The passenger and light duty vehicle sector is currently in transition. Ever more stringent emission targets require auto manufacturers to develop more efficient and less polluting powertrain systems. The launch of sleek luxury battery electric cars and stronger battery technologies have re-ignited the interest in electric vehicles. This Thesis, using a threepronged approach analyses the potential of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuel as powering source for passenger vehicles. Moreover, fuel cell electric vehicles are proposed as a second alternative to the internal combustion engine. The three-pronged approach includes technological developments, policy measures and socio-economic considerations. Tank-to-wheel efficiencies, environmental footprints over the lifecycle of the respective powertrains and the composition of the electricity mix form the basis of the technical evaluation. On a policy level a series of public incentives provided by European cities are compared and juxtaposed to international legislative requirements. For the investigation of socio-economic considerations, a survey on consumer preferences was conducted with 96 participants. The results of the survey showed that consumers are largely indifferent towards the choice in alternative powertrain and feel quite strongly about low tailpipe emissions and price restrictions. The overall investigation estimates that electricity could be a viable alternative in a middle-term perspective, provided that the share of renewables in the energy mix is augmented and effective infrastructure and payment systems provided. It is also believed that the race between battery electric powertrain systems and fuel cell electric systems has not yet been won by either technology.