Transportation Deployment Casebook/2015/Electric Cars



Electric Cars are also known as Hybrid Vehicle or Green Vehicle. These are run on an electric motor, which uses electricity from electricity storing batteries or rechargeable batteries. Electric technology has been developed but for the commercial or public purpose it is still in the development phase. It is starting to make its mark in the market for the future. These cars are more energy efficient and environment friendly than the fuel cars. Electric cars are the next phase of the fuel combustion engine cars. So they are in competition with the old technology. Fuel prices and other factors have delayed the advancement of this technology. Fuel crisis in the 70’s created some interest in the advancement of electric cars. But now its environment friendly design is forcing the market to adopt to new sustainable methods and modes of transportation. Electric cars give us that alternate. Low noise and quite running is one of its main features. But low carbon emission helps us create a better market for its usage in this time. There have been many other technologies to create better low emission cars. Hydrogen car is one example, but it still lacks the technological advancement and market development to compete in this period. Charging has been a problem for the electric run vehicles. Many countries are in the phase of developing charging roads, charging meters at parking spaces and fast chargers to help charge these vehicles in less time. Now the technology is advancing due to low cost and high potential chargeable batteries to run this technology. Presently one reason for its lacking behind is its high cost. Its development may need to reduce its development cost to compete with the fuel run cars. There are also other sources of electricity run cars relying on other technologies than charging points to charge batteries. There are solar powered vehicles which consume power and charge from the solar panels mostly installed on the roof of the car. Historically electric cars faced a lot of trouble competing with the fuel run cars. Fuel run cars were cheaper to buy and run around the city and long distances. Electric cars technology is advancing now to meet the future requirements and it is working on reducing the manufacturing cost of these vehicles to sustain in the future market. Electric technology has been here too long but it was not developed enough to travel long distances and it cost more money to buy these cars in comparison with the fuel based cars of the present technology. Now the world is more concerned about environment destruction of this time. Temperature around the world is increasing every year and ice caps are melting faster than expected. This created a problem for the world for the its survival itself. World is adapting new production methods to reduce carbon emission. Factories are installing alternate methods of fuel to reduce carbon emission and air filtration is a priority for production companies. Electric cars come in this sense as low carbon emission for the environment friendly design.


Technology has developed a lot since the beginning of transportation. Early people started from self carriage to animal carriage. Later with the advancement of wheel animal pulled carrier vehicles were introduced to help pull the people and the goods from one point to the another. Tracks were put to pull carts easily by animals. Advancement in technology changes from animal pulled to steam pulled carts and vehicles. Invention of cycle created a need for paved streets and freedom of movement to any place without the restriction of the tracks. Road pavement helped in the advancement of steam engine pulled cars which later advanced to fuel run cars. Now the need have changed for the betterment of the environment. Many companies are working on establishing the electric car designs to help create more sustainable designs for easy access and low pollution.

Invention of the Electric CarsEdit

One of the main restriction of electric cars was storage of electricity. Electric run motors technology was there from the start of 19th century. Rechargeable lead acid battery invention by French physicist Gaston Plante was a beginning of a new age for electric cars. Thomas Parker built the first running electric car in London in 1884. He was responsible for electrifying the London Underground. His interest in the fuel efficient cars led him built design cars run on rechargeable batteries. The concept of electric car developed around the 20th century but there was some interest in the late 1800 also. In the early days steam technology had been developed and major mode of transportation were run by steam engines. Gasoline engine were not developed much during this time so the electric vehicles were more famous. With the advancement of internal combustion engine with an electric starter, electric cars lost their advantage over the fuel run cars. The production of electric cars stopped in US but some European nations still struggling with this technology. Air pollution helped in regulating the fuel run cars to reduce emission and the need for the electric run vehicle was increasing. But the technology still lacked the charge to carry vehicles long distances and batteries needed to get charged with short intervals. The energy crisis in 1970’s helped in the developing the interest to work on this technology. With the change of the century interest to electric or fuel and electric combined cars helped develop small electric and big hybrid cars or vans. California electric automaker Tesla Motors began development in 2004 as Tesla Roadster. As of march 2012 Tesla had sold more than 2250 roadsters in 31 countries.[1] Other countries like Japan, Australia followed by European countries and Canada started developing electric cars in the manufacturing by Mitsubishi and Nissan companies. In February 2011, the Mitsubishi I MiEV became the first electric car to sell more than 10,000 units, including the models badged in Europe as the Citroën C-Zero and Peugeot iOn. Several months later, the Nissan Leaf overtook the i MiEV as the best selling all- electric car ever.[2] In June 2014 Tesla Motors announced it was making its patents open source freely available to speed up production of electric cars and spur competition, at a time that electric cars comprised less than 1% of all automobiles sold in the United States.[3]

Market DevelopmentEdit

One of the biggest restriction in the market development for electric cars is the high purchasing price. These cars have proved to run with low cost but there are many other factors to consider to promote the selling of this technology. Electric cars are more expensive than fuel combustion engine cars. The cost of battery has been the problem to advance this technology. But the technology has been working on to reduce the cost of batteries by mass production. Tesla motors is using small size cells to run their electric cars which are cheaper than the other lithium batteries. Their batteries cost $200 to purchase. This helps in reduction of the cost of cars using Tesla Technologies. The New York Times estimated the cost of automobile battery pack between $400 to $500 per kilowatt-hour.[4] The said batteries also reduce the maintenance cost as they are said to have more years to run than the normal batteries. Market development don’t stop at the purchase cost reduction, like fuel run cars have Gasoline station at every point. But electric cars will need a major establishment of charging points to develop a network charging modules across the city, at parking spaces and in between long roads etc.

Birthing PhaseEdit

As mentioned earlier the electric run motor technology had been developed from the early 1900’s. But battery technology and its limitations didn’t help in the market development of this technology. The energy crisis in 1970 helped in developing the interest for this technology. In 1955 US Air Pollution Control Act helped in concerns of growing carbon emission problem and this law was later amended to establish regulatory standards for vehicles.[5] In 1959, American Motor Corporation and Sonotone Corporation planned a car to be powered by self charging battery.[6]

Growth PhaseEdit

This technology faced a lot of trouble in competing with the Internal combustion engine run vehicles. Environmental concerns helped in the growth of this technology. Purchase price was also an issue to make this product for the market demand. Battery prices are now reducing in the 21st century, which helps in the growth of this technology. Concerns with rapidly decreasing air quality caused by automobiles prompted the U.S. Congress to pass the Electric Vehicle Development Act of 1966 that provided for electric car research by universities and laboratories.[7] In the 2011 State of the Union address, U.S. President Barack Obama expressed an ambitious goal of putting one million plug-in electric vehicles on the roads in the U.S. by 2015.[8] The objectives include "reducing dependence on oil and ensuring that America leads in the growing electric vehicle manufacturing industry."[9]

Mature PhaseEdit

It is too early to decide about the mature phase of this technology. This is still in its growth phase. Same goes with decline phase.


US Electric Vehicle Sales

Following is the data to estimate a three-parameter logistic function:

S(t) = K/[1+exp(-b(t-t0)]


S(t) is the status measure, (e.g. Passenger-km traveled)

t is time (usually in years),

t0 is the inflection time (year in which 1/2 K is achieved),

K is saturation status level,

b is a coefficient.

K and b are to be estimated.


• William L. Garrison, David M. Levinson, “The Transportation Experience”, Oxford University Press 2014 Second Edition.

• Preston L. Schiller, Eric C. Bruun, and Jeffrey R. Kenworthy. (2010). An introduction to sustainable transportation; Policy, planning and implementation. London, UK: Earthscan.

• Sperling, Daniel; Gordon, Deborah (2009). Two billion cars: driving toward sustainability. Oxford University Press.

• David B. Sandalow, ed. (2009). Plug-In Electric Vehicles: What Role for Washington? (1st. ed.). The Brookings Institution. pp. 1–6.

  1. "Tesla Model S deliveries will start June 22; crash testing returns five stars *UPDATE".
  2. "Best-selling electric car". Guinness World Records. 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  3. Maria Gallucci (2014-06-13). "Tesla Motors Opens Patents: Elon Musk's Electric Cars Now Part Of 'Open Source Movement'". International Business Times. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
  4. Paul Stenquist (2012-06-25). "Tesla Model S Offers a Lesson in Electric-Vehicle Economics". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  5. Anderson, Curtis D.; Anderson, Judy (2010). Electric and Hybrid Cars: a History. McFarland. p. 75. ISBN 9780786457427. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  6. "Rearview Mirror". Ward's Auto World. 2000-04-01. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  7. Anderson, Curtis D.; Anderson, Judy (2010). Electric and Hybrid Cars: a History. McFarland. p. 75. ISBN 9780786457427. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  8. "Raising the Volt-Age: Is Obama's Goal of 1 Million Electric Vehicles on U.S. Highways by 2015 Realistic?". Scientific American. 2011-02-18. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
  9. "One Million Electric Vehicles By 2015 - February 2011 Status Report" (PDF). U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved 2012-10-22.