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The energy and power requirements of a class of on-the-road electric vehicles are developed, and acceleration and speed characteristics of such vehicles in urban traffic are discussed. Curves of average speed under different conditions of traffic are presented, as are curves of average power required during acceleration, average power required during cruising, and peak power required. A dc drive system for propulsion of such a vehicle and an ac drive system appropriate for such an application are described. The two kinds of system are then compared, on an economic as well as a technical basis. A procedure for designing an electric vehicle is outlined, pertinent fields in which research and development are needed are listed, and a reference list on electric vehicles is included.