EVs 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.
Modern internal combustion engines have been the dominant propulsion method for motor vehicles for almost 100 years, but electric power has remained commonplace in other vehicle types, such as trains and smaller vehicles of all types.
During the last few decades, environmental impact of the petroleum-based transportation infrastructure, along with the fear of peak oil, has led to renewed interest in an electric transportation infrastructure. A key advantage of hybrid or plug-in electric vehicles is regenerative braking due to their capability to recover energy normally lost during braking as electricity is stored in the on-board battery.
By some estimates electric vehicles sales may constitute almost a third of new-car sales by the end of 2030.
EVs typically charge from conventional power outlets or dedicated charging stations, a process that typically takes hours, but can be done overnight and often gives a charge that is sufficient for normal everyday usage.
Many electric designs have limited range, due to the low energy density of batteries compared to the fuel of an internal combustion engine vehicle. EVs also often have long recharge times compared to the relatively fast process of refuelling a tank. This is further complicated by the current scarcity of public charging stations.
“Range anxiety” is a label for consumer concern about EV range.