The History of Electric Cars
The electric car boom is well underway. A growing number of drivers are switching from fuel vehicles, and carmakers are spending more resources on building electric options. The aim is to have the majority of drivers in EVs by the 2050s. But where did it all start? For the curious among you, we've got the answers with this guide to the history of electric cars.
When Was the First Electric Car Made?
The early 19th century saw the birth of the first electric car, which Scottish innovator Robert Anderson invented in 1832. And yet, it wasn't until the late 1800s and early 1900s that electric vehicles became a feasible alternative to fuel-powered cars. This period saw a rise in the popularity of electric vehicles, with technological advancements and innovations in the automotive industry.
One notable development in the history of cars was the creation of the first rechargeable battery, made by Thomas Parker in 1884. It was a significant step towards producing more efficient electric vehicles, with the first electric car using Parker's rechargeable battery put into operation on the streets of London in 1887. This marked a turning point for the electric vehicle industry.
What Were the Early Challenges Faced by Electric Cars?
It wasn't all plain sailing for electric vehicles, as seen by the fact that they've only really become so popular in the last decade or so. Indeed, the first electric car faced numerous challenges in the early stages of development.
One of the primary challenges was the limited range of the vehicle due to the low energy density of the batteries used at the time. The heavy and bulky batteries made it difficult to store enough of them in the vehicle to achieve a significant range.
The lack of infrastructure for electric vehicles, such as charging stations, was also a significant problem. Subsequently, electric cars were primarily limited to use in urban areas, where they could be recharged at the owner's home or workplace.
Additionally, fuel-powered cars became more widely available and affordable during this time, making them a more attractive option for consumers. Fuel cars also had a longer range and could be refuelled at petrol stations, which were becoming more common throughout the country.
Despite these challenges, early electric cars continued to be developed and improved, leading to the newest electric vehicles you see today.
Who Made the First Modern Electric car?
It's safe to say that the first modern electric car came from Tesla. The company's founder, Elon Musk, introduced the Tesla Roadster in 2008, the first electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells which could travel more than 200 miles on a single charge.
Based on the Lotus Elise sports car, the Roadster was a significant step forward in developing electric vehicles, demonstrating that they could be both high-performance and practical for everyday use. Since then, Tesla has become a leading producer of electric cars, with a range of models available for consumers.
What Was the First Mass Produced Electric Car?
The first mass-produced electric car was the General Motors EV1, which was produced and leased to customers in California from 1996 to 1999. The EV1 was considered a revolutionary car in its time, featuring a lightweight body made of composite materials, advanced aerodynamics and a range of up to 140 miles on a single charge. Despite the initial success and popularity of the EV1, General Motors ultimately decided to discontinue the program and recalled and crushed most of the cars.
What is the Current State of Electric Cars?
Electric cars have become increasingly popular as technology advances, and concerns about climate change and air pollution have grown. Governments worldwide have also implemented policies and incentives to encourage their use, such as tax credits and rebates for purchasing electric vehicles, as well as regulations to reduce carbon emissions.
Many electric car models are available from various manufacturers, with different ranges, charging times and features. The range of electric cars has also improved significantly, with many now able to travel over 200 miles on a single charge. Plus, the charging infrastructure has improved, with better charging stations available in public places and homes and faster-charging technology in development.
Electric cars are also becoming more affordable, with prices for some models now comparable to their fuel counterparts. Overall ownership costs, including maintenance and fuel, are also lower over the car's lifespan. Furthermore, electric vehicles are becoming more mainstream and are no longer seen as niche or luxury products. They can be bought outright or with car finance.
What Challenges Do Electric Cars Face?
Even with incredible advancements, there are still challenges to the widespread adoption of electric cars, including range anxiety and the availability of charging infrastructure in certain areas. However, as technology continues to improve and governments push for the transition to clean energy, the future looks promising for electric cars.
Feel the Electricity
Today, electric cars have evolved to become increasingly popular as a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional fuel-powered vehicles. But those innovations and technological advancements made in the early days of the electric car industry set the foundation for the modern electric vehicles we see today.