Battery Electric Vehicles

A battery electric vehicle uses batteries to power an electric motor to propel the vehicle.  BEVs produce no tailpipe emissions.  The batteries are recharged from the grid and from regenerative braking.  Types of battery electric vehicles in widespread use today include low-speed, neighborhood electric vehicles, airport ground support equipment, and off-road industrial equipment such as forklifts.

Three types of batteries are found in electric cars:

  • Lead-acid batteries: Oldest type of rechargeable battery. Cheap to produce and compatible with existing electronics. However, messy, toxic and prone to explosion.
  • Lithium ion batteries [Li-ion]: High energy-to-mass ratio (which means less weight per unit of stored energy). They retain their stored energy when not in use but lose capacity with age. Considered to have the most potential for mass-market EVs but the most advanced models are too expensive. NiMH batteries are toxic and require special handling to recycle.
  • Nickel metal hydride [NiMH]: Good energy-to-mass ratio (a.k.a. energy density). Non-toxic which makes for easy recycling. The major disadvantage to nickel metal hydride batteries is that they don't hold a charge very well when they aren't being used.

The problems with battery technology explain why there is so much excitement around fuel cells. Compared to batteries, fuel cells will be smaller, much lighter and instantly rechargeable

Advantages of battery electric vehicles (BEVs):

  • Zero tailpipe emissions (no CO2 or other pollutants)
  • Use of cleaner electric energy produced through advanced natural gas and coal gasification technologies
  • Energy security by displacing imported petroleum with domestic generated electricity Overnight battery recharging (Neighborhood electric vehicles are recharged by plugging into a standard 110-volt household outlet.)
  • Recycled energy from regenerative braking
  • Lower fuel and operational costs
  • Possible use in secondary markets for used batteries and reduced waste

Source: EDTA -,