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The global electric vehicle market has been forecast to exceed 4.6 million units by 2018, driven by growing environmental concerns, and the quest for alternative powertrains.
An electric vehicle, also referred to as an electric drive vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. Three main types of electric vehicles exist, those that are directly powered from an external power station, those that are powered by stored electricity originally from an external power source, and those that are powered by an on-board electrical generator, such as an internal combustion engine (a hybrid electric vehicle) or a hydrogen fuel cell.
Electric vehicles include electric cars, electric trains, electric lorries, electric aeroplanes, electric boats, electric motorcycles and scooters and electric spacecraft. Proposals exist for electric tanks, diesel submarines operating on battery power are, for the duration of the battery run, electric submarines, and some of the lighter UAVs are electrically-powered.
Electric vehicles first came into existence in the mid-19th century, when electricity was among the preferred methods for motor vehicle propulsion, providing a level of comfort and ease of operation that could not be achieved by the gasoline cars of the time.
The internal combustion engine (ICE) is the dominant propulsion method for motor vehicles but electric power has remained commonplace in other vehicle types, such as trains and smaller vehicles of all types.
2012 was supposed to be the year of the plug-in car but, as the year draws to a close, it looks like the electric vehicle market still isn't quite fully charged.
By the end of 2012, most major automakers will have a plug-in car of some type on the market, but plug-in cars still make up just one tenth of one percent of all cars sold in America. So have automakers gotten ahead of themselves and produced too many?
Promoters of electric vehicles say no. They acknowledge that while there are many types of electric cars out there, they're not available in enough places or in large enough numbers.
The Toyota Prius, the first mass-produced hybrid gasoline-electric car, was introduced worldwide in 2001. As of February 2012, a total of 2.5 million Prius cars have been sold worldwide and it is the world's best selling hybrid.
As of July 2012, series production all-electric cars available in some countries include the Tesla Roadster, REVAi, Buddy, Mitsubishi i MiEV, Tazzari Zero, Nissan Leaf, Smart ED, Wheego Whip LiFe, Mia electric, BYD e6, Bolloré Bluecar, Renault Fluence Z.E., Ford Focus Electric, BMW ActiveE, Coda, and Tesla Model S. The Leaf, with more than 32,000 units sold worldwide by early July 2012, is the world's top-selling highway-capable all-electric car.
Production within the electric vehicle market is gearing up all over the world, and automakers are planning to launch an increasing variety of new models over the next few years.
For more information on the electric vehicle market, see the latest research: Electric Vehicle Market
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