An electric vehicle, or EV, is avehiclewith one or moreelectric motorsfor propulsion.This is also referred to as an electric drive vehicle. The motion may be provided either bywheelsor propellersdriven by rotary motors, or in the case of tracked vehicles, bylinear motors.Unlike an internal combustion engine that is tuned to specifically operate with a particular fuel such as gasoline or diesel, an electric drive vehicle needs electricity, whichcomes from sources such as batteries, fuel cells or a generator. This flexibility allows thedrive train of the vehicle to remain the same, while the fuel source can be changed.Theenergyused to propel the vehicle may be obtained from several sources, some of them more ecological than others:
By the 20th century,electric carsand rail transport were commonplace, with commercialelectric automobiles having the majority of the market. Over time their general-purposecommercial use reduced to specialist roles, as platform trucks,forklift trucks, tow tractors
and urban delivery vehicles, such as the iconicBritishmilk float; for most of the 20thcentury, the UK was the world's largest user of electric road vehicles.
Electrified trains were used for coaltransport as the motors did not use preciousoxygenin the mines.Switzerland's lack of natural fossil resources forced the rapid electrificationof their rail network.One of the earliestrechargeable batteries- the Nickel-iron battery-was favored byEdisonfor use inelectric cars.Electric vehicles were among the earliest automobiles, and before the preeminence of light, powerfulinternal combustion engines, electric automobiles held many vehicle landspeed and distance records in the early 1900s. They were produced byBaker Electric,Columbia Electric,Detroit Electric, and others and at one point in history out-soldgasoline-powered vehicles.In the 1930s,National City Lines, which was a partnership of General Motors,Firestone,andStandard Oil of Californiapurchased many electrictramnetworks across the countryto dismantle them and replace them with GM buses. The partnership was convicted of conspiring to monopolize the sale of equipment and supplies to their subsidiarycompaniesconspiracy,but were acquitted of conspiring to monopolize the provision of transportation services. Electric tram line technologies could be used to rechargeBEVsandPHEVson the highway while the user drives, providing virtually unrestricted drivingrange. The technology is old and well established (see :Conduit current collection, Nickel-iron battery). The infrastructure has not been built.In January 1990, General Motors' President introduced its EV concept two-seater, the"Impact," at the Los Angeles Auto Show. That September, the California Air ResourcesBoard mandated major-automaker sales of EVs, in phases starting in 1998. From 1996 to1998 GM produced 1117 EV1s, 800 of which were made available through 3-year leases.Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan and Toyota also produced limited numbers of EVsfor California drivers. In 2003, upon the expiration of EV1leases, GM crushed them. Thecrushing has variously been attributed to 1) the auto industry's successful Federal Courtchallenge to California'sZero-emissions vehiclemandate, 2) a federal regulationrequiring GM to produce and maintain spare parts for the few thousands EV1s and 3) thesuccess of the Oil and Auto industries' media campaign to reduce public acceptance of electric vehicles.EV1