Electric vehicles are actually very old and first came into existence in the 1850’s, alongside petrol powered vehicles. After a long fought battle between the two, gasoline vehicles won out due to the cheaper price of petrol and the ability of gas powered engines to run for greater distances. The energy crises of the 1970s and 80s brought a short lived interest in electric cars, but in the mid 2000s a renewed interest began, due to major advancements in battery technology, the global concern over pollution, and the high price of oil.
The Toyota Prius, the first mass-produced hybrid car, was introduced in 2003 and sales have been consistently strong. The Nissan Leaf, the first mass-produced all electric car, was introduced in December 2010.
The age of the electric vehicle has definitely arrived. In the next three years over a million EV are expected to be sold and by 2020 over 5% of all road vehicles are expected to be electric powered with percentages quickly rising from there. Most major car manufacturers are set to introduce all electric vehicles in the coming year. Overall some 20 EV models are scheduled to hit the global market in 2012. This includes models from Toyota, Honda, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Nissan, Renault, Mitsubishi, BMW, Tesla and others.
While the price of an electric car is slightly more than that of gasoline powered vehicles, most Western governments, in order to encourage clean transportation, are offering tax rebates that will offset this difference. For instance, the US House of Representatives passed legislation in late 2008, enumerating tax credits ranging from $2500 to $7500 for electric vehicle buyers. In addition, overall EV prices are expected to decrease as demand grows. When it comes to fuel costs, electric based vehicles come out on top, as they cost significantly less to power than petrol based vehicles. With the above benefits, the future of EVs looks bright indeed.