Electric vehicles are powered by electric motors, which uses energy from rechargeable batteries. Electric vehicle are more user and environmental friendly as compared with gasoline based vehicles. These vehicles do not produce any tailpipe emissions, reduces dependency on oil and are cheaper to operate. Based on their power source, there are three types of electric vehicles: directly powered from an external power station, powered by stored electricity originally from an external power source and powered by an on-board electrical generator. Electric vehicles are very popular in low power and low range applications such as milt floats and golf buggies. However this technology is still in nascent stage for mainstream transportation, especially in developing countries. In recent years the electric vehicles segment has attracted the attentions of consumers as well as governments. According to a report by Electric Vehicle Initiative (EVI) and International Energy Agency (IEA), global electric vehicle sales became two folds between the year 2011 and 2012 and this growth is expected to be higher in coming years.
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Electric vehicle are manufactured in all major vehicle classes such as two wheelers, three-wheelers, small cars and LMVs. Based on the top speed/acceleration, electric vehicles are categorized as full performance battery electric vehicle, city electric vehicle and neighborhood electric vehicle.
On the basis of technology, electric vehicle can be broadly categorised under hybrid electric vehicle, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and battery electric vehicle. Hybrid electric vehicle market holds majority of the market share whereas plug-in electric vehicle is expected to witness highest growth rate in coming years. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles use both electricity and fossil fuels as power sources and have a price range comparable to fossil fuel power-driven vehicles. Electric vehicles make carbon emissions savings as they are more competent than their carbon-fuelled counterparts and the electricity they run on, can be produced from low-carbon foundation.
North America is the largest market for electric vehicle followed by Europe and Asia Pacific. The U.S. is the largest market in North America where as France accounts for highest number of electric vehicle in Europe. China is leading market for electric vehicle In Asia Pacific closely followed by Japan. The growth rate for electric vehicle is expected in double digit in Asia Pacific during the forecasted period.
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Major drivers for electric vehicles (EV) includes governmental support in the form of subsidies, infrastructure funding and concessions such as free parking; increasing fossils fuel prices; development of more efficient and less costly batteries; increasing trend towards sustainable developments and low operating cost of electric vehicles. High purchasing cost, limited driving range, safety and reliability issue with electric vehicles and long recharging time are some of the major challenges for the electric vehicle industry.
Some of the major players in electric vehicles market are Tesla Motors, Inc., NISSAN Motors Company, General Motors, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Volkswagen, Renault S.A., Daimler AG and Smith Electric Vehicle.
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