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In recent years, increasing attention to environmental pollution and concern about the depletion of oil reserves have boosted an interest in electric and hybrid cars as viable alternatives to gasoline-powered automobiles. R&D programs copiously supported in many countries are notably aimed at developing advanced management systems, high-efficiency motors, and innovative batteries with high energy densities, both of the rechargeable and fuel-cell types. When we think of electric vehicles in this framework, they appear to us as future technologies in comparison with conventional internal combustion engines (ICEs). However, we may be surprised to learn that, a century ago, electric cars were far in advance of gasoline cars.
Date of Publication: March 2011