What is an Electric Vehicle?

In an electric vehicle (EV), a battery or other energy storage device is used to store the electricity that powers the motor. EV batteries must be replenished by plugging in the vehicle to a power source. Some electric vehicles have onboard chargers; others plug into a charger located outside the vehicle. Both types, however, use electricity that comes from the power grid or through stationary renewable energy. Although electricity production may contribute to air pollution, EVs are considered zero-emission vehicles because their motors produce no exhaust or emissions.

There are a limited number of light-duty electric vehicles available from the major auto manufacturers, but production is increasing. New vehicles were be introduced in 2010 and 2011, such as the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt.  Neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) are being manufactured by a variety of companies.  These small vehicles are commonly used for neighborhood commuting, light hauling, and delivery. Their use is limited to areas with 35 mph speed limits, for off-road service on college campuses, at airports, or in resort areas.

What Electric Vehicles Are Available?

Electric vehicles (EVs) are available as neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) and as scooters and bicycles. Conversion kits are also available to transform a conventional light-duty vehicles into one that runs on electricity.  While the Tesla Roadster and other electric vehicles from smaller manufactures have been available for a few years, full-size electric vehicles were initially be released to US markets in 2010 and 2011.

For more information on EV models, visit the AFDC page.

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