A plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) may be classified as any motor vehicle that can be recharged from an external source of electricity, stored electricity in the rechargeable batteries, and use the stored energy to drive or contributes to drive the wheels.
A plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) is any motor vehicle that can be recharged from an external source of electricity, such as wall sockets, and the electricity stored in the rechargeable battery packs drives or contributes to drive the wheels. PEV is a subset of electric vehicles that includes all-electric or battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), and electric vehicle conversions of hybrid electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. In China, plug-in electric vehicles are called new energy vehicles (NEVs).
Plug-in cars have several benefits compared to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. They have lower operating and maintenance costs, and produce little or no local air pollution. They reduce dependence on petroleum and may severally reduce greenhouse gas emissions, depending on the electricity source, as motors are typically much more efficient than their engine equivalents. Plug-in hybrids capture most of these benefits when they are operating in all-electric mode. Despite their potential benefits the stock of plug-in electric cars represented just 0.15% of the 1.4 billion motor vehicles on the world's roads by the end of 2016.
As of December 2016[update], there were over 60 models of highway capable plug-in electric passenger cars and light-duty utility vans available for retail sales in the world. Cumulative global sales of highway legal plug-in electric passenger cars and light utility vehicles achieved the 2 million unit milestone in December 2016. The 3 million milestone was achieved in November 2017. The global ratio between the stock of all-electrics (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) was 61:39 at the end of 2016. As of January 2018[update], the Nissan Leaf is the world's top selling highway-capable all-electric car in history, with global sales of over 300,000 units. The Tesla Model S ranks second with more than 200,000 units sold worldwide as of November 2017[update].
As of December 2017[update], China has the world's largest stock of highway legal light-duty plug-in electric vehicles with cumulative sales of more than 1,2 million plug-in electric passenger cars. Among country markets, the United States ranks second with almost 765,000 plug-in electric cars sold through December 2017. More than 943,000 light-duty plug-in electric passenger cars have been registered in Europe up until December 2017, with sales in the light-duty plug-in electric segment led by Norway with over 200,000 units registered. China is the world's leader in the plug-in heavy-duty segment, including electric all-electric buses, and plug-in commercial and sanitation trucks, with a stock of new energy vehicles sold of more than 1,7 million units through December 2017. As of December 2016[update], China was the world's largest plug-in electric bus market with a stock of almost 343,500 vehicles.
A plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) is any motor vehicle with rechargeable battery packs that can be charged from the electric grid, and the electricity stored on board drives or contributes to drive the wheels for propulsion. Plug-in electric vehicles are also sometimes referred to as grid-enabled vehicles (GEV) and also as electrically chargeable vehicles.
PEV is 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. Even though conventional hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have a battery that is continually recharged with power from the internal combustion engine and regenerative braking, they can not be recharged from an off-vehicle electric energy source, and therefore, they do not belong to the category of plug-in electric vehicles.
"Plug-in electric drive vehicle" is the legal term used in U.S. federal legislation to designate the category of motor vehicles eligible for federal tax credits depending on battery size and their all-electric range. In some European countries, particularly in France, "electrically chargeable vehicle" is the formal term used to designate the vehicles eligible for these incentives. While the term "plug-in electric vehicle" most often refers to automobiles or "plug-in cars", there are several other types of plug-in electric vehicle, including electric motorcycles and scooters, neighborhood electric vehicles or microcars, city cars, vans, light trucks or light commercial vehicles, buses, trucks or lorries, and military vehicles.
A battery electric vehicle (BEV) uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs as its only source for propulsion. BEVs use electric motors and motor controllers instead of internal combustion engines (ICEs) for propulsion.
A plug-in hybrid operates as an all-electric vehicle or BEV when operating in charge-depleting mode, but it switches to charge-sustaining mode after the battery has reached its minimum state of charge (SOC) threshold, exhausting the vehicle's all-electric range (AER).
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV or PHV), also known as a plug-in hybrid, is a hybrid electric vehicle with rechargeable batteries that can be restored to full charge by connecting a plug to an external electric power source. A plug-in hybrid shares the characteristics of both a conventional hybrid electric vehicle and an all-electric vehicle: it uses a gasoline engine and an electric motor for propulsion, but a PHEV has a larger battery pack that can be recharged, allowing operation in all-electric mode until the battery is depleted.
An aftermarket electric vehicle conversion is the modification of a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV) or hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) to electric propulsion, creating an all-electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
There are several companies in the U.S. offering conversions. The most common conversions have been from hybrid electric cars to plug-in hybrid, but due to the different technology used in hybrids by each carmaker, the easiest conversions are for 2004–2009 Toyota Prius and for the Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner Hybrid.
In China the term new energy vehicles (NEVs) refers to vehicles that are partially or fully powered by electricity, such as battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). The Chinese government began implementation of its NEV program in 2009 to foster the development and introduction of new energy vehicles.
Internal combustion engines are relatively inefficient at converting on-board fuel energy to propulsion as most of the energy is wasted as heat, and the rest while the engine is idling. Electric motors, on the other hand, are more efficient at converting stored energy into driving a vehicle. Electric drive vehicles do not consume energy while at rest or coasting, and modern plug-in cars can capture and reuse as much as one fifth of the energy normally lost during braking through regenerative braking. Typically, conventional gasoline engines effectively use only 15% of the fuel energy content to move the vehicle or to power accessories, and diesel engines can reach on-board efficiencies of 20%, while electric drive vehicles typically have on-board efficiencies of around 80%.
In the United States, as of early 2010 with a national average electricity rate of US$0.10 per kWh, the cost per mile for a plug-in electric vehicle operating in all-electric mode is estimated between $0.02 to $0.04, while the cost per mile of a standard automobile varies between $0.08 to $0.20, considering a gasoline price of $3.00 per gallon. As petroleum price is expected to increase in the future due to oil production decline and increases in global demand, the cost difference in favor of PEVs is expected to become even more advantageous.
According to Consumer Reports, as of December 2011 the Nissan Leaf has a cost of 3.5 cents per mile and the Chevrolet Volt has a cost in electric mode of 3.8 cents per mile. The Volt cost per mile is higher because it is heavier than the Leaf. These estimates are based on the fuel economy and energy consumption measured on their tests and using a U.S. national average rate of 11 cents per kWh of electricity. When the Volt runs in range-extended mode using its premium gasoline-powered engine, the plug-in hybrid has a cost of 12.5 cents per mile. The out-of-pocket cost per mile of the three most fuel efficient gasoline-powered cars as tested by the magazine are the Toyota Prius, with a cost of 8.6 cents per miles, the Honda Civic Hybrid with 9.5 cents per mile, the Toyota Corolla with 11.9 cents per mile, and the Hyundai Elantra 13.1 cents per mile. The analysis also found that on trips up to 100 mi (160 km), the Volt is cheaper to drive than the Prius and the other three cars due to the Volt's 35 mi (56 km) driving range on electricity. The previous operating costs do not include maintenance, depreciation or other costs.
All-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles also have lower maintenance costs as compared to internal combustion vehicles, since electronic systems break down much less often than the mechanical systems in conventional vehicles, and the fewer mechanical systems on board last longer due to the better use of the electric engine. PEVs do not require oil changes and other routine maintenance checks.
The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) conducted an analysis that demonstrated that between January 1976 and February 2012 the real price for gasoline has been much more volatile than the real price of electricity in the United States. The analysis is based on a plug-in electric vehicle with an efficiency of 3.4 miles per kW-hr (like the Mitsubishi i MiEV) and a gasoline-powered vehicle with a fuel economy rated at 30 mpg‑US (7.8 L/100 km; 36 mpg‑imp) (like the 2012 Fiat 500). The EEI estimated that operating a plug-in would have had an equivalent cost of around US$1.50 a gallon in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and around US$1.00 a gallon since the late 1990s. In contrast, the price to operate an internal combustion engine vehicle has had much ample variations, costing more than US$3.50 per gallon during the 1979 energy crisis, then had a couple of lows with prices at less than US$1.50 during 1999 and 2001, only to climb and reach a maximum of more than US$4.00 before the beginning of the 2007–2009 financial crisis, by early 2012 has fluctuated around US$3.50. The analysis found that the cost of an equivalent electric-gallon of gasoline would have been not only cheaper to operate during the entire analysis period but also that equivalent electricity prices are more stable and have been declining in terms of equivalent dollars per gallon.
Electric cars, as well as plug-in hybrids operating in all-electric mode, emit no harmful tailpipe pollutants from the onboard source of power, such as particulates (soot), volatile organic compounds, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone, lead, and various oxides of nitrogen. The clean air benefit is usually local because, depending on the source of the electricity used to recharge the batteries, air pollutant emissions are shifted to the location of the generation plants. In a similar manner, plug-in electric vehicles operating in all-electric mode do not emit greenhouse gases from the onboard source of power, but from the point of view of a well-to-wheel assessment, the extent of the benefit also depends on the fuel and technology used for electricity generation. This fact has been referred to as the long tailpipe of plug-in electric vehicles. From the perspective of a full life cycle analysis, the electricity used to recharge the batteries must be generated from renewable or clean sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, or nuclear power for PEVs to have almost none or zero well-to-wheel emissions. On the other hand, when PEVs are recharged from coal-fired plants, they usually produce slightly more greenhouse gas emissions than internal combustion engine vehicles and higher than hybrid electric vehicles. In the case of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles operating in hybrid mode with assistance of the internal combustion engine, tailpipe and greenhouse emissions are lower in comparison to conventional cars because of their higher fuel economy.
The magnitude of the potential advantage depends on the mix of generation sources and therefore varies by country and by region. For example, France can obtain significant emission benefits from electric and plug-in hybrids because most of its electricity is generated by nuclear power plants; California, where most energy comes from natural gas, hydroelectric and nuclear plants can also secure substantial emission benefits. The U.K. also has a significant potential to benefit from PEVs as natural gas plants dominate the generation mix. On the other hand, emission benefits in Germany, China, India, and the central regions of the United States are limited or non-existent because most electricity is generated from coal. However these countries and regions might still obtain some air quality benefits by reducing local air pollution in urban areas. Cities with chronic air pollution problems, such as Los Angeles, México City, Santiago, Chile, São Paulo, Beijing, Bangkok and Kathmandu may also gain local clean air benefits by shifting the harmful emission to electric generation plants located outside the cities. Nevertheless, the location of the plants is not relevant when considering greenhouse gas emission because their effect is global.
A report published in June 2011, prepared by Ricardo in collaboration with experts from the UK's Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, found that hybrid electric cars, plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars generate more carbon emissions during their production than current conventional vehicles, but still have a lower overall carbon footprint over the full life cycle. The higher carbon footprint during production of electric drive vehicles is due mainly to the production of batteries. As an example, 43 percent of production emissions for a mid-size electric car are generated from the battery production, while for standard mid-sized gasolineinternal combustion engine vehicle, around 75% of the embedded carbon emissions during production comes from the steel used in the vehicle glider. The following table summarizes key results of this study for four powertrain technologies:
|Comparison of full life cycle assessment(well-to-wheels) of carbon emissions
and carbon footprint during production for four different powertrain technologies
|Type of vehicle
emissions in production
|Standard gasoline vehicle||5.6||24||23%|
|Hybrid electric vehicle||6.5||21||31%|
|Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle||6.7||19||35%|
|Battery electric vehicle||8.8||19||46%|
|Notes: Estimates based upon a 2015 model vehicle assuming 150,000 km (93,000 mi) full life travel using 10% ethanol blend and 500g/kWh grid electricity.|
The Ricardo study also found that the lifecycle carbon emissions for mid-sized gasoline and diesel vehicles are almost identical, and that the greater fuel efficiency of the diesel engine is offset by higher production emissions.
In 2014 Volkswagen published the results of life-cycle assessment of its electric vehicles certified by TÜV NORD, and independent inspection agency. The study found that CO
2 emissions during the use phase of its all-electric VW e-Golf are 99% lower than those of the Golf 1.2 TSI when powers comes from exclusively hydroelectricity generated in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Accounting for the full lifecycle, the e-Golf reduces emissions by 61%, offsetting higher production emissions. When the actual EU-27 electricity mix is considered, the e-Golf emissions are still 26% lower than those of the conventional Golf 1.2 TSI. Similar results were found when comparing the e-Golf with the Golf 1.6 TDI. The analysis considered recycling of the three vehicles at the end of their lifetime.
The Swedish automotive startup Uniti Sweden AB has been working on an electric city car entirely designed to be sustainable. The CEO Lewis Horne said “When people sell electric cars, the motivation is sustainability. So, why are they so heavy, and why are they the same cars? Where you just take out petrol and you put in the huge battery and you call it sustainable. But it’s not.”. The company has been designing a car that uses sustainable and recycled material such as bio-composite to reduce the footprint of the car during production. In addition, the fully automated factory provided in partnership with Siemens will be able to work with the lights turned off during 22h per day to save energy.
The following table compares tailpipe and upstream CO2 emissions estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for all series production model year 2014 plug-in electric vehicles available in the U.S. market. Total emissions include the emissions associated with the production and distribution of electricity used to charge the vehicle, and for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, it also includes emissions associated with tailpipe emissions produced from the internal combustion engine. These figures were published by the EPA in October 2014 in its annual report "Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2014." All emissions are estimated considering average real world city and highway operation based on the EPA 5-cycle label methodology, using a weighted 55% city and 45% highway driving. For the first time, the 2014 Trends report presents an analysis of the impact of alternative fuel vehicles, with emphasis in plug-in electric vehicles because as their market share is approaching 1%, the EPA concluded that PEVs began to have a measurable impact on the U.S. overall new vehicle fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
For purposes of an accurate estimation of emissions, the analysis took into consideration the differences in operation between plug-in hybrids. Some, like the Chevrolet Volt, can operate in all-electric mode without using gasoline, and others operate in a blended mode like the Toyota Prius PHV, which uses both energy stored in the battery and energy from the gasoline tank to propel the vehicle, but that can deliver substantial all-electric driving in blended mode. In addition, since the all-electric range of plug-in hybrids depends on the size of the battery pack, the analysis introduced a utility factor as a projection of the share of miles that will be driven using electricity by an average driver, for both, electric only and blended EV modes. Since all-electric cars do not produce tailpipe emissions, the utility factor applies only to plug-in hybrids. The following table shows the overall fuel economy expressed in terms of miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (mpg-e) and the utility factor for the ten MY2014 plug-in hybrids available in the U.S. market, and EPA's best estimate of the CO2 tailpipe emissions produced by these PHEVs.
In order to account for the upstream CO2 emissions associated with the production and distribution of electricity, and since electricity production in the United States varies significantly from region to region, the EPA considered three scenarios/ranges with the low end scenario corresponding to the California powerplant emissions factor, the middle of the range represented by the national average powerplant emissions factor, and the upper end of the range corresponding to the powerplant emissions factor for the Rocky Mountains. The EPA estimates that the electricity GHG emission factors for various regions of the country vary from 346 g CO2/kWh in California to 986 g CO2/kWh in the Rockies, with a national average of 648 g CO2/kWh.
|Comparison of tailpipe and upstream CO2 emissions(1) estimated by EPA
for the MY 2014 plug-in electric vehicles available in the U.S. market
|Tailpipe + Total Upstream CO2|
|Chevrolet Spark EV||119||1||0||97||181||276|
|Honda Fit EV||118||1||0||99||185||281|
|Smart electric drive||107||1||0||109||204||311|
|Ford Focus Electric||105||1||0||111||208||316|
|Tesla Model S (60 kWh)||95||1||0||122||229||348|
|Tesla Model S (85 kWh)||89||1||0||131||246||374|
|BMW i3 REx(3)||88||0.83||40||134||207||288|
|Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED||84||1||0||138||259||394|
|Toyota RAV4 EV||76||1||0||153||287||436|
|Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid||58||0.29||133||195||221||249|
|Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid||57||0.33||130||196||225||257|
|Ford C-Max Energi||51||0.45||129||219||269||326|
|Ford Fusion Energi||51||0.45||129||219||269||326|
|Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid||31||0.39||206||328||389||457|
|Average MY 2014 gasoline car||24.2||0||367||400||400||400|
|Notes: (1) Based on 45% highway and 55% city driving. (2) The utility factor represents, on average, the percentage of miles that will be driven
using electricity (in electric only and blended modes) by an average driver. (3) The EPA classifies the i3 REx as a series plug-in hybrid
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) published a study in 2012 that assessed average greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. resulting from charging plug-in car batteries from the perspective of the full life-cycle (well-to-wheel analysis) and according to fuel and technology used to generate electric power by region. The study used the model year 2011 Nissan Leaf all-electric car to establish the analysis baseline, and electric-utility emissions are based on EPA's 2009 estimates. The UCS study expressed the results in terms of miles per gallon instead of the conventional unit of grams of greenhouse gases or carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per year in order to make the results more friendly for consumers. The study found that in areas where electricity is generated from natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric or renewable sources, the potential of plug-in electric cars to reduce greenhouse emissions is significant. On the other hand, in regions where a high proportion of power is generated from coal, hybrid electric cars produce less CO2 equivalent emissions than plug-in electric cars, and the best fuel efficient gasoline-powered subcompact car produces slightly less emissions than a PEV. In the worst-case scenario, the study estimated that for a region where all energy is generated from coal, a plug-in electric car would emit greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to a gasoline car rated at a combined city/highway driving fuel economy of 30 mpg‑US (7.8 L/100 km; 36 mpg‑imp). In contrast, in a region that is completely reliant on natural gas, the PEV would be equivalent to a gasoline-powered car rated at 50 mpg‑US (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg‑imp).
The study concluded that for 45% of the U.S. population, a plug-in electric car will generate lower CO2 equivalent emissions than a gasoline-powered car capable of combined 50 mpg‑US (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg‑imp), such as the Toyota Prius and the Prius c. The UCS also found that for 37% of the population, the electric car emissions will fall in the range of a gasoline-powered car rated at a combined fuel economy of 41 to 50 mpg‑US (5.7 to 4.7 L/100 km; 49 to 60 mpg‑imp), such as the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Lexus CT200h. Only 18% of the population lives in areas where the power-supply is more dependent on burning carbon, and the greenhouse gas emissions will be equivalent to a car rated at a combined fuel economy of 31 to 40 mpg‑US (7.6 to 5.9 L/100 km; 37 to 48 mpg‑imp), such as the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus. The study found that there are no regions in the U.S. where plug-in electric cars will have higher greenhouse gas emissions than the average new compact gasoline engine automobile, and the area with the dirtiest power supply produces CO2 emissions equivalent to a gasoline-powered car rated at 33 mpg‑US (7.1 L/100 km).
In September 2014 the UCS published an updated analysis of its 2012 report. The 2014 analysis found that 60% of Americans, up from 45% in 2009, live in regions where an all-electric car produce fewer CO2 equivalent emissions per mile than the most efficient hybrid. The UCS study found several reasons for the improvement. First, electric utilities have adopted cleaner sources of electricity to their mix between the two analysis. The 2014 study used electric-utility emissions based on EPA's 2010 estimates, but since coal use nationwide is down by about 5% from 2010 to 2014, actual efficiency in 2014 is better than estimated in the UCS study. Second, electric vehicles have become more efficient, as the average 2013 all-electric vehicle used 0.33 kWh per mile, representing a 5% improvement over 2011 models. Also, some new models are cleaner than the average, such as the BMW i3, which is rated at 0.27 kWh by the EPA. An i3 charged with power from the Midwest grid would be as clean as a gasoline-powered car with about 50 mpg‑US (4.7 L/100 km), up from 39 mpg‑US (6.0 L/100 km) for the average electric car in the 2012 study. In states with a cleaner mix generation, the gains were larger. The average all-electric car in California went up to 95 mpg‑US (2.5 L/100 km) equivalent from 78 mpg‑US (3.0 L/100 km) in the 2012 study. States with dirtier generation that rely heavily on coal still lag, such as Colorado, where the average BEV only achieves the same emissions as a 34 mpg‑US (6.9 L/100 km; 41 mpg‑imp) gasoline-powered car. The author of the 2014 analysis noted that the benefits are not distributed evenly across the U.S. because electric car adoptions is concentrated in the states with cleaner power.
In November 2015 the Union of Concerned Scientists published a new report comparing two battery electric vehicles (BEVs) with similar gasoline vehicles by examining their global warming emissions over their full life-cycle, cradle-to-grave analysis. The two BEVs modeled, midsize and full-size, are based on the two most popular BEV models sold in the United States in 2015, the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S. The study found that all-electric cars representative of those sold today, on average produce less than half the global warming emissions of comparable gasoline-powered vehicles, despite taken into account the higher emissions associated with BEV manufacturing. Considering the regions where the two most popular electric cars are being sold, excess manufacturing emissions are offset within 6 to 16 months of average driving. The study also concluded that driving an average EV results in lower global warming emissions than driving a gasoline car that gets 50 mpg‑US (4.7 L/100 km) in regions covering two-thirds of the U.S. population, up from 45% in 2009. Based on where EVs are being sold in the United States in 2015, the average EV produces global warming emissions equal to a gasoline vehicle with a 68 mpg‑US (3.5 L/100 km) fuel economy rating. The authors identified two main reason for the fact that EV-related emissions have become even lower in many parts of the country since the first study was conducted in 2012. Electricity generation has been getting cleaner, as coal-fired generation has declined while lower-carbon alternatives have increased. In addition, electric cars are becoming more efficient. For example, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt, have undergone improvements to increase their efficiencies compared to the original models launched in 2010, and other even more efficient BEV models, such as the most lightweight and efficient BMW i3, have entered the market.
One criticism to the UCS study is that the analysis was made using average emissions rates across regions instead of marginal generation at different times of the day. The former approach does not take into account the generation mix within interconnected electricity markets and shifting load profiles throughout the day. An analysis by three economist affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), published in November 2014, developed a methodology to estimate marginal emissions of electricity demand that vary by location and time of day across the United States. The marginal analysis, applied to plug-in electric vehicles, found that the emissions of charging PEVs vary by region and hours of the day. In some regions, such as the Western U.S. and Texas, CO2 emissions per mile from driving PEVs are less than those from driving a hybrid car. However, in other regions, such as the Upper Midwest, charging during the recommended hours of midnight to 4 a.m. implies that PEVs generate more emissions per mile than the average car currently on the road. The results show a fundamental tension between electricity load management and environmental goals as the hours when electricity is the least expensive to produce tend to be the hours with the greatest emissions. This occurs because coal-fired units, which have higher emission rates, are most commonly used to meet base-level and off-peak electricity demand; while natural gas units, which have relatively low emissions rates, are often brought online to meet peak demand.
A study published in the UK in April 2013 assessed the carbon footprint of plug-in electric vehicles in 20 countries. As a baseline the analysis established that manufacturing emissions account for 70 g CO2/km for an electric car and 40 g CO2/km for a petrol car. The study found that in countries with coal-intensive generation, PEVs are no different from conventional petrol-powered vehicles. Among these countries are China, Indonesia, Australia, South Africa and India. A pure electric car in India generates emissions comparable to a 20 mpg‑US (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg‑imp) petrol car.
The country ranking was led by Paraguay, where all electricity is produced from hydropower, and Iceland, where electricity production relies on renewable power, mainly hydro and geothermal power. Resulting carbon emissions from an electric car in both countries are 70 g CO2/km, which is equivalent to a 220 mpg‑US (1.1 L/100 km; 260 mpg‑imp) petrol car, and correspond to manufacturing emissions. Next in the ranking are other countries with low carbon electricity generation, including Sweden (mostly hydro and nuclear power ), Brazil (mainly hydropower) and France (predominantly nuclear power). Countries ranking in the middle include Japan, Germany, the UK and the United States.
The following table shows the emissions intensity estimated in the study for those countries where electric vehicle are available, and the corresponding emissions equivalent in miles per US gallon of a petrol-powered car:
|Country comparison of full life cycle assessment
of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from charging plug-in electric cars and
emissions equivalent in terms of miles per US gallon of a petrol-powered car
carbon dioxide equivalent
emissions per electric car
expressed in (CO2e/km)
in terms of mpg US
of petrol-powered car
|Sweden||81||Low carbon||159 mpg‑US (1.48 L/100 km)||Hybrid
|France||93||123 mpg‑US (1.91 L/100 km)|
|Canada||115||Fossil light||87 mpg‑US (2.7 L/100 km)||Beyond
|Spain||146||61 mpg‑US (3.9 L/100 km)|
|Japan||175||Broad mix||48 mpg‑US (4.9 L/100 km)||New
|Germany||179||47 mpg‑US (5.0 L/100 km)|
|United Kingdom||189||44 mpg‑US (5.3 L/100 km)|
|United States||202||Fossil heavy||40 mpg‑US (5.9 L/100 km)||Efficient
|Mexico||203||40 mpg‑US (5.9 L/100 km)|
|China||258||Coal-based||30 mpg‑US (7.8 L/100 km)||Average
|Australia||292||26 mpg‑US (9.0 L/100 km)|
|India||370||20 mpg‑US (12 L/100 km)|
|Note: Electric car manufacturing emissions account for 70 g CO2/km
Source: Shades of Green: Electric Cars’ Carbon Emissions Around the Globe, Shrink That Footprint, February 2013.
For many net oil importing countries the 2000s energy crisis brought back concerns first raised during the 1973 oil crisis. For the United States, the other developed countries and emerging countries their dependence on foreign oil has revived concerns about their vulnerability to price shocks and supply disruption. Also, there have been concerns about the uncertainty surrounding peak oil production and the higher cost of extracting unconventional oil. A third issue that has been raised is the threat to national security because most proven oil reserves are concentrated in relatively few geographic locations, including some countries with strong resource nationalism, unstable governments or hostile to U.S. interests. In addition, for many developing countries, and particularly for the poorest African countries, high oil prices have an adverse impact on the government budget and deteriorate their terms of trade thus jeopardizing their balance of payments, all leading to lower economic growth.
Through the gradual replacement of internal combustion engine vehicles for electric cars and plug-in hybrids, electric drive vehicles can contribute significantly to lessen the dependence of the transport sector on imported oil as well as contributing to the development of a more resilient energy supply.
Plug-in electric vehicles offer users the opportunity to sell electricity stored in their batteries back to the power grid, thereby helping utilities to operate more efficiently in the management of their demand peaks. A vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system would take advantage of the fact that most vehicles are parked an average of 95 percent of the time. During such idle times the electricity stored in the batteries could be transferred from the PEV to the power lines and back to the grid. In the U.S. this transfer back to the grid have an estimated value to the utilities of up to $4,000 per year per car. In a V2G system it would also be expected that battery electric (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) would have the capability to communicate automatically with the power grid to sell demand response services by either delivering electricity into the grid or by throttling their charging rate.
As of 2015[update], plug-in electric vehicles are significantly more expensive as compared to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles due to the additional cost of their lithium-ion battery pack. According to a 2010 study by the National Research Council, the cost of a lithium-ion battery pack was about US$1,700/kWh of usable energy, and considering that a PHEV-10 requires about 2.0 kWh and a PHEV-40 about 8 kWh, the manufacturer cost of the battery pack for a PHEV-10 is around US$3,000 and it goes up to US$14,000 for a PHEV-40. As of June 2012[update], and based on the three battery size options offered for the Tesla Model S, the New York Times estimated the cost of automotive battery packs between US$400 to US$500 per kilowatt-hour. A 2013 study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy reported that battery costs came down from US$1,300 per kWh in 2007 to US$500 per kWh in 2012. The U.S. Department of Energy has set cost targets for its sponsored battery research of US$300 per kWh in 2015 and US$125 per kWh by 2022. Cost reductions through advances in battery technology and higher production volumes will allow plug-in electric vehicles to be more competitive with conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.
According to a study published in February 2016 by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), battery prices fell 65% since 2010, and 35% just in 2015, reaching US$350 per kWh. The study concludes that battery costs are on a trajectory to make electric vehicles without government subsidies as affordable as internal combustion engine cars in most countries by 2022. BNEF projects that by 2040, long-range electric cars will cost less than US$22,000 expressed in 2016 dollars. BNEF expects electric car battery costs to be well below US$120 per kWh by 2030, and to fall further thereafter as new chemistries become available.
A study published in 2011 by the Belfer Center, Harvard University, found that the gasoline costs savings of plug-in electric cars do not offset their higher purchase prices when comparing their lifetime net present value of purchase and operating costs for the U.S. market at 2010 prices, and assuming no government subidies. According to the study estimates, a PHEV-40 is US$5,377 more expensive than a conventional internal combustion engine, while a battery electric vehicles is US$4,819 more expensive. These findings assumed a battery cost of US$600 per kWh, which means that the Chevrolet Volt battery pack cost around US$10,000 and the Nissan Leaf pack costs US$14,400. The study also assumed a gasoline price of US$3.75 per gallon (as of mid June 2011), that vehicles are driven 12,000 miles (19,000 km) per year, an average price of electricity of US$0.12 per kWh, that the plug-in hybrid is driven in all-electric mode 85% of the time, and that the owner of PEVs pay US$1,500 to install a Level II 220/240 volt charger at home.
The study also include hybrid electric vehicles in the comparison, and analyzed several scenarios to determine how the comparative net savings will change over the next 10 to 20 years, assuming that battery costs will decrease while gasoline prices increase, and also assuming higher fuel efficiency of conventional cars, among other scenarios. Under the future scenarios considered, the study found that BEVs will be significantly less expensive than conventional cars (US$1,155 to US$7,181 cheaper), while PHEVs, will be more expensive than BEVs in almost all comparison scenarios, and only less expensive than conventional cars in a scenario with very low battery costs and high gasoline prices. The reason for the different savings among PEVs is because BEVs are simpler to build and do not use liquid fuel, while PHEVs have more complicated powertrains and still have gasoline-powered engines. The following table summarizes the results of four of the seven scenarios analyzed by the study.
|Comparison of net lifetime savings
among conventional gasoline-powered cars, hybrids and plug-in electric cars
for several scenarios (U.S. market at 2010 prices)
|Scenario: 2010 costs
(battery US$600 per kWh, gasoline US$3.75 per gallon, and electricity US$0.12 per kWh)
|Total net present cost||US$32,861||US$33,059||US$38,239||US$37,680|
|Cost differential with conventional car||-||US$197||US$5,377||US$4,819|
|Scenario: Future Costs – Lower battery cost and higher gasoline and electricity prices
(battery US$300 per kWh, gasoline US$4.50 per gallon, and electricity US$0.15 per kWh)
|Total net present cost||US$34,152||US$32,680||US$34,601||US$30,674|
|Cost differential with conventional car||-||(US$1,472)||US$449||(US$3,478)|
|Scenario: Future Costs – Low battery cost and higher gasoline and electricity prices
(battery US$150 per kWh, gasoline US$4.50 per gallon, and electricity US$0.15 per kWh)
|Total net present cost||US$34,152||US$32,080||US$32,549||US$26,971|
|Cost differential with conventional car||-||(US$2,072)||(US$1,603)||(US$7,181)|
|Scenario: Higher fuel efficiency
ICEs:50 miles per US gallon (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg‑imp)
HEVs and PHEVs: 75 miles per US gallon (3.1 L/100 km; 90 mpg‑imp)
(battery US$300 per kWh, gasoline US$4.50 per gallon, and electricity US$0.15 per kWh)
|Total net present cost||US$32,829||US$31,366||US$34,403||US$30,674|
|Cost differential with conventional car||-||(US$463)||US$2,574||(US$1,155)|
|Note: Assumes vehicles are driven 12,000 miles (19,000 km) per year and plug-in hybrid is driven in all-electric mode 85% of the time. Does not take into account other differences in cost of ownership.|
According to a study by the Electric Power Research Institute published in June 2013, the total cost of ownership of the 2013 Nissan Leaf SV is substantially lower than that of comparable conventional and hybrid vehicles. For comparison, the study constructed average hybrid and conventional vehicles and assumed an average US distance per trip distribution. The study took into account the manufacturer's suggested retail price, taxes, credits, destination charge, electric charging station, fuel cost, maintenance cost, and additional cost due to the use of a gasoline vehicle for trips beyond the range of the Leaf.
|Electric Power Research Institute comparison of
the Leaf versus average conventional and hybrid cars.
|Total ownership cost|
|Nissan Leaf SV||All-electric||$37,288||$35,596|
|Chevrolet Volt||Plug-in hybrid||$44,176||$40,800|
|Average Hybrid||Gasoline-electric hybrid||$44,325||$45,416|
|Notes: Costs are based on a gasoline price of $3.64 per gallon, an electricity rate of $0.12/kWh, and a vehicle lifetime of 150,000 miles.
The average conventional car was constructed by averaging of Honda Civic EX, Chevrolet Cruze LTZ, Ford Focus Titanium, and Volkswagen Passat.
The average hybrid car was constructed from Ford Fusion Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE, and Toyota Prius trim IV.
Despite the widespread assumption that plug-in recharging will take place overnight at home, residents of cities, apartments, dormitories, and townhouses do not have garages or driveways with available power outlets, and they might be less likely to buy plug-in electric vehicles unless recharging infrastructure is developed. Electrical outlets or charging stations near their places of residence, in commercial or public parking lots, streets and workplaces are required for these potential users to gain the full advantage of PHEVs, and in the case of EVs, to avoid the fear of the batteries running out energy before reaching their destination, commonly called range anxiety. Even house dwellers might need to charge at the office or to take advantage of opportunity charging at shopping centers. However, this infrastructure is not in place and it will require investments by both the private and public sectors.
Several cities in California and Oregon, and particularly San Francisco and other cities in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, already have deployed public charging stations and have expansion plans to attend both plug-ins and all-electric cars. Some local private firms such as Google and Adobe Systems have also deployed charging infrastructure. In Google's case, its Mountain View campus has 100 available charging stations for its share-use fleet of converted plug-ins available to its employees. Solar panels are used to generate the electricity, and this pilot program is being monitored on a daily basis and performance results are published on the RechargeIT website. As of December 2013[update], Estonia is the first and only country that had deployed an EV charging network with nationwide coverage, with 165 fast chargers available along highways at a minimum distance of between 40 to 60 km (25 to 37 mi), and a higher density in urban areas.
The importance to build the infrastructure necessary to support electric vehicles is illustrated by the decision of Car2Go in San Diego, California, that due to insufficient charging infrastructure decided to replace all of its all-electric car fleet with gasoline-powered cars starting on 1 May 2016. When the carsharing service started in 2011, Car2Go expected 1,000 charging stations to be deployed around the city, but only 400 were in place by early 2016. As a result, an average of 20% of the carsharing fleet is unavailable at any given time because the cars are either being charged or because they don’t have enough electricity in them to be driven. Also, many of the company’s 40,000 San Diego members say they often worry their Car2Go will run out of charge before they finish their trip.
A different approach to resolve the problems of range anxiety and lack of recharging infrastructure for electric vehicles was developed by Better Place. Its business model considers that electric cars are built and sold separately from the battery pack. As customers are not allowed to purchase battery packs, they must lease them from Better Place which will deploy a network of battery swapping stations thus expanding EVs range and allowing long distance trips. Subscribed users pay a per-distance fee to cover battery pack leasing, charging and swap infrastructure, the cost of sustainable electricity, and other costs. Better Place signed agreement for deployment in Australia, Denmark, Israel, Canada, California, and Hawaii. The Renault Fluence Z.E. was the electric car built with switchable battery technology sold for the Better Place network. The robotic battery-switching operation was completed in about five minutes.
After implementing the first modern commercial deployment of the battery swapping model in Israel and Denmark, Better Place filed for bankruptcy in Israel in May 2013. 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.
Tesla Motors designed its Model S to allow fast battery swapping. In June 2013, Tesla announced their goal to deploy a battery swapping station in each of its supercharging stations. At a demonstration event Tesla showed that a battery swap operation with the Model S takes just over 90 seconds, about half the time it takes to refill a gasoline-powered car used for comparison purposes during the event. The first stations are planned to be deployed along Interstate 5 in California where, according to Tesla, a large number of Model S sedans make the San Francisco-Los Angeles trip regularly. These will be followed by the Washington, DC to Boston corridor.
The REVA NXR exhibited in the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and the Nissan Leaf SV trim both have roof-mounted solar panels. These solar panels are designed to trickle charge the batteries when the car is moving or parked. Another proposed technology is REVive, by Reva. When the REVA NXR's batteries are running low or are fully depleted, the driver is able to send an SMS to REVive and unlock a hidden reserve in the battery pack. Reva has not provided details on how the system will work. The Fisker Karma uses solar panel in the roof to recharge the 12-volt lead-acid accessory battery. The Nissan Leaf SL trim also has a small solar panel at the rear of the roof/spoiler that can trickle charge the auxiliary 12-volt lead-acid battery.
The existing electrical grid, and local transformers in particular, may not have enough capacity to handle the additional power load that might be required in certain areas with high plug-in electric car concentrations. As recharging a single electric-drive car could consume three times as much electricity as a typical home, overloading problems may arise when several vehicles in the same neighborhood recharge at the same time, or during the normal summer peak loads. To avoid such problems, utility executives recommend owners to charge their vehicles overnight when the grid load is lower or to use smarter electric meters that help control demand. When market penetration of plug-in electric vehicles begins to reach significant levels, utilities will have to invest in improvements for local electrical grids in order to handle the additional loads related to recharging to avoid blackouts due to grid overload. Also, some experts have suggested that by implementing variable time-of-day rates, utilities can provide an incentive for plug-in owners to recharge mostly overnight, when rates are lower.
General Motors is sponsoring the Pecan Street demonstration project in Austin, Texas. The project objective is to learn the charging patterns of plug-in electric car owners, and to study how a residential fleet of electric vehicles might strain the electric grid if all owners try to charge them at the same, which is what the preliminary monitoring found when the plug-in cars return home in the evening. The Mueller neighborhood is the test ground, and as of June 2013[update], the community has nearly 60 Chevrolet Volt owners alone. This cluster of Volts was achieved thanks to GM's commitment to match the federal government's $7,500 rebate incentive, which effectively halves the purchase price of the plug-hybrid electric cars.
Electric cars and plug-in hybrids when operating in all-electric mode at low speeds produce less roadway noise as compared to vehicles propelled by an internal combustion engine, thereby reducing harmful noise health effects. However, blind people or the visually impaired consider the noise of combustion engines a helpful aid while crossing streets, hence plug-in electric cars and conventional hybrids could pose an unexpected hazard when operating at low speeds. Several tests conducted in the U.S. have shown that this is a valid concern, as vehicles operating in electric mode can be particularly hard to hear below 20 mph (30 km/h) for all types of road users and not only the visually impaired. At higher speeds the sound created by tire friction and the air displaced by the vehicle start to make sufficient audible noise.
Some carmakers announced they have decided to address this safety issue, and as a result, the Nissan Leaf electric car and Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, both launched in December 2010, as well as the Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid launched in 2011 launched in 2012, include electric warning sounds to alert pedestrians, the blind and others to their presence. As of January 2014[update], most of the hybrids and plug-in electric and hybrids available in the United States, Japan and Europe make warning noises using a speaker system.
The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism issued guidelines for hybrid and other near-silent vehicles in January 2010. In the United States the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 was approved by the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives in December 2010. After several delays, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued its ruling in February 2018. It requires hybrids and electric vehicles traveling at less than 18.6 mph (30 km/h) to emit warning sounds that pedestrians must be able to hear over background noises. The regulation requires full compliance in September 2020, but 50% of "quite" vehicles must have the warning sounds by September 2019.
In April 2014 the European Parliament approved legislation that requires the mandatory use of the AVAS for all new electric and hybrid electric vehicles and car manufacturers have to comply within 5 years.
Lithium-ion batteries may suffer thermal runaway and cell rupture if overheated or overcharged, and in extreme cases this can lead to combustion. To reduce these risks, lithium-ion battery packs contain fail-safe circuitry that shuts down the battery when its voltage is outside the safe range. When handled improperly, or if manufactured defectively, some rechargeable batteries can experience thermal runaway resulting in overheating. Especially prone to thermal runaway are lithium-ion batteries. Reports of exploding cellphones have been reported in newspapers. In 2006, batteries from Apple, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo, Dell and other notebook manufacturers were recalled because of fire and explosions. Also, during the Boeing 787 Dreamliner's first year of service, at least four aircraft suffered from electrical system problems stemming from its lithium-ion batteries, resulting in the whole Dreamliner fleet being voluntarily grounded in January 2013.
Several plug-in electric vehicle fire incidents have taken place since the introduction of mass-production plug-in electric vehicles in 2008. Most of them have been thermal runaway incidents related to the lithium-ion batteries and have involved the Zotye M300 EV, Chevrolet Volt, Fisker Karma, BYD e6, Dodge Ram 1500 Plug-in Hybrid, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Outlander P-HEV. As of November 2013[update], four fires after a crash have been reported associated with the batteries of all-electric cars involving a BYD e6 and three Tesla Model S cars.
The first modern crash-related fire was reported in China in May 2012, after a high-speed car crashed into a BYD e6 taxi in Shenzhen. The second reported incident occurred in the United States on October 1, 2013, when a Tesla Model S caught fire after the electric car hit metal debris on a highway in Kent, Washington state, and the debris punctured one of 16 modules within the battery pack. A second reported fire occurred on October 18, 2013, in Merida, Mexico. In this case the vehicle was being driven at high speed through a roundabout and crashed through a wall and into a tree. On November 6, 2013, a Tesla Model S being driven on Interstate 24 near Murfreesboro, Tennessee caught fire after it struck a tow hitch on the roadway, causing damage beneath the vehicle.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting a study due in 2014 to establish whether lithium-ion batteries in plug-electric vehicles pose a potential fire hazard. The research is looking at whether the high-voltage batteries can cause fires when they are being charged and when the vehicles are involved in an accident. Both General Motors and Nissan have published a guide for firefighters and first responders to properly handle a crashed plug-in electric-drive vehicle and safely disable its battery and other high voltage systems.
Common technology for plug-ins and electric cars is based on the lithium-ion battery and an electric motor which uses rare-earth elements. The demand for lithium, heavy metals, and other specific elements (such as neodymium, boron and cobalt) required for the batteries and powertrain is expected to grow significantly due to the future sales increase of plug-in electric vehicles in the mid and long term. As of 2011[update], the Toyota Prius battery contains more than 20 lb (9.1 kg) of the rare-earth element lanthanum, and its motor magnets use neodymium and dysprosium. While only 0.25 oz (7 g) of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) are required in a smartphone and 1.1 oz (30 g) in a tablet computer, electric vehicles and stationary energy storage systems for homes, businesses or industry use much more lithium in their batteries. As of 2016[update] a hybrid electric passenger car might use 11 lb (5 kg) of LCE, while one of Tesla's high performance electric cars could use as much as 180 lb (80 kg).
Some of the largest world reserves of lithium and other rare metals are located in countries with strong resource nationalism, unstable governments or hostility to U.S. interests, raising concerns about the risk of replacing dependence on foreign oil with a new dependence on hostile countries to supply strategic materials.
The main deposits of lithium are found in China and throughout the Andes mountain chain in South America. In 2008 Chile was the leading lithium metal producer with almost 30%, followed by China, Argentina, and Australia. In the United States lithium is recovered from brine pools in Nevada.
Nearly half the world's known reserves are located in Bolivia, and according to the US Geological Survey, Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni desert has 5.4 million tons of lithium. Other important reserves are located in Chile, China, and Brazil. Since 2006 the Bolivian government have nationalized oil and gas projects and is keeping a tight control over mining its lithium reserves. Already the Japanese and South Korean governments, as well as companies from these two countries and France, have offered technical assistance to develop Bolivia's lithium reserves and are seeking to gain access to the lithium resources through a mining and industrialization model suitable to Bolivian interests.
According to a 2011 study conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California Berkeley, the currently estimated reserve base of lithium should not be a limiting factor for large-scale battery production for electric vehicles, as the study estimated that on the order of 1 billion 40 kWh Li-based batteries (about 10 kg of lithium per car) could be built with current reserves, as estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey. Another 2011 study by researchers from the University of Michigan and Ford Motor Company found that there are sufficient lithium resources to support global demand until 2100, including the lithium required for the potential widespread use of hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric and battery electric vehicles. The study estimated global lithium reserves at 39 million tons, and total demand for lithium during the 90-year period analyzed at 12–20 million tons, depending on the scenarios regarding economic growth and recycling rates.
A 2016 study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) found that availability of lithium and other finite materials used in the battery packs will not be a limiting factor for the adoption of electric vehicles. BNEF estimated that battery packs will require less than 1% of the known reserves of lithium, nickel, manganese, and copper through 2030, and 4% of the world’s cobalt. After 2030, the study states that new battery chemistries will probably shift to other source materials, making packs lighter, smaller, and cheaper.
China has 48% of the world's reserves of rare-earth elements, the United States has 13%, and Russia, Australia, and Canada have significant deposits. Until the 1980s, the U.S. led the world in rare-earth production, but since the mid-1990s China has controlled the world market for these elements. The mines in Bayan Obo near Baotou, Inner Mongolia, are currently the largest source of rare-earth metals and are 80% of China's production. In 2010 China accounted for 97% of the global production of 17 rare-earth elements. Since 2006 the Chinese government has been imposing export quotas reducing supply at a rate of 5% to 10% a year.
Prices of several rare-earth elements increased sharply by mid-2010 as China imposed a 40% export reduction, citing environmental concerns as the reason for the export restrictions. These quotas have been interpreted as an attempt to control the supply of rare earths. However, the high prices have provided an incentive to begin or reactivate several rare-earth mining projects around the world, including the United States, Australia, Vietnam, and Kazakhstan.
In September 2010, China temporarily blocked all exports of rare earths to Japan in the midst of a diplomatic dispute between the two countries. These minerals are used in hybrid cars and other products such wind turbines and guided missiles, thereby augmenting the worries about the dependence on Chinese rare-earth elements and the need for geographic diversity of supply. A December 2010 report published by the US DoE found that the American economy vulnerable to rare-earth shortages and estimates that it could take 15 years to overcome dependence on Chinese supplies. China raised export taxes for some rare earths from 15 to 25%, and also extended taxes to exports of some rare-earth alloys that were not taxed before. The Chinese government also announced further reductions on its export quotas for the first months of 2011, which represent a 35% reduction in tonnage as compared to exports during the first half of 2010.
On September 29, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Rare Earths and Critical Materials Revitalization Act of 2010 (H.R.6160). The approved legislation is aimed at restoring the U.S. as a leading producer of rare-earth elements, and would support activities in the U.S. Department of Energy (US DoE) to discover and develop rare-earth sites inside of the U.S. in an effort to reduce the auto industry's near-complete dependence on China for the minerals. A similar bill, the Rare Earths Supply Technology and Resources Transformation Act of 2010 (S. 3521), is being discussed in the U.S. Senate.
In order to avoid its dependence on rare-earth minerals, Toyota Motor Corporation announced in January 2011 that it is developing an alternative motor for future hybrid and electric cars that does not need rare-earth materials. Toyota engineers in Japan and the U.S. are developing an induction motor that is lighter and more efficient than the magnet-type motor used in the Prius, which uses two rare earths in its motor magnets. Other popular hybrids and plug-in electric cars in the market that use these rare-earth elements are the Nissan Leaf, the Chevrolet Volt and Honda Insight. For its second generation RAV4 EV due in 2012, Toyota is using an induction motor supplied by Tesla Motors that does not require rare-earth materials. The Tesla Roadster and the Tesla Model S use a similar motor.
With the exception of Tesla Motors, almost all new cars in the United States are sold through dealerships, so they play a crucial role in the sales of electric vehicles, and negative attitudes can hinder early adoption of plug-in electric vehicles. Dealers decide which cars they want to stock, and a salesperson can have a big impact on how someone feels about a prospective purchase. Sales people have ample knowledge of internal combustion cars while they do not have time to learn about a technology that represents a fraction of overall sales. As with any new technology, and in the particular case of advanced technology vehicles, retailers are central to ensuring that buyers, especially those switching to a new technology, have the information and support they need to gain the full benefits of adopting this new technology.
There are several reasons for the reluctance of some dealers to sell plug-in electric vehicles. PEVs do not offer car dealers the same profits as gasoline-powered car. Plug-in electric vehicles take more time to sell because of the explaining required, which hurts overall sales and sales people commissions. Electric vehicles also may require less maintenance, resulting in loss of service revenue, and thus undermining the biggest source of dealer profits, their service departments. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADS), dealers on average make three times as much profit from service as they do from new car sales. However, a NADS spokesman said there was not sufficient data to prove that electric cars would require less maintenance. According to the New York Times, BMW and Nissan are among the companies whose dealers tend to be more enthusiastic and informed, but only about 10% of dealers are knowledgeable on the new technology.
A study conducted at the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) published in 2014 found that many car dealers are less than enthusiastic about plug-in vehicles. ITS conducted 43 interviews with six automakers and 20 new car dealers selling plug-in vehicles in California’s major metro markets. The study also analyzed national and state-level J.D. Power 2013 Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) study data on customer satisfaction with new car dealerships and Tesla retail stores. The researchers found that buyers of plug-in electric vehicles were significantly less satisfied and rated the dealer purchase experience much lower than buyers of non-premium conventional cars, while Tesla Motors earned industry-high scores. According to the findings, plug-in buyers expect more from dealers than conventional buyers, including product knowledge and support that extends beyond traditional offerings.
In 2014 Consumer Reports published results from a survey conducted with 19 secret shoppers that went to 85 dealerships in four states, making anonymous visits between December 2013 and March 2014. The secret shoppers asked a number of specific questions about cars to test the salespeople’s knowledge about electric cars. The consumer magazine decided to conduct the survey after several consumers who wanted to buy a plug-in car reported to the organization that some dealerships were steering them toward gasoline-powered models. The survey found that not all sales people seemed enthusiastic about making PEV sales; a few outright discouraged it, and even one dealer was reluctant to even show a plug-in model despite having one in stock. And many sales people seemed not to have a good understanding of electric-car tax breaks and other incentives or of charging needs and costs. Consumer Reports also found that when it came to answering basic questions, sales people at Chevrolet, Ford, and Nissan dealerships tended to be better informed than those at Honda and Toyota. The survey found that most of the Toyota dealerships visited recommended against buying a Prius Plug-in and suggested buying a standard Prius hybrid instead. Overall, the secret shoppers reported that only 13 dealers “discouraged sale of EV,” with seven of them being in New York. However, at 35 of the 85 dealerships visited, the secret shoppers said sales people recommended buying a gasoline-powered car instead.
The ITS-Davis study also found that a small but influential minority of dealers have introduced new approaches to better meet the needs of plug-in customers. Examples include marketing carpool lane stickers, enrolling buyers in charging networks, and preparing incentive paperwork for customers. Some dealers assign seasoned sales people as plug-in experts, many of whom drive plug-ins themselves to learn and be familiar with the technology and relate the car’s benefits to potential buyers. The study concluded also that carmakers could do much more to support dealers selling PEVs.
Several national and local governments around the world have established tax credits, grants and other financial and non-financial incentives for consumers to purchase a plug-in electric vehicle as a policy to promote the introduction and mass market adoption of this type of vehicles.
As of 2010[update], 17 of the 27 European Union member states provide tax incentives for electrically chargeable vehicles. The incentives consist of tax reductions and exemptions, as well as of bonus payments for buyers of plug-in and hybrid vehicles. Other countries offering subsidies and tax incentives include China, the United States, Japan, South Korea, India, some provinces in Canada, and Costa Rica.
During the 1990s several highway-capable plug-in electric cars were produced in limited quantities, all were battery electric vehicles. PSA Peugeot Citroën launched several electric "Électrique" versions of its models starting in 1991, notably the Citroën C15, C25 and Berlingo and Peugeot J5 and Partner panel vans and the Citroën AX and Saxo and Peugeot 106 superminis. The Saxo was the best-selling and most produced ever electric car at the time. Other models were available through leasing mainly in California. Popular models included the General Motors EV1 and the Toyota RAV4 EV. Some of the latter were sold to the public and are in use still today. In the late 2000s began a new wave of mass production plug-in electric cars, motorcycles and light trucks. However, as of 2011[update], most electric vehicles in the world roads were low-speed, low-range neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) or electric quadricycles. Pike Research estimated there were almost 479,000 NEVs on the world roads in 2011. As of October 2015[update], the GEM neighborhood electric vehicle is the market leader in North America, with global sales of more than 50,000 units since 1998. Sales of low-speed electric vehicles experienced considerable growth in China between 2012 and 2016. As of December 2016[update], the Chinese stock of NEVs was estimated to be between 3 million and 4 million units, with most powered by lead-acid batteries.
As of December 2016[update], there were over 60 models of highway-capable plug-in electric passenger cars and light-utility vans available in the world. As of August 2015[update], there were 45 different plug-in electric passenger car models offered in Europe, 20 available in North America, 19 in China, 14 in Japan, and 7 in Australia. There are also available several commercial models of plug-in motorcycles, all-electric buses, and heavy-duty trucks.
Cumulative global sales of highway legal plug-in electric passenger cars and light utility vehicles passed the one million unit milestone in September 2015, the two million mark in December 2016, and the three million milestone was achieved in November 2017. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is the world's leading electric vehicle manufacturer. The Alliance reached sales of 500,000 electric vehicles delivered globally in October 2017, including the models manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors, now part of the Alliance.
BYD Auto is the world's second largest plug-in electric car manufacturer with more than 300,000 units delivered in China through December 2017. Its Qin plug-in hybrid is the company's top selling model with over 89,000 units sold in China through December 2017, making it the all-time best-selling plug-in electric car in the country. As of September 2017[update], Tesla ranked as the world's third largest plug-in electric vehicle manufacturer with global sales of over 250,000 units in September 2017. Its Model S was the world's top selling plug-in car for two years running, 2015 and 2016, and Model S global sales passed the 200,000 unit mark in the fourth quarter of 2017. As of early November 2016, BMW had sold 100,000 plug-in cars, accounting for global sales its BMW i cars and BMW iPerformance plug-in hybrid models.
BYD Auto ended 2015 as the world's best selling manufacturer of highway legal light-duty plug-in electric vehicles, with 61,722 units sold, mostly plug-in hybrids, followed by Tesla, with 50,580 units sold in 2015. BYD was the world's top selling plug-in car manufacturer for a second year running, with 101,183 units sold in 2016, one more time followed again by Tesla with 76,243 units delivered. In 2017 BYD ranked for the third year in a row as the global top plug-in car manufacturer with 113,669 units delivered. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance was the top selling automotive group with 119,995 units sold worldwide in 2017.
The global stock of plug-in electric vehicles between 2005 and 2009 consisted exclusively of all-electric cars, totaling about 1,700 units in 2005, and almost 6,000 in 2009. The plug-in stock rose to about 12,500 units in 2010, of which, only 350 vehicles were plug-in hybrids. By comparison, during the Golden Age of the electric car at the beginning of the 20th century, the EV stock peaked at approximately 30,000 vehicles. After the introduction of the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt in late December 2010, the first mass-production plug-in cars by major carmakers, plug-in car sales grew to about 50,000 units in 2011, jumped to 125,000 in 2012, and rose to almost 213,000 plug-in electric cars and utility vans in 2013. Sales totaled over 315,000 units in 2014, up 48% from 2013, By mid-September 2015, the global stock of highway legal plug-in electric passenger cars and utility vans reached the one million sales milestone. Sales of plug-in electric vehicles achieved the one million milestone almost twice as fast as hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). While it took four years and 10 months to reach one-million PEV sales, it took more than around nine years and a few months for HEVs to reach its first million sales. A 2016 analysis by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) found that five years after its introduction, sales of plug-in electric cars in the American market outsold conventional hybrids during the same period.
The global ratio between all-electrics (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) was 60:40 between 2014 and the first half of 2016, mainly due to the large all-electric market in China. In the U.S. and Europe, the ratio approached a 50:50 split. All-electric cars oversold plug-in hybrids in 2016, with pure electrics representing about 61% of the global stock, up from 58.9% at the end of 2015. The global ratio between battery BEVs and PHEVs was 66:34 in 2017. Cumulative global sales of highway-capable light-duty pure electric vehicles since 2010 achieved the one million unit milestone in September 2016.
In five years, global sales of highway legal light-duty plug-in electric vehicles have increased more than ten-fold, totaling more than 565,000 units in 2015. Plug-in sales in 2015 increased about 80% from 2014, driven mainly by China and Europe. Both markets passed in 2105 the U.S. as the largest plug-in electric car markets in terms of total annual sales, with China ranking as the world's best-selling plug-in electric passenger car country market in 2015. About 775,000 plug-in cars and vans were sold in 2016, and cumulative global sales totaled an estimated 2.032 million plug-in cars and utility vans by the end of 2016. The global market share of the light-duty plug-in vehicle segment achieved a record 0.86% of total new car sales in 2016, up from 0.62% in 2015 and 0.38% in 2014. Despite the rapid growth experienced, the plug-in electric car segment represented just 0.15% of the 1.4 billion motor vehicles on the world's roads by the end of 2016, up from 0.1% in 2015. Global light-duty plug-in vehicle sales passed the 3 million milestone in November 2017. About 1.2 million plug-ins cars and vans were sold worldwide in 2017, with China accounting for about half of global sales in 2017.
As of December 2016[update], with cumulative sales of more than 645,000 plug-in electric passenger cars, China has the world's largest fleet of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles, after having overtook during 2016 both the U.S. and Europe in terms of cumulative sales. This figure accounts for both, domestically produced new energy passenger cars and imports. The fleet of Chinese plug-in cars represents 43.0% of the global stock of light-duty plug-in vehicles at the end of 2016. Among country markets, the U.S. ranks second, with over 570,000 plug-in passenger cars sold through December 2016, representing 28.1% of the global stock of plug-ins. Japan has the world's third largest plug-in stock, with about 147,500 highway legal plug-in electric vehicles sold in the country between July 2009 and December 2016. As of December 2016[update], about 637,500 plug-in electric passenger cars and vans have been registered in Europe, representing 31.4% of the global stock, the second largest after China. The region was the world's largest light-duty plug-in market until October 2016.
As of December 2016[update], more than 951,000 new energy vehicles have been sold in China since 2011, making the country the world's leader when all plug-in automotive segments are considered, including passenger cars, electric buses, and commercial plug-in heavy-duty trucks. The stock of new energy vehicles in China achieved the 500,000 unit milestone in March 2016. As of December 2016[update], China had the world's largest electric bus stock with about 343,500 vehicles, up from 173,000 plug-in electric buses in 2015, both representing almost the entire global stock of plug-in buses. The European market account for 1,273 plug-in electric buses and the U.S. for only 200.
|Top 10 countries or autonomous territories by plug-in electric passenger car market share
of total new car sales between 2013 and 2017
|1||Norway||39.2%||1||Norway||29.1 %||1||Norway||22.39 %||1||Norway||13.84 %||1||Norway||6.10 %|
|2||Iceland||14%||2||Netherlands||6.4 %||2||Netherlands||9.74 %||2||Netherlands||3.87 %||2||Netherlands||5.55 %|
|3||Sweden||5.2%||3||Hong Kong||~5 %||3||Hong Kong||4.84 %||3||Iceland||2.71 %||3||Iceland||0.94 %|
|4||Netherlands||2.6%||4||Iceland||4.6 %||4||Iceland||2.93 %||4||Estonia||1.57 %||4||Japan||0.91 %|
|5||Switzerland||2.6%||5||Sweden||3.5 %||5||Sweden||2.62 %||5||Sweden||1.53 %||5||France(2)||0.83 %|
|6||Belgium||2.6 %||6||Switzerland||1.8 %||6||Denmark||2.29 %||6||Japan||1.06 %||6||Estonia||0.73 %|
|7||Finland||2.6 %||7||Belgium||1.8 %||7||Switzerland||1.98 %||7||Denmark||0.88 %||7||Sweden||0.71 %|
|8||China||2.1%||8||Austria||1.6 %||8||France||1.19 %||8||Switzerland||0.75 %||8||US||0.60 %|
|9||Austria||2.1%||9||France||1.4 %||9||UK||1.07 %||9||US||0.72 %||9||Switzerland||0.44 %|
|10||France||1.98%||10||UK||1.37 %||10||Austria||0.90 %||10||France(2)||0.70 %||10||Denmark||0.29 %|
|Selected regional markets
Plug-in electric passenger car market share between 2013 and 2017
|California||4.8% %||California||3.6 %||California||3.1 %||California||3.2 %||California||2.5 %|
|Europe||2%||Europe(1)||1.3 %||Europe(1)||1.41 %||Europe(1)||0.66 %||Europe(1)||0.49 %|
|Notes: (1) European figures correspond to European Union member countries plus EFTA countries (Norway and Switzerland)
2) The French market share corresponds to combined sales all-electric passenger cars and utility vans only (plug-in hybrids not included).
Domestically built new energy vehicle sales in China totaled 1,728,447 units between 2011 and 2017. These figures include heavy-duty commercial vehicles such buses and sanitation trucks, and only include vehicles manufactured in the country as imports are not subject to government subsidies. China is the world's largest electric bus market, and its electric bus stock grew nearly sixfold between 2014 and 2015, reaching 343,500 units in 2016, doubling the 2015 stock.
As of December 2017[update], cumulative sales of domestically produced highway legal plug-in electric passenger cars totaled over 1,2 million units since 2005, of which, a total of 579,000 were sold in 2017, representing about half of global plug-in car sales in 2017. Domestically produced cars account for about 96% of new energy car sales in China. A particular feature of the Chinese passenger plug-in market is the dominance of small entry level vehicles.
In September 2016, the Chinese stock of plug-in passenger cars reached the same level of the American stock, and by November 2016, China’s cumulative total plug-in passenger vehicles sales had surpassed those of Europe, allowing China to become the market with the world's largest stock of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles, with almost 600,000 plug-in passenger cars. China also surpassed the U.S. and Europe in terms of annual sales of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles, both in calendar years 2015 and current-year-to-date through November.
The stock of new energy vehicles sold in China since 2011 achieved the 500,000 unit milestone in March 2016, making the country the world's leader in the plug-in heavy-duty segment, including electric buses and plug-in trucks. Cumulative sales of new energy passenger cars achieved the 500,000 unit milestone in September 2016, excluding imports. As of December 2017[update], the BYD Qin plug-in hybrid, with 89,393 units sold since its inception, continued to rank as the all-time top selling plug-in electric car in the country. The BAIC EC-Series all-electric city car was Chinese the top selling plug-in car in 2017 with 78,079 units sold in China, making also the city car the world's top selling plug-in car in 2017. BYD Auto was again the top selling Chinese car manufacturer in 2017.
As of December 2017[update], cumulative sales totaled 764,666 highway legal plug-in electric cars in the U.S. since the market launch of the Tesla Roadster in 2008. As of December 2016[update], the American stock represented 28.1% of the global light-duty plug-in stock, down from about 40% in 2014. As of December 2016[update], the U.S. has the world's third largest stock of plug-in passenger cars, after having being overtook by Europe in 2015 and China during 2016. California is the largest U.S. car market, and accounts for approximately 48% percent of cumulative plug-in sales in the American market from 2011 to June 2016, and also accounts for about 50% of nationwide all-electric car sales and 47% of total plug-in hybrid sales. The other nine states that follow California's Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations have accounted for another 10% of cumulative plug-in car sales in the U.S. during the same period. California's plug-in stock totaled almost 270,000 units at the end of 2016.
Nationwide sales climbed from 17,800 units delivered in 2011 to 53,200 during 2012, and reached 97,100 in 2013. In 2014 plug-in electric car sales totaled 123,248 units, and fell to 114,248 in 2015. A total of 157,181 plug-in cars were sold in 2016, up 37.6% from 2015, and rose to 194,479 in 2017, up 23.7% from 2016. The market share of plug-in electric passenger cars increased from 0.14% of new car sales in 2011 to 0.37% in 2012, 0.62% in 2013, and reached 0.75% of new car sales in 2014. As plug-in car sales slowed down during 2015, the segment's market share fell to 0.66% of new car sales, but increased to 0.90% in 2016. The plug-in segment passed the 1% market share for the first time in 2017, with 1.13% of the country's total annual new car sales. The highest-ever monthly market share for plug-in electric vehicles was achieved in December 2017 with 1.58% of new car sales. The previous record was achieved in September 2017. Monthly sales of plug-in cars in the American market passed the 1% mark for the first time in September 2016 (1.12%). December 2017 is also the best monthly plug-in sales volume on record ever, with 25,149 units delivered.
As of December 2017[update], Japan had a stock of light-duty plug-in vehicles of about 207,200. As of 2016[update], the Japanese stock consisted of 86,390 all-electric cars (57.1%) and 64,860 plug-in hybrids (42.9%). Plug-in segment sales climbed from 1,080 units in 2009 to 12,630 in 2011, and reached 24,440 in 2012. Global sales of pure electric cars in 2012 were led by Japan with a 28% market share of the segment sales. Japan ranked second after the U.S. in terms of its share of plug-in hybrid sales in 2012, and until 2016, the country ranked third.
The plug-in segment sales remained flat in 2014 with 30,390 units sold, and a market share of 1.06% of total new car sales in the country (kei cars not included). Sales totaled 24,660 units in 2015 and 24,851 units in 2016. The rate of growth of the Japanese plug-in segment slowed down from 2013, with annual sales falling behind Europe, the U.S. and China during 2014 and 2015. The segment market share fell from 0.68% in 2014 to 0.59% in 2016. The decline in plug-in car sales reflects the Japanese government and the major domestic carmakers decision to adopt and promote hydrogen fuel cell vehicles instead of plug-in electric vehicles. Sales recovered in 2017, with almost 56,000 plug-in cars sold, and the segment's market share reached 1.1%. Since December 2010, Nissan has sold 72,494 Leafs through December 2016, making the Leaf the all-time best-selling plug-in car in the country.
As of December 2017[update], about 943,600 plug-in electric passenger cars and vans have been registered in Europe, making the region the world's second largest after China. As of December 2017[update], European sales of plug-in cars and vans are led by Norway with over 200,000 units registered, followed by France with almost 158,000, and the UK with over 137,000 units. Norway was the top selling plug-in country market in Europe in 2016 and 2017. The other top selling European markets in terms of cumulative registrations are Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Cumulative sales of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles in Europe passed the 500,000 unit milestone in May 2016. Norway passed the 100,000th registered plug-in unit milestone in April 2016, France passed the same milestone in September 2016, and the Netherlands in November 2016. The UK achieved the 100,000 unit mark in March 2017.
As of December 2015[update], France ranked as the largest European market for light-duty electric commercial vehicles or utility vans, accounting for nearly half of all vans sold in the European Union. The French market share of all-electric utility vans reached a market share of 1.22% of new vans registered in 2014, and 1.30% in 2015. Denmark is the second largest European market, with over 2,600 plug-in electric vans sold in 2015, with an 8.5% market share of all vans sold in the country. Most of the van sold in the Danish market are plug-in hybrids, accounting for almost all of the plug-in hybrid van sales across the EU. European sales of plug-in electric cars passed 200,000 units for the first time in 2016, and the plug-in segment achieved a market share of 1.3%. Sales in 2017 exceeded 300,000 units with a market share of 2%.
As of December 2017[update], the stock of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles registered in Norway totaled more than 200,000 units, making Norway the European country with the largest stock of plug-in cars and vans, and the fourth largest in the world. As of 31 December 2017[update], and accounting for both new and used imports registrations, the Norwegian light-duty plug-in electric fleet consisted of 141,951 all-electric passenger cars and vans, and 67,171 plug-in hybrids. The registered plug-in stock includes almost 2,700 all-electric vans and about 24,500 used imported electric cars from neighboring countries as of December 2017[update]. The government's target of 50,000 all-electric cars on Norwegian roads was reached in April 2015, more than two years earlier than expected, thanks to the successful policies implemented to promote electric vehicle adoption that include fiscal and non-monetary incentives. The milestone of 100,000 light-duty plug-in electric vehicles registered was achieved in April 2016, and 100,000 all-electric vehicles in December 2016, representing about 10% of all pure electric cars that have been sold worldwide.
The Norwegian fleet of plug-in electric cars is one of the cleanest in the world because 98% of the electricity generated in the country comes from hydropower. Norway, with about 5.2 million people, is the country with the largest EV ownership per capita in the world. In March 2014, Norway became the first country where over one in every 100 registered passenger cars is plug-in electric. The plug-in car market penetration reached 2% in March 2015, passed 3% in December 2015, and achieved 5% at the end of 2016.
As of December 2017[update], the stock of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles registered in France totaled 149,797 plug-in cars and electric utility vans delivered since 2010, As of December 2016[update], the country ranked as the third largest plug-in market in Europe after Norway and the Netherlands, and the world's sixth. As of December 2017[update], and accounting for registrations since 2010, the plug-in electric stock consisted consisted of 92,256 all-electric passenger cars, 25,269 all-electric utility vans, and 32,272 plug-in hybrids. The stock of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles registered in France passed the 100,000 unit milestone in October 2016.As of December 2015[update], France is the country with the world's largest market for light-duty electric commercial vehicles or utility vans. Nearly half of the vans sold in the European Union are sold in France as a result of a national purchase incentive scheme, which French companies have embraced. The market share of all-electric utility vans reached a market share of 1.22% of new vans registered in 2014, and 1.30% in 2015.
More than 137,000 light-duty plug-in electric vehicles have been registered in the UK up until December 2017, including about 5,100 plug-in commercial vans. Since the launch of the Plug-In Car Grant in January 2011, a total of 127,509 eligible cars have been registered through December 2017, and, as of December 2016[update], the number of claims made through the Plug-in Van Grant scheme totaled 2,938 units since the launch of the scheme in 2012. Before the introduction of series production plug-in vehicles, a total of 1,096 all-electric vehicles were registered in the UK between 2006 and December 2010. Before 2011, the G-Wiz, a heavy quadricycle, listed as the top-selling EV for several years. As of December 2016[update], the UK had the fourth largest European stock of light-duty plug-in vehicles, and with 36,907 plug-in passenger cars registered in 2016, ranked as the second best selling European market that year after Norway.
As of December 2017[update], a total of 129,246 plug-in electric cars have been registered in Germany since 2010. The country is the largest passenger car market in Europe, however, as of December 2016[update], ranked as the fifth largest plug-in market in Europe. About 80% of the plug-in cars registered in the country through September 2016 were registered since January 2014. The official German definition of electric vehicles changed at the beginning of 2013, before that, official statistics only registered all-electric vehicles because plug-in hybrids were accounted together with conventional hybrids. As a result, the registrations figures for 2012 and older do not account for total new plug-in electric car registrations.
A record of 54,492 plug-in cars were registered in 2017, up 217% the previous year, and consisting of 29,436 plug-in hybrids and 25,056 all-electric cars. Registrations in 2017 achieved a market share of 1.58%. The top selling models in 2017 were the Audi A3 e-tron (4,454), Renault Zoe (4,322), and BMW i3 (4,319).
As of 31 December 2017[update], there were 121,542 highway legal light-duty plug-in electric vehicles registered in the Netherlands, consisting of 98,217 range-extended and plug-in hybrids, 21,115 pure electric cars, and 2,210 all-electric light utility vans. When buses, trucks, motorcycles, quadricycles and tricycles are accounted for, the Dutch plug-in electric-drive fleet climbs to 123,499 units. The country's electric vehicle stock reaches 165,886 units when fuel cell electric vehicles (43), mopeds (4,376), electric bicycles (37,652), and microcars (316) are accounted for. A distinct feature of the Dutch plug-in market is dominance of plug-in hybrids, which represented 81% of the country's stock of passenger plug-in electric cars and vans registered at the end of December 2017.
The Netherlands listed as the world's third best-selling country market for light-duty plug-in vehicles in 2015, with 43,971 units registered that year. Until December 2015, the Netherlands had Europe's largest fleet light-duty plug-in vehicles. Plug-in sales fell sharply during 2016, and as a result, by early October 2016, the Netherlands listed as the third largest European plug-in market, after being surpassed during the year by both Norway and France. As of July 2016[update], the Netherlands had the second largest plug-in market concentration per capita in the world after Norway. The stock of light-duty plug-in electric vehicles registered in the Netherlands achieved the 100,000 unit milestone in November 2016. However, due to changes in tax rules, the plug-in market share declined from 9.9% in 2015, to 6.7% in 2016, and fell to 2.6% in 2017.
The world's top selling highway-capable all-electric car ever is the Nissan Leaf with global sales of more than 300,000 units through early January 2018. The United States is the world's largest Leaf market with 114,827 units sold through December 2017. The other two top markets are Japan with 74,494 units delivered up until December 2016, and Europe with about 66,000 units through November 2016. The European market is led by Norway with 19,407 new units registered up until December 2016, and the UK with 15,000 September 2016.
Ranking second is the all-electric Tesla Model S, with global deliveries of more than 200,000 cars as of November 2017[update], with the United States as its leading market with about 118,817 units delivered through December 2017. As of September 2016[update], Norway ranked as the Model S largest overseas market, with 11,763 new units registered, followed by China with 5,524 units registered through September 2015. The Tesla Model S was the world's top selling plug-in car for two years in a row, 2015 and 2016. The BAIC EC-Series all-electric city car ranked as the world's top selling plug-in car in 2017 with 78,079 units sold in China. The world's all-time top selling all-electric light utility vehicle is the Renault Kangoo Z.E., with global sales of 25,205 electric vans delivered through December 2016.
The following table presents global sales of the top selling highway-capable electric cars and light utility vehicles produced between 2008 and December 2016. The table includes all-electric passenger cars and utility vans with cumulative sales of about or over 20,000 units since the introduction of the first modern production all-electric car in 2008, the Tesla Roadster.
|Top selling highway legal electric cars and light
utility vehicles produced between 2008 and December 2016(1)
|Nissan Leaf||Dec 2010||+ 250,000||Dec 2016|
|Tesla Model S||Jun 2012||158,159||Dec 2016|
|BMW i3||Nov 2013||~ 65,500||Dec 2016|
|Renault Zoe||Dec 2012||61,205||Dec 2016|
|BAIC EV series||2012||42,626(3)||Dec 2016|
|Mitsubishi i-MiEV family||Jul 2009||~ 37,600||Jun 2016|
|BYD e6||Oct 2011||34,862(3)||Dec 2016|
|Tesla Model X||Sep 2015||25,524||Dec 2016|
|Renault Kangoo Z.E.||Oct 2011||25,205||Dec 2016.|
|Volkswagen e-Golf||May 2014||24,498(4)||Jun 2016|
|JAC J3/iEV family||2010||23,241(3)||Jun 2016|
|Cumulative global sales 2008 – Dec 2016||0ver 1,230,000||Dec 2016|
(1) Vehicles are considered highway-capable if able to achieve at least a top speed of
100 km/h (62 mph). Several models, such as the Chery QQ3 EV/eQ EV, Kandi EV and
the Zotye Zhidou E20, are highway legal in China but do not meet this requirement.
(2) BMW i3 sales includes the REx variant.
(3) Sales in main China only. (4) Sales in Europe and the U.S. only.
As of December 2016[update], the Volt/Ampera family is the world's best selling plug-in hybrid and the third best selling plug-in electric car after the Nissan Leaf and the Model S. Chevrolet Volt and Opel/Vauxhaul Ampera combined sales totaled about 134,500 units worldwide through December 2016, including just over 10,000 Opel/Vauxhall Amperas sold in Europe through June 2016. Volt sales are led by the United States with 113,489 units delivered, followed by Canada with 8,884 units, both through December 2016. The Netherlands is the leading European market with about 6,000 Amperas and Volts registered as of December 2015[update].
Ranking next is the Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV with around 119,500 units sold worldwide as of December 2016[update]. As of March 2016[update], Europe ranked as the Outlander P-HEV leading market with 65,529 units sold, followed by Japan with 33,730 units. European sales are led by the UK with 26,600 units sold through December 2016, followed by the Netherlands with 25,984 units registered by the end of 2016.
Ranking third is the first generation Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid with 75,400 units sold worldwide through April 2016. The United States is the market leader with 44,767 units delivered through December 2016. Japan ranks next with about 22,100 units, followed by Europe with 10,500 units, both, through April 2016. The leading European market is the Netherlands with 4,134 units registered as of 30 November 2015[update]. Production of the first generation Prius Plug-in ended in June 2015. The second generation Prius plug-in hybrid, the Toyota Prius Prime, was released in the United States in November 2016.
The following table presents cumulative sales through December 2016 of those plug-in hybrid models that have sold about 10,000 units since the introduction of the first modern production plug-in hybrid vehicle in December 2008, the BYD F3DM.
|Top selling highway legal plug-in hybrid electric cars
between 2008 and December 2016
|Chevrolet Volt(1)||Dec 2010||~134,500||Dec 2016|
|Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV||Jan 2013||~119,500||Dec 2016|
|Toyota Prius PHV||Jan 2012||~77,850||Dec 2016|
|BYD Qin(2)||Dec 2013||68,655||Dec 2016|
|BYD Tang(2)||Jun 2015||49,780||Dec 2016|
|Ford Fusion Energi(3)||Feb 2013||43,713||Dec 2016|
|Ford C-Max Energi(4)||Oct 2012||35,705||Dec 2016|
|SAIC Roewe 550 PHEV(2)||Nov 2013||26,856||Dec 2016|
|Volkswagen Golf GTE||Aug 2014||24,089||Jun 2016|
|Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid||Nov 2012||21,185||Jun 2016|
|Audi A3 Sportback e-tron(5)||Aug 2014||18,467||Jun 2016|
|BMW i8||Aug 2014||10,000||Nov 2016|
|Volvo XC90 T8(5)||Aug 2015||9,044||Jun 2016|
|Cumulative global sales Dec 2008 – Dec 2016||~800,000||Dec 2016|
|Notes: (1) Includes Vauxhall/Opel Ampera sales in Europe, and Holden Volt in Australia and New Zealand.
This figure includes over 10,000 Opel/Vauxhall Amperas sold in Europe through December 2016.
(2) Sales in China only. (3) Sales in the U.S. and Canada only. (4) Only includes European sales for 2015.
(5) Only accounts for CYTD 2016 sales in Europe, U.S. and Canada.
There are now more than 140,000 fully electric cars (BEVs) on Norwegian roads. When plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are added, the number of electric cars surpasses 200,000.
Shai Agassi: "We [Better Place] don't let you [the customer] buy a battery; we [Better Place] buy the battery.
During the Global Meeting, the Alliance, which recently reached the historic milestone of aggregate sales of 500,000 electric vehicles worldwide (Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi).
Last year, China overtook both the US and Europe in annual sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. This year, it will move ahead of both the US and Europe in cumulative plug-in vehicle sales.
Denmark's PEV market shared in 2014 was 0.88% of total new car sales.
Switzerland's PEV market shared in 2014 was 0.75% of total new car sales.
Tesla delivered approximately 22,200 vehicles in Q4, of which 12,700 were Model S and 9,500 were Model X.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the UK’s best-selling Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. At its introduction in 2014 it effectively created the ultra-low emission vehicle segment, notching up 10,000 sales in the UK within the first ten months and amassing a total sales figure of 26,600 by the end of 2016.
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