An electric car (also battery electric car or all-electric car) is a plug-in electric automobile that is propelled by one or more electric motors, using energy typically stored in rechargeable batteries.
Charging an electric car can be done at a variety of charging stations, these charging stations can be installed in both houses and public areas. The two all-time best selling electric cars, the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S, have EPA-rated ranges reaching up to 151 mi (243 km) and 335 mi (539 km) respectively. As of December 2018, the Leaf is the best-selling highway-capable electric car ever with more than 380,000 units sold globally, followed by the Tesla Model S with 263,500 units sold worldwide.
Electric cars are a variety of electric vehicle (EV). The term "electric vehicle" refers to any vehicle that uses electric motors for propulsion, while "electric car" generally refers to highway-capable automobiles powered by electricity. Low-speed electric vehicles, classified as neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) in the United States, and as electric motorised quadricycles in Europe, are plug-in electric-powered microcars or city cars with limitations in terms of weight, power and maximum speed that are allowed to travel on public roads and city streets up to a certain posted speed limit, which varies by country.
In 1884, over 20 years before the Ford Model T, Thomas Parker built the first practical production electric car in London using his own specially designed high-capacity rechargeable batteries. The Flocken Elektrowagen of 1888 was designed by German inventor Andreas Flocken. Electric cars were among the preferred methods for automobile propulsion in the late 19th century and early 20th century, providing a level of comfort and ease of operation that could not be achieved by the gasoline cars of the time. The electric vehicle stock peaked at approximately 30,000 vehicles at the turn of the 20th century.
Electric cars have several benefits over conventional internal combustion engine automobiles, including a significant reduction of local air pollution, as they do not directly emit pollutants such as particulates (soot), volatile organic compounds, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, ozone, lead, and various oxides of nitrogen.