,842 electric cars were registered in the United States, and the U.S. became the country where electric cars had gained the most acceptance. [37] Most early electric vehicles were massive, ornate carriages designed for the upper-class customers that made them popular. They featured luxurious interiors and were replete with expensive materials. Sales of electric cars peaked in the early 1910s.

Power as a service and General Vehicle Edit

To overcome the limited operating range of electric vehicles, and the lack of recharging infrastructure, an exchangeable battery service was first proposed as early as 1896. [38] The concept was first put into practice by Hartford Electric Light Company through the GeVeCo battery service and initially available for electric trucks. The vehicle owner purchased the vehicle from General Vehicle Company (GVC, a subsidiary of the General Electric Company) without a battery and the electricity was purchased from Hartford Electric through an exchangeable battery. The owner paid a variable per-mile charge and a monthly service fee to cover the maintenance and storage of the truck. Both vehicles and batteries were modified to facilitate a fast battery exchange. The service was provided between 1910 and 1924 and during that period covered more than 6 million miles. Beginning in 1917 a similar successful service was operated in Chicago for owners of Milburn Wagon Company cars who also could buy the vehicle without the batteries. [38]

In New York City, in the pre-World War I era, ten electric vehicle companies banded together to form the New York Electric Vehicle Association. [39] The association included manufacturers and dealers, among them General Motors' truck division, and the aforementioned General Vehicle division of General Electric, which claimed to have almost 2,000 operating vehicles in the metropolitan region. [40] When opening their flagship department store, Lord and Taylor boasted of its electric vehicle fleet – numbering 38 trucks – and the conveyor system to efficiently load and unload goods. [40] [41]

After enjoying success at the beginning of the 20th century, the electric car began to lose its position in the automobile market. A number of developments contributed to this situation. By the 1920s an improved road infrastructure improved travel times, creating a need for vehicles with a greater range than that offered by electric cars. Worldwide discoveries of large petroleum reserves led to the wide availability of affordable gasoline, making gas-powered cars cheaper to operate over long distances. Electric cars were limited to urban use by their slow speed (no more than 24–32 km/h or 15–20 mph [37] ) and low range (50–65 km or 30–40 miles [37] ), and gasoline cars were now able to travel farther and faster than equivalent electrics.

Gasoline cars also overcame much of their negatives compared to electrics, in several areas. Whereas ICE cars originally had to be hand-cranked to start – a difficult and sometimes dangerous activity – the invention of the electric starter by Charles Kettering in 1912 [42] eliminated the need of a hand starting crank. Further, while gasoline engines are inherently noisier than electric motors, the invention of the muffler by Milton O. Reeves and Marshall T. Reeves in 1897 significantly reduced the noise to tolerable levels. Finally, the initiation of mass production of gas-powered vehicles by Henry Ford brought their price down. [43] By contrast, the price of similar electric vehicles continued to rise by 1912, an electric car sold for almost double the price of a gasoline car. [8]

Most electric car makers stopped production at some point in the 1910s. Electric vehicles became popular for certain applications where their limited range did not pose major problems. Forklift trucks were electrically powered when they were introduced by Yale in 1923. [44] In Europe, especially the United Kingdom, milk floats were powered by electricity, and for most of the 20th century the majority of the world's battery electric road vehicles were British milk floats. [45] Electric golf carts were produced by Lektro as early as 1954. [46] By the 1920s, the early heyday of electric cars had passed, and a decade later, the electric automobile industry had effectively disappeared. Michael Brian examines the social and technological reasons for the failure of electric cars in his book Taking Charge: The Electric Automobile in America. [47]

Years passed without a major revival in the use of electric cars. Fuel-starved European countries fighting in World War II experimented with electric cars such as the British milk floats and the French Bréguet Aviation car, but overall, while ICE development progressed at a brisk pace, electric vehicle technology stagnated. In the late 1950s, Henney Coachworks and the National Union Electric Company, makers of Exide batteries, formed a joint venture to produce a new electric car, the Henney Kilowatt, based on the French Renault Dauphine. The car was produced in 36-volt and 72-volt configurations the 72-volt models had a top speed approaching 96 km/h (60 mph) and could travel for nearly an hour on a single charge. Despite the Kilowatt's improved performance with respect to previous electric cars, consumers found it [ citation needed ] too expensive compared to equivalent gasoline cars of the time, and production ended in 1961.

In 1959, American Motors Corporation (AMC) and Sonotone Corporation announced a joint research effort to consider producing an electric car powered by a "self-charging" battery. [48] AMC had a reputation for innovation in economical cars while Sonotone had technology for making sintered plate nickel-cadmium batteries that could be recharged rapidly and weighed less than traditional lead-acid versions. [49] That same year, Nu-Way Industries showed an experimental electric car with a one-piece plastic body that was to begin production in early 1960. [48]

In the mid 1960s a few battery-electric concept cars appeared, such as the Scottish Aviation Scamp (1965), [50] and an electric version of General Motors gasoline car, the Electrovair (1966). [51] None of them entered production. The 1973 Enfield 8000 did make it into small-scale production, 112 were eventually produced. [52] In 1967, AMC partnered with Gulton Industries to develop a new battery based on lithium and a speed controller designed by Victor Wouk. [53] A nickel-cadmium battery supplied power to an all-electric 1969 Rambler American station wagon. [53] Other "plug-in" experimental AMC vehicles developed with Gulton included the Amitron (1967) and the similar Electron (1977).

On 31 July 1971, an electric car received the unique distinction of becoming the first manned vehicle to drive on the Moon that car was the Lunar Roving Vehicle, which was first deployed during the Apollo 15 mission. The "Moon buggy" was developed by Boeing and GM subsidiary Delco Electronics (co-founded by Kettering) [42] featured a DC drive motor in each wheel, and a pair of 36-volt silver-zinc potassium hydroxide non-rechargeable batteries.

After years outside the limelight, the energy crises of the 1970s and 1980s brought about renewed interest in the perceived independence electric cars had from the fluctuations of the hydrocarbon energy market. However, vehicles such as the intensely-marketed Sinclair C5 failed, possibly because "global warming hadn't been invented then". [54] General Motors created a concept car of another of their gasoline cars, the Electrovette (1976). At the 1990 Los Angeles Auto Show, General Motors President Roger Smith unveiled the GM Impact electric concept car, along with the announcement that GM would build electric cars for sale to the public.

From the 1960s to the 1990s, a number of companies made battery electric vehicles converted from existing manufactured models, often using gliders. None were sold in large numbers, with sales hampered by high cost and a limited range. Most of these vehicles were sold to government agencies and electric utility companies. The passage of the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development and Demonstration Act of 1976 in the US provided government incentives for development of electric vehicles in the US. [55] Electric Fuel Propulsion Corporation (now Apollo Energy Systems) produced the Electrosport (a converted AMC Hornet), the Mars I (a converted Renault Dauphine), and the Mars II (a converted Renault R-10). Jet Industries sold the Electra-Van 600 (a converted Subaru Sambar 600), the Electra-Van 750 (converted Mazda B2000/Ford Courier pickup trucks), the Electrica (converted Ford Escort/Mercury Lynx cars) and the Electrica 007 (converted Dodge Omni 024/Plymouth Horizon TC3 cars). U.S. Electricar Corp., based in Massachusetts, sold the Lectric Leopard, a converted Renault 5. [56] Electric Vehicle Associates sold the Current Fare (a converted Ford Fairmont) and the Change of Pace (a converted AMC Pacer). [57] U.S. Electricar, Inc., based in California, sold a converted Geo Prizm. [58] Solectria Corporation (now Azure Dynamics) sold the Solectria Force (a converted Geo Metro) and the E10 (a converted Chevrolet S-10). Later, General Motors would also produce an electric S-10, the Chevrolet S-10 EV, based on the General Motors EV1. [59]

In the early 1990s, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the government of California's "clean air agency", began a push for more fuel-efficient, lower-emissions vehicles, with the ultimate goal being a move to zero-emissions vehicles such as electric vehicles. [60] [61] In response, automakers developed electric models, including the Chrysler TEVan, Ford Ranger EV pickup truck, GM EV1 and S10 EV pickup, Honda EV Plus hatchback, Nissan lithium-battery Altra EV miniwagon and Toyota RAV4 EV. The automakers were accused of pandering to the wishes of CARB in order to continue to be allowed to sell cars in the lucrative Californian market, while failing to adequately promote their electric vehicles in order to create the impression that the consumers were not interested in the cars, all the while joining oil industry lobbyists in vigorously protesting CARB's mandate. [61] GM's program came under particular scrutiny in an unusual move, consumers were not allowed to purchase EV1s, but were instead asked to sign closed-end leases, meaning that the cars had to be returned to GM at the end of the lease period, with no option to purchase, despite leasee interest in continuing to own the cars. [61] Chrysler, Toyota, and a group of GM dealers sued CARB in Federal court, leading to the eventual neutering of CARB's ZEV Mandate. [ citation needed ]

After public protests by EV drivers' groups upset by the repossession of their cars, Toyota offered the last 328 RAV4-EVs for sale to the general public during six months, up until 22 November 2002. Almost all other production electric cars were withdrawn from the market and were in some cases seen to have been destroyed by their manufacturers. [61] Toyota continues to support the several hundred Toyota RAV4-EV in the hands of the general public and in fleet usage. GM famously de-activated the few EV1s that were donated to engineering schools and museums. [62]

Throughout the 1990s, interest in fuel-efficient or environmentally friendly cars declined among consumers in the United States, who instead favored sport utility vehicles, which were affordable to operate despite their poor fuel efficiency thanks to lower gasoline prices. Domestic U.S. automakers chose to focus their product lines around the truck-based vehicles, which enjoyed larger profit margins than the smaller cars which were preferred in places like Europe or Japan.

Most electric vehicles on the world roads were low-speed, low-range neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). Pike Research estimated there were almost 479,000 NEVs on the world roads in 2011. [63] As of July 2006 [update] , there were between 60,000 and 76,000 low-speed battery-powered vehicles in use in the United States, up from about 56,000 in 2004. [64] North America's top selling NEV is the Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) vehicles, with more than 50,000 units sold worldwide by mid 2014. [65] The world's two largest NEV markets in 2011 were the United States, with 14,737 units sold, and France, with 2,231 units. [66] Other micro electric cars sold in Europe was the Kewet, since 1991, and replaced by the Buddy, launched in 2008. [67] Also the Th!nk City was launched in 2008 but production was halted due to financial difficulties. [68] Production restarted in Finland in December 2009. [69] The Th!nk was sold in several European countries and the U.S. [70] [71] In June 2011 Think Global filed for bankruptcy and production was halted. [72] Worldwide sales reached 1,045 units by March 2011. [73] A total of 200,000 low-speed small electric cars were sold in China in 2013, most of which are powered by lead-acid batteries. These electric vehicles are not considered by the government as new energy vehicles due to safety and environmental concerns, and consequently, do not enjoy the same benefits as highway legal plug-in electric cars. [74]

The emergence of metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) technology led to the development of modern electric road vehicles. [75] The MOSFET (MOS field-effect transistor, or MOS transistor), invented by Mohamed M. Atalla and Dawon Kahng at Bell Labs in 1959, [76] [77] led to the development of the power MOSFET by Hitachi in 1969, [78] and the single-chip microprocessor by Federico Faggin, Marcian Hoff, Masatoshi Shima and Stanley Mazor at Intel in 1971. [79] The power MOSFET and the microcontroller, a type of single-chip microprocessor, led to significant advances in electric vehicle technology. MOSFET power converters allowed operation at much higher switching frequencies, made it easier to drive, reduced power losses, and significantly reduced prices, while single-chip microcontrollers could manage all aspects of the drive control and had the capacity for battery management. [75]

Another important technology that enabled modern highway-capable electric cars is the lithium-ion battery. [80] It was invented by John Goodenough, Rachid Yazami and Akira Yoshino in the 1980s, [81] and commercialized by Sony and Asahi Kasei in 1991. [82] The lithium-ion battery was responsible for the development of electric vehicles capable of long-distance travel. [80]

California electric car maker Tesla Motors began development in 2004 on the Tesla Roadster, which was first delivered to customers in 2008. [83] The Roadster was the first highway legal serial production all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells, and the first production all-electric car to travel more than 320 km (200 miles) per charge. [84] Since 2008, Tesla sold approximately 2,450 Roadsters in over 30 countries through December 2012. [85] Tesla sold the Roadster until early 2012, when its supply of Lotus Elise gliders ran out, as its contract with Lotus Cars for 2,500 gliders expired at the end of 2011. [86] [87] Tesla stopped taking orders for the Roadster in the U.S. market in August 2011, [88] [89] and the 2012 Tesla Roadster was sold in limited numbers only in Europe, Asia and Australia. [90] [91]

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV was launched in Japan for fleet customers in July 2009, and for individual customers in April 2010, [92] [93] [94] followed by sales to the public in Hong Kong in May 2010, and Australia in July 2010 via leasing. [95] [96] The i-MiEV was launched in Europe in December 2010, including a rebadged version sold in Europe as Peugeot iOn and Citroën C-Zero. [97] [98] The market launch in the Americas began in Costa Rica in February 2011, followed by Chile in May 2011. [99] [100] Fleet and retail customer deliveries in the U.S. and Canada began in December 2011. [101] [102] [103] Accounting for all vehicles of the iMiEV brand, Mitsubishi reports around 27,200 units sold or exported since 2009 through December 2012, including the minicab MiEVs sold in Japan, and the units rebadged and sold as Peugeot iOn and Citroën C-Zero in the European market. [104]

Senior leaders at several large automakers, including Nissan and General Motors, have stated that the Roadster was a catalyst which demonstrated that there is pent-up consumer demand for more efficient vehicles. In an August 2009 edition of The New Yorker, GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz was quoted as saying, "All the geniuses here at General Motors kept saying lithium-ion technology is 10 years away, and Toyota agreed with us – and boom, along comes Tesla. So I said, 'How come some tiny little California startup, run by guys who know nothing about the car business, can do this, and we can't?' That was the crowbar that helped break up the log jam." [105]

The Nissan Leaf, introduced in Japan and the United States in December 2010, became the first modern all-electric, zero tailpipe emission five door family hatchback to be produced for the mass market from a major manufacturer. [107] [108] As of January 2013 [update] , the Leaf is also available in Australia, Canada and 17 European countries. [109]

The Better Place network was the first modern commercial deployment of the battery swapping model. The Renault Fluence Z.E. was the first mass production electric car enable with switchable battery technology and sold for the Better Place network in Israel and Denmark. [110] Better Place launched its first battery-swapping station in Israel, in Kiryat Ekron, near Rehovot in March 2011. The battery exchange process took five minutes. [111] As of December 2012 [update] , there were 17 battery switch stations fully operational in Denmark enabling customers to drive anywhere across the country in an electric car. [112] By late 2012 the company began to suffer financial difficulties, and decided to put on hold the roll out in Australia and reduce its non-core activities in North America, as the company decided to concentrate its resources on its two existing markets. [113] [114] [115] On 26 May 2013, Better Place filed for bankruptcy in Israel. [116] The company's financial difficulties were caused by the high investment required to develop the charging and swapping infrastructure, about US$850 million in private capital, and a market penetration significantly lower than originally predicted by Shai Agassi. Less than 1,000 Fluence Z.E. cars were deployed in Israel and around 400 units in Denmark. [117] [118]

The Smart electric drive, Wheego Whip LiFe, Mia electric, Volvo C30 Electric, and the Ford Focus Electric were launched for retail customers during 2011. The BYD e6, released initially for fleet customers in 2010, began retail sales in Shenzhen, China in October 2011. [119] The Bolloré Bluecar was released in December 2011 and deployed for use in the Autolib' carsharing service in Paris. [120] Leasing to individual and corporate customers began in October 2012 and is limited to the Île-de-France area. [121] In February 2011, the Mitsubishi i MiEV became the first electric car to sell more than 10,000 units, including the models badged in Europe as Citroën C-Zero and Peugeot. The record was officially registered by Guinness World Records. Several months later, the Nissan Leaf overtook the i MiEV as the best selling all-electric car ever, [122] and by February 2013 global sales of the Leaf reached the 50,000 unit mark. [109]

The next Tesla vehicle, the Model S, was released in the U.S. on 22 June 2012 [123] and the first delivery of a Model S to a retail customer in Europe took place on 7 August 2013. [124] Deliveries in China began on 22 April 2014. [125] The next model was the Tesla Model X. [126] Other models released to the market in 2012 and 2013 include the BMW ActiveE, Coda, Renault Fluence Z.E., Honda Fit EV, Toyota RAV4 EV, Renault Zoe, Roewe E50, Mahindra e2o, Chevrolet Spark EV, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive, Fiat 500e, Volkswagen e-Up!, BMW i3, and Kandi EV. Toyota released the Scion iQ EV in the U.S. (Toyota eQ in Japan) in 2013. The car production is limited to 100 units. The first 30 units were delivered to the University of California, Irvine in March 2013 for use in its Zero Emission Vehicle-Network Enabled Transport (ZEV-NET) carsharing fleet. Toyota announced that 90 out of the 100 vehicles produced globally will be placed in carsharing demonstration projects in the United States and the rest in Japan. [127]

The Coda sedan went out of production in 2013, after selling only about 100 units in California. Its manufacturer, Coda Automotive, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on 1 May 2013. The company stated that it expects to emerge from the bankruptcy process to focus on energy storage solutions as it has decided to abandon car manufacturing. [128]

The Tesla Model S ranked as the top selling plug-in electric car in North America during the first quarter of 2013 with 4,900 cars sold, ahead of the Nissan Leaf (3,695). [129] European retail deliveries of the Tesla Model S began in Oslo in August 2013, [130] and during its first full month in the market, the Model S ranked as the top selling car in Norway with 616 units delivered, representing a market share of 5.1% of all the new cars sold in the country in September 2013, becoming the first electric car to top the new car sales ranking in any country, and contributing to a record all-electric car market share of 8.6% of new car sales during that month. [131] [132] In October 2013, an electric car was the best selling car in the country for a second month in a row. This time was the Nissan Leaf with 716 units sold, representing a 5.6% of new car sales that month. [133] [134]

The Renault–Nissan Alliance reached global sales of 100,000 all-electric vehicles in July 2013. [137] The 100,000th customer was a U.S. student who bought a Nissan Leaf. [138] In mid January 2014, global sales of the Nissan Leaf reached the 100,000 unit milestone, representing a 45% market share of worldwide pure electric vehicles sold since 2010. [139]

As of June 2014 [update] , there were over 500,000 plug-in electric passenger cars and utility vans in the world, with the U.S. leading plug-in electric car sales with a 45% share of global sales. [140] [141] In September 2014, sales of plug-in electric cars in the United States reached the 250,000 unit milestone. [142] Global cumulative sales of the Tesla Model S passed the 50,000 unit milestone in October 2014. [143] In November 2014 the Renault–Nissan Alliance reached 200,000 all-electric vehicles delivered globally, representing a 58% share of the global light-duty all-electric market segment. [144]

The world's top selling all-electric cars in 2014 were the Nissan Leaf (61,507), Tesla Model S (31,655), BMW i3 (16,052), and the Renault Zoe (11,323). Accounting for plug-in hybrids, the Leaf and the Model S also ranked first and second correspondingly among the world's top 10 selling plug-in electric cars. [136] All-electric models released to the retail customers in 2014 include the BMW Brilliance Zinoro 1E, Chery eQ, Geely-Kandi Panda EV, Zotye Zhidou E20, Kia Soul EV, Volkswagen e-Golf, Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive, and Venucia e30.

General Motors unveiled the Chevrolet Bolt EV concept car at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. [146] The Bolt is scheduled for availability in late 2016 as a model year 2017. [147] GM anticipates the Bolt will deliver an all-electric range more than 320 km (200 miles), with pricing starting at US$37,500 before any applicable government incentives. [148] The European version, marketed as the Opel Ampera-e, will go into production in 2017. [149]

In May 2015, global sales of highway legal all-electric passenger cars and light utility vehicles passed the 500,000 unit milestone, accounting for sales since 2008. Out these, Nissan accounts for about 35%, Tesla Motors about 15%, and Mitsubishi about 10%. [150] Also in May 2015, the Renault Zoe and the BMW i3 passed the 25,000 unit global sales milestone. [151] In June 2015, worldwide sales of the Model S passed the 75,000 unit milestone in June 2015. [143]

By early June 2015, the Renault–Nissan Alliance continued as the leading all-electric vehicle manufacturer with global sales of over 250,000 pure electric vehicles representing about half of the global light-duty all-electric market segment. Nissan sales totaled 185,000 units, which includes the Nissan Leaf and the e-NV200 van. Renault has sold 65,000 electric vehicles, and its line-up includes the ZOE passenger car, the Kangoo Z.E. van, the SM3 Z.E. (previously Fluence Z.E.) sedan and the Twizy heavy quadricycle. [152]

By mid-September 2015, the global stock of highway legal plug-in electric passenger cars and utility vans passed the one million sales milestone, with the pure electrics capturing about 62% of global sales. [153] The United States is the plug-in segment market leader with a stock of over 363,000 plug-in electric cars delivered since 2008 through August 2015, representing 36.3% of global sales. [153] The state of California is the largest plug-in car regional market, with more than 158,000 units sold between December 2010 and June 2015, representing 46.5% of all plug-in cars sold in the U.S. [154] [155] [156] [157] Until December 2014, California not only had more plug-in electric vehicles than any other state in the nation, but also more than any other country. [158] [159]

As of August 2015 [update] , China ranked as the world's second top selling country plug-in market, with over 157,000 units sold since 2011 (15.7%), followed by Japan with more than 120,000 plug-in units sold since 2009 (12.1%). [153] As of June 2015 [update] , over 310,000 light-duty plug-in electric vehicles have been registered in the European market since 2010. [160] [161] European sales are led by Norway, followed by the Netherlands, and France. [153] In the heavy-duty segment, China is the world's leader, with over 65,000 buses and other commercial vehicles sold through August 2015. [153]

As of December 2015 [update] , global sales of electric cars were led by the Nissan Leaf with over 200,000 units sold making the Leaf the world's top selling highway-capable electric car in history. The Tesla Model S, with global deliveries of more than 100,000 units, listed as the world's second best selling all-electric car of all-time. [162] The Model S ranked as the world's best selling plug-in electric vehicle in 2015, up from second best in 2014. [163] [164] The Model S was also the top selling plug-in car in the U.S. in 2015. [165] Most models released in the world's markets to retail customers during 2015 were plug-in hybrids. The only new series production all-electric cars launched up to October 2015 were the BYD e5 and the Tesla Model X, together with several variants of the Tesla Model S line-up. [166]

The Tesla Model 3 was unveiled on 31 March 2016. With pricing starting at US$35,000 and an all-electric range of 345 km (215 miles), the Model 3 is Tesla Motors first vehicle aimed for the mass market. Before the unveiling event, over 115,000 people had reserved the Model 3. [168] As of 7 April 2016 [update] , one week after the event, Tesla Motors reported over 325,000 reservations, more than triple the 107,000 Model S cars Tesla had sold by the end of 2015. These reservations represent potential sales of over US$14 billion . [169] [170] As of 31 March 2016 [update] , Tesla Motors has sold almost 125,000 electric cars worldwide since delivery of its first Tesla Roadster in 2008. [171] Tesla reported the number of net reservations totaled about 373,000 as of 15 May 2016 [update] , after about 8,000 customer cancellations and about 4,200 reservations canceled by the automaker because these appeared to be duplicates from speculators. [172] [173]

The Hyundai Ioniq Electric was released in South Korea in July 2016, and sold over 1,000 units during its first two months in the market. [174] The Renault-Nissan Alliance achieved the milestone of 350,000 electric vehicles sold globally in August 2016, and also set an industry record of 100,000 electric vehicles sold in a single year. [175] Nissan global electric vehicle sales passed the 250,000 unit milestone also in August 2016. [175] Renault global electric vehicle sales passed the 100,000 unit milestone in early September 2016. [176] Global sales of the Tesla Model X passed the 10,000 unit mark in August 2016, with most cars delivered in the United States. [177]

Cumulative global sales of pure electric passenger cars and utility vans passed the 1 million unit milestone in September 2016. [1] Global sales of the Tesla Model S achieved the 150,000 unit milestone in November 2016, four years and five months after its introduction, and just five more months than it took the Nissan Leaf to achieve the same milestone. [179] Norway achieved the milestone of 100,000 all-electric vehicles registered in December 2016. [180] Retail deliveries of the 383 km (238 miles) Chevrolet Bolt EV began in the San Francisco Bay Area on 13 December 2016. [178] In December 2016, Nissan reported that Leaf owners worldwide achieved the milestone of 3 billion km (1.9 billion miles) driven collectively through November 2016, saving the equivalent of nearly 500 million kg (1,100 million lb) of CO
2 emissions. [181] Global Nissan Leaf sales passed 250,000 units delivered in December 2016. [182] [183] The Tesla Model S was the world's best-selling plug-in electric car in 2016 for the second year running, with 50,931 units delivered globally. [167] [184]

In December 2016, Norway became the first country where 5% of all registered passenger cars was a plug-in electric. [185] When new car sales in Norway are categorised by powertrain or fuel, nine of the top ten best-selling models in 2016 were electric-drive models. The Norwegian electric-drive segment achieved a combined market share of 40.2% of new passenger car sales in 2016, consisting of 15.7% for all-electric cars, 13.4% for plug-in hybrids, and 11.2% for conventional hybris. [186] A record monthly market share for the plug-in electric passenger segment in any country was achieved in Norway in January 2017 with 37.5% of new car sales the plug-in hybrid segment reached a 20.0% market share of new passenger cars, and the all-electric car segment had a 17.5% market share. [187] Also in January 2017, the electrified passenger car segment, consisting of plug-in hybrids, all-electric cars and conventional hybrids, for the first time ever surpassed combined sales of cars with a conventional diesel or gasoline engine, with a market share of 51.4% of new car sales that month. [187] [188] For many years Norwegian electric vehicles have been subsidised by approximately 50%, and have several other benefits, such as use of bus lanes and free parking. [189] Many of these perks have been extended to 2020. [190]

In February 2017 Consumer Reports named Tesla as the top car brand in the United States and ranked it 8th among global carmakers. [192] Deliveries of the Tesla Model S passed the 200,000 unit milestone during the fourth quarter of 2017. [193] Global sales of the Nissan Leaf achieved the 300,000 unit milestone in January 2018. [194]

In September 2018, the Norwegian market share of all-electric cars reached 45.3% and plug-in hybrids 14.9%, for a combined market share of the plug-in car segment of 60.2% of new car registrations that month, becoming the world's highest-ever monthly market share for the plug-in electric passenger segment in Norway and in any country. Accounting for conventional hybrids, the electrified segment achieved an all-time record 71.5% market share in September 2018. [195] [196] In October 2018, Norway became the first country where 1 in every 10 passenger cars registered is a plug-in electric vehicle. [191] Norway ended 2018 with plug-in market share of 49.1%, meaning that every second new passenger car sold in the country in 2018 was a plug-in electric. The market share for the all-electric segment was 31.2% in 2018. [197]

Tesla delivered its 100,000th Model 3 in October 2018. [200] U.S. sales of the Model 3 reached the 100,000 unit milestone in November 2018, quicker than any previous model sold in the country. [201] The Model 3 was the top-selling plug-in electric car in the U.S. for 12 consecutive months since January 2018, ending 2018 as the best-selling plug-in with an estimated all-time record of 139,782 units delivered, the first time a plug-in car sold more than 100 thousand units in a single year. [202] [203] [204] In 2018, for the first time in any country, an all-electric car topped annual sales of the passenger car segment. The Nissan Leaf was Norway's best selling new passenger car model in 2018. [205] [206] The Tesla Model 3 listed as the world's best selling plug-in electric car in 2018. [207]

In January 2019, with 148,046 units sold since inception in the American market, the Model 3 overtook the Model S to become the all-time best selling all-electric car in the U.S. [208] Until 2019, the Nissan Leaf was the world's all-time top selling highway legal electric car, with global sales of 450,000 units through December 2019. [198] The Tesla Model 3 ended 2019 as the world's best selling plug-in electric car for the second consecutive year, with just over 300,000 units delivered. [207] [5] Also, the Model 3 topped the annual list of best selling passenger car models in the overall market in two countries, Norway and the Netherlands. [209] [210]

The global stock of plug-in electric passenger cars reached 5.1 million units in December 2018, consisting of 3.3 million all-electric cars (65%) and 1.8 million plug-in hybrid cars (35%). [211] [207] The global ratio between BEVs and PHEVs has been shifting towards fully electric cars, it went from 56:44 in 2012 to 60:40 in 2015, and rose from 69:31 in 2018 to 74:26 in 2019. [5] [207] [4] Despite the rapid growth experienced, the plug-in electric car segment represented just about 1 out of every 250 motor vehicles on the world's roads at the end of 2018. [212]

The Tesla Model 3 surpassed the Nissan Leaf in early 2020 to become the world's best selling electric car ever, with more than 500,000 sold by March 2020. [199] Tesla also became the first auto manufacturer to produce 1 million electric cars in March 2020. [213] By August 2020, global sales of the Model 3 totaled around 645,000 units. [6]

The Nissan Leaf achieved the milestone of 500,000 units sold globally in early December 2020, 10 years after its inception. [214] Combined sales of all-electric cars and light-duty commercial vans since 2010 achieved the 10 million unit milestone by the end of 2020. [3]

The principal manufacturer of e-bikes globally is China, with 2009 seeing the manufacturer of 22.2 million units. In the world Geoby is the leading manufacturers of E-bikes. Pedego is the best selling in the U.S. China accounts for nearly 92% of the market worldwide. In China the number of electric bicycles on the road was 120 million in 2010. Jiangsu Yadea, an electric bicycle producer of renown in China, leads the ranking of China National Light Industry Council (CNLIC) electric bicycle industry for three years. It retains capacity of nearly 6 million electric bicycles a year.

In 1997, Charger Electric Bicycle was the first U.S. company to come out with a pedelec.

Date Timeline of electric vehicle milestones
1875 World's first electric tram line operated in Sestroretsk near
Saint Petersburg, Russia, invented and tested by Fyodor Pirotsky. [215] [216]
1881 World's first commercially successful electric tram, the Gross-Lichterfelde tramway
in Lichterfelde near Berlin in Germany built by Werner von Siemens
who contacted Pirotsky. It initially drew current from the rails, with overhead wire being installed in 1883.
1882 The trolleybus dates back to 29 April 1882, when Dr. Ernst Werner Siemens
demonstrated his "Elektromote" in a Berlin suburb. This experiment continued until 13 June 1882
1883 Mödling and Hinterbrühl Tram, Vienna, Austria, first electric tram
powered by overhead wire.
1884 Thomas Parker built a practical production electric car in Wolverhampton using his own
specially designed high-capacity rechargeable batteries.
Dec 1996 Launch of the limited production General Motors EV1 [217] [218]
Feb 2008 First Tesla Roadster delivered, becoming the first highway
legal electric car to use lithium-ion battery [219]
Jul 2009 Launch of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the first modern highway legal series production electric car [94]
Dec 2010 Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt deliveries began [220]
2011 The Nissan Leaf passed the Mitsubishi i MiEV as the world's all-time best selling all-electric car [122]
Jun 2012 Launch of the Tesla Model S [221]
Mar 2014 1% of all cars in use in Norway are plug-ins [222]
Sep 2015 Cumulative global plug-in sales passed 1 million units. [223]
Nov 2016 Global all-electric car/van sales passed 1 million. [1]
Dec 2016 Cumulative global plug-in sales passed 2 million units [224]
5% of passenger cars on Norwegian roads are plug-ins [185]
Early
2017
1 millionth domestic new energy car sold in China [225] [226]
Jul 2017 Launch of the Tesla Model 3 [227]
Nov 2017 Cumulative global plug-in sales passed 3 million units [211]
Dec 2017 Annual global sales passed the 1 million unit mark [228]
5% of all cars in use in Norway are all-electric. [229]
Annual global market share passed 1% for the first time [228]
First half
2018
1 millionth plug-in electric car sold in Europe [230]
Sep 2018 1 millionth plug-in electric car sold in the U.S. [231]
2 millionth new energy vehicle sold in China [232]
(includes heavy-duty commercial vehicles)
Oct 2018 10% of passenger cars on Norwegian roads are plug-ins [233]
Nov 2018 500,000th plug-in car sold in California [234]
Dec 2018 Annual global sales passed the 2 million unit mark [207] [235]
Tesla Model 3 becomes first plug-in to exceed 100,000 sales in a single year [236]
Dec 2019 One out of two new passenger car registered in Norway in 2019 was a plug-in electric car [237]
Early
2020
The Tesla Model 3 surpassed the Nissan Leaf as the world's best selling plug-in electric car in history [199]
Mar 2020 The Tesla Model 3 is the first electric car to sell more than 500,000 units since inception. [199]
Tesla, Inc. becomes the first auto manufacturer to produce 1 million electric cars [213]
Apr 2020 10% of all cars on the road in Norway are all-electric [238]
Dec 2020 Nissan Leaf global sales reached 500,000 units. [214]
Cumulative global plug-in sales passed the 10 million unit milestone [3]
The Norwegian plug-in car segment achieved a record annual market share of 74.7% of new car sales. [239]
Over 15% of all cars on Norwegian roads are plug-in electric. [240]

Selected list of battery electric vehicles include (in chronological order): [241] [242]


General Motors Is Going All Electric

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After more than a century peddling vehicles that pollute the atmosphere, General Motors is ending its relationship with gasoline and diesel. This morning, the American automotive giant announced that it is working toward an all-electric, zero-emissions future. That starts with two new, fully electric models next year—then at least 18 more by 2023.

That product onslaught puts the company at the forefront of an increasingly large crowd of automakers proclaiming the age of electricity and promising to move away from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. In recent months, Volvo, Aston Martin, and Jaguar Land Rover have announced similar moves. GM’s declaration, though, is particularly noteworthy because it’s among the very largest automakers on the planet. It sold 10 million cars last year, ranging from pickups to SUVs to urban runabouts.

“General Motors believes the future is all-electric,” says Mark Reuss, the company’s head of product. “We are far along in our plan to lead the way to that future world.”

Reuss did not give a date for the death knell of the GM gas- or diesel-powered car, saying the transition will happen at different speeds in different markets and regions. The new all-electric models will be a mix of battery electric cars and fuel cell-powered vehicles.

To be sure, GM’s sudden jolt of electricity is planned with its shareholders in mind. The Trump Administration may be moving to roll back fuel efficiency requirements in the US, but the rest of the world is insisting on an electric age. France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Norway have all said they plan to ban the sale of gas and diesel cars in the coming decades. More importantly, China—the world’s largest car market—and India, a rising star, plan to join them. No automaker can compete globally without a compelling stable of electric cars.

GM intends to grab as large a slice of the Chinese market as possible. It has previously announced plans to launch 10 electric or hybrid electric cars in the country by 2020. This summer, it started selling a two-seat EV there, for just $5,300. Last year, it sold more cars in China (3.6 million) than it did in the US (3 million).

The crucial question for the American automaker will be how, exactly, to make money from all these cars. By one report, GM loses $9,000 on each Chevy Bolt it sells. Reuss’ strategy hinges on bringing costs down thanks to steadily dropping battery prices, more efficient motors, and lighter cars. Massive scale and global supply chains helps, too. “This next generation will be profitable,” he says. “End of story.”

It's not impossible. “If they’ve really been laying this groundwork, they could be closer to not just having this tech but having a profitable and high volume way of supplying it," says Karl Brauer, an auto industry analyst with Kelley Blue Book.

General Motors’ history hasn’t been especially kind to electric mobility. Its invention of the automatic starter helped kill the first wave of electric cars at the start of the 20th century. This is the company that experimented with battery power in the EV-1, only to recall the two-seater from its owners, crush them all, and pile the carcasses up in a junkyard. In the first years of the 21st century, while Toyota was making hybrids popular with the Prius, GM was hawking the Hummer.

Over the past decade, the Detroit giant has positioned itself for a different sort of future. First came the hybrid electric Chevy Volt. Then came GM’s great coup, the Chevy Bolt, the 200-mile, $30,000 electric car that hit market long before Tesla’s Model 3. GM is seriously pursuing semi-autonomous and fully driverless cars. It offers the first car on US roads with vehicle-to-vehicle communication capability. Now, it talks about its plans to eliminate vehicle pollution, congestion, and traffic deaths.

“GM has the ability to get all of us to that future so much faster,” Reuss says. Now it just has to deliver—and make enough money doing it to stick around for that future.

Sir James Dyson—the guy who makes your favorite vacuum—is building an electric car. And he might not be nuts


General Motors to eliminate gasoline and diesel light-duty cars and SUVs by 2035

General Motors has pledged to stop making gasoline-powered passenger cars, vans and sport utility vehicles by 2035, marking a historic turning point for the iconic American carmaker and promising a future of new electric vehicles for American motorists.

GM chief executive Mary Barra, who antagonized many climate experts by embracing President Donald Trump’s relaxation of fuel efficiency targets, said Thursday the company now wants to lead the way to a greener future.

“As one of the world’s largest automakers, we hope to set an example of responsible leadership in a world that is faced with climate change,” Barra said on LinkedIn.

GM has said it would invest $27 billion in electric vehicles and associated products between 2020 and 2025, outstripping its spending on conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles. That figure includes refurbishing factories and investing in battery production in conjunction with LG Chem, a South Korean battery maker.

As part of its plan, GM — maker of Buicks, Cadillacs, Chevrolets and Corvettes, among others — will manufacture about 30 types of electric vehicles. By late 2025, about 40 percent of the company’s U.S. models will be battery-powered electric vehicles, it said. And it pledged to make its factories and other facilities carbon neutral by 2040.

One of the Big Three automakers that dominated the North American car market for decades, GM has rolled out millions of pollution-spewing cars and trucks. Transportation accounts for about 28 percent of total U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, making it the largest contributor of the pollution that is driving climate change. GM now faces the task of reorienting and revamping supply chains, assembly lines and its labor force to produce a new kind of product that few Americans have experienced.

“This is a very significant pivot … especially for such an iconic American institution,” said Barry Rabe, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan.


GM Is Going All Electric, Will Ditch Gas- and Diesel-Powered Cars

General Motors plans to go 100 percent electric, the Detroit automaker announced Monday.

GM currently offers one extended-range electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, but will add two others within 18 months, said Executive Vice President Mark Reuss, with “at least 20” to be in the line-up by 2023. In addition, the company is developing a new truck platform powered by hydrogen fuel cells, dubbed Surus, short for Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure.

“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” Reuss said. “Although that future won't happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers' needs.”

In recent months, a number of manufacturers have announced plans to “electrify” their product lines. All Volvo models launched from 2018 and beyond, for example, will use either hybrid, plug-in or pure battery-electric drivetrains. Last month, Volkswagen AG said it will invest $20 billion to develop electrified products. Every model sold by its various brands — including VW, Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini — will be offered with at least one battery-based drivetrain option.

But GM said it will go a step further.

Ditching the Combustion Engine

GM's goal is to abandon the internal combustion engine entirely. At some yet-unspecified point, all of its products will draw power either from batteries or hydrogen. Fuel cells are sometimes referred to as “refillable batteries.” They rely on devices called stacks to combine hydrogen and oxygen from the air to produce water vapor and electric current. That power is used to drive the same sort of motors used in battery-cars.

GM was a pioneer in both battery and hydrogen technology. It launched its first fuel-cell prototype four decades ago. Its EV1 was one of the first electric vehicles produced by a mainstream manufacturer, but the line was scrapped when California abandoned its initial zero-emissions vehicle mandates in the 1990s.

Government mandates are clearly driving the industry’s current push to electrify. Even though the Trump administration is expected to roll back the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, California’s new ZEV mandate will require automakers to collectively sell millions of battery or hydrogen vehicles in the years ahead.

And pressures are growing overseas. Several countries, including Norway and India, now plan to ban internal combustion engines entirely. The U.K., France, Germany, and China are considering similar moves. China has just laid out new guidelines for alternative propulsion and is now the world’s biggest market for electrified vehicles.

The key question is one of consumer acceptance. Last year, all forms of electrified vehicles, from hybrids to battery-electric vehicles accounted for barely 3 percent of the U.S. new vehicle market. Pure electrics, like the Chevy Bolt, generated only around a half-percent of total volume. But a number of recent studies have suggested that could top 30 percent or more within a decade.

Tesla Leading the Way

One sign of an impending shift is the strong response to the launch of the new Tesla Model 3 which, like the Bolt, gets more than 200 miles per charge and is priced at under $40,000 before federal and state tax credits. Meanwhile, a new generation of even more advanced and affordable batteries, dubbed solid-state, is expected to reach the market early in the coming decade. They are expected to yield even longer range, shortage charge times and lower prices.

GM isn’t talking about what its new battery-electric vehicles will be but they are generally expected to be utility vehicles, reflecting the rapid market shift from passenger cars to light trucks.


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