Their Range is Getting Better and Better
When it comes to electric cars, driving range has always been a major concern. That range, however, continues to improve. The top 10 EVs, in fact, all get more than 68 miles on a single charge now. Most of these models cost between $25,000 and $50,000 and can get you as far as 103 miles on a single trip. If price is not a concern, you can opt for the EV with the greatest range — the Tesla Model S 85D. It will cost you upwards of $85,000, but it can take you 295 miles on a single charge.
They Used to be More Popular Than Gas-Powered Cars
In the early 1900s, electric cars were much more popular than their gas-powered counterparts. At the turn of the century, in fact, 38% of American automobiles were electric, while only 22% were powered by gas (the other 40% were powered by steam). By the time the 1920s arrived, however, their popularity had dramatically declined and most electric car makers had ceased production. This was largely due to a new demand for cars with greater range as well as the introduction of Henry Ford's mass-produced (and much less expensive) Model T.
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There are Probably More of Them Than You Think
In early 2014, the number of electric vehicles on the road worldwide rose just above 400,000 — and that is twice as many as were on the road just one year before. According to a study by the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg, the number of registered electric vehicles worldwide has increased at an annual rate of more than 100% for each of the last three years — from approximately 100,000 vehicles in 2012, to 200,000 in 2013, to over 400,000 in early 2014. If this type of growth continues, more than one million electric vehicles will be on the road by early 2016.
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Norway Leads the Way
Last year, 6% of all new cars sold in Norway were electric — and that was enough to make it the world leader in EV market share. But 2013 was nothing compared to 2014. According to the latest figures, that percentage has now jumped to more than 15%. In other words, one in every six cars sold in Norway this year has been electric.That 15% market share is almost three times higher than any other country in the world.
They're Capable of Incredible Speed
In September, a group of students from Ohio State University broke the land speed record for an electric vehicle. The battery-powered "Buckeye Bullet 2.5" topped out at an amazing 304 MPH. While consumer models may not be able to keep up with the Buckeye Bullet, they are capable of surprising things. The Detroit Electric SP:01, for example, can go from zero to 60 MPH in less than 3.7 seconds and can reach speeds of more than 150 MPH.
The Fastest Growing U.S. Market is ... Atlanta?
That's right. While most of us would probably expect that distinction to go to a city on the West Coast, the country's fastest growing market for electric vehicles (EVs) is actually in the South. How fast is it growing? From March 2013 to March 2014, the number of registered EVs in Georgia shot up an astonishing 614%. Experts believe most of that increase is due to a $5,000 tax credit as well as access to HOV lanes even when driving alone.
Henry Ford's Wife Drove an Electric Car
As noted before, Henry Ford's Model T was largely responsible for the demise of the electric car in the early 1900s. His wife Clara, however, was not one of the millions who chose to drive a Model T. Instead, she drove a 1914 Detroit Electric — and did so well into the 1930s. Her "Model 47 Brougham" topped out at a sluggish 20 MPH, but got an impressive 80 miles per charge.
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