Electric vehicle (EV) is a vehicle with one or more electric motors. EVs can be powered from off-vehicle sources, onboard generators or onboard storage. Off-vehicle sources can be, for instance, railway electrification systems, overhead lines or power strips buried under the road. These sources are used mainly by trains, trams, trolleys and buses. Onboard generators can be, for example, fuel cells (fuel cell vehicles), solar panels (solar vehicles) and internal combustion engines (hybrid electric vehicles). For onboard storage of electricity, EVs use mainly batteries (typically lithium-ion batteries).
Electric vehicles include a huge range of vehicles, starting from electric scooters all the way to trains and planes. When talking about private cars, an electric car usually refers to a car that is propelled only by one or more electric motors, using energy stored in batteries (also called a pure electric car). These vehicles are usually charged by plugging them into a charging station. The stations can be installed to the owner’s house, but there are also (usually faster) charging stations available in public areas and businesses. With full batteries, the driving range of electric cars can vary from 80 to 700 km. This depends, among other things, on the number and type of batteries, the weight of the vehicle and the weather.
The environmental advantage of electric vehicles is that they do not directly pollute the air. However, as long as EVs use electricity generated with methods that do pollute the air, then using them is not much more environmentally friendly than using vehicles with an internal combustion engine. But with the rise of renewable and sustainable energy, this is already changing.