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WIREs Energy Environ.
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The future of electric vehicles: prospects and impediments

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In recent years, about a century after reaching their first prime in the early 1900s, electric vehicles (EVs) have received growing attention again. Politicians in various countries have recognized EVs as a promising technological alternative to fossil fuel driven cars in combating global warming. However, for a broader market penetration considerable barriers have to be removed. The most important are high investment costs and low driving ranges, both caused by the major weakness of EVs—their battery. The core objective of this article is to investigate the future market prospects of various types of EVs, with the economics of EVs in comparison to conventional cars playing a key role. Only if the final driving costs can be considerably reduced will EVs gain significant market shares. In addition to this also the environmental aspects are very important because they are a major motivation in supporting and promotion of EVs. However, the policies and measures implemented vary between countries, meaning there is huge potential for an exchange of lessons learned. The major conclusion of this article is that future prospects of EVs are only bright if the costs of batteries can be brought down through technological learning and if improved storage can lead to higher driving ranges. However, to harvest the full environmental benefits of EVs the electricity for EVs must be generated from renewable energy sources. WIREs Energy Environ 2015, 4:521–536. doi: 10.1002/wene.160 This article is categorized under: Energy Systems Economics > Economics and Policy Energy and Development > Economics and Policy
Energetic WTT performance of various types of fuels for EVs in comparison to gasoline and diesel cars.
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Electric driving range of various types of electric vehicles.
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Architectures of various types of electric vehicles investigated in this article.
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Stock of rechargeable EVs and of non‐residential ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ charging stations in 2012.
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Costs of charging stations versus charging time and share of the European EVs charging infrastructure in 2011.
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Global sale of HEV, BEV, and PHEV in 2012.
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Development of the global stock of EVs.
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Major milestones in the history of EVs.
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Scenarios for the development of the total costs of mobility of various types of EVs in comparison to conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles.
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Structure of total transport costs of various types of EVs in comparison to conventional cars in 2050.
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Development of investment costs of the considered powertrains over time considering technological learning, 2010–2050.
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Overall scenarios for worldwide market diffusion of EVs, 2010–2050.
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Structure of total transport costs of various types of EVs in comparison to conventional cars in 2012.
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Investment costs of various types of EVs in comparison to gasoline and diesel cars as of 2012 (Power of cars 80 kW).
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Total investment costs of EVs related to power of car.
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WTW‐balance of CO2 emissions per 100 km driven for various types of EVs in comparison to gasoline and diesel cars, 2010 versus 2050 (Power of car: 80 kW).
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Scenarios for fuel intensity of new passenger cars per 100 km driven for various types of EVs in comparison to gasoline and diesel cars, 2010–2050 (Power of car: 80 kW).
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