The history of the electric car. How we got to electric cars

The history of the electric car. How we got to electric cars

Electric vehicles, being produced almost more than hundred years ago, are becoming more and more popular now due to many of the factors that made them successful in the past. In the current times and the future, the drop in prices leads to the popularity of the electrically driven vehicles in the market. It is also because of the lookout for ways to reduce the gas expenditures by the people using different types of electric vehicles.

The development of the electric vehicles can not be associated with only a single individual or a nation. Rather, the series of successful events taking place in the 1800s became the reason for this innovation. These events include started with the battery manufacturing and ended at the introduction of the electric vehicles.

Owing the great advancements made in the field of combustion engines during the 1800s, the vehicle powered using gasoline came into existence. It was the same time when electric vehicles were introduced. Hence, a sense of competition created. Many people preferred the vehicles powered using gasoline because of the immense potential aspects they provide. However, these vehicles come with some flaws and drawbacks as well. Many people find the manufacturing of these vehicles a tedious and a very difficult job. The major reason behind this was the requirement of a huge amount of labor who was well trained on dealing with the infrastructure and equipment.

The problems associated with the vehicles powered using gasoline or steam were not linked with the vehicles powered using electricity. Unlike other cars at the time, the electric vehicles did not generate nasty pollutants. Moreover, the drivers found them easy to drive and also noiseless, as they did not make any noise while being driven. Due to these reasons, people were attracted towards the electric vehicles in large numbers, particularly women.

The electric vehicles also gained popularity in the context of travelling small distances and visit nearby places. The use of electric vehicles increased in the 1910s when electricity became easily accessible by a greater number of people and the number of charging stations increased.

The start of the century witnessed experimentation by entrepreneurs of different countries like Hungary, the Netherlands, and the United States, with the idea of a battery-powered vehicle. Besides, some of the world’s first small electric cars came into existence in the same duration. A few of the earliest functioning electric cars were not invented before half of the nineteenth century passed. French and English people majorly did this invention.

Contrary to popular opinion, the development of the electric vehicle began in the 19th century. In actuality, 33% of all automobiles on the road prior to World War I were electric vehicles at their peak. However, sales of gasoline-powered cars surged after the widespread use of internal combustion engines in automobiles. The next time mass-produced EVs appeared was not until the 1990s. From that point forward, electric cars started to take the form they have today.

The first electric vehicle

William Morrison, a chemist from Des Moines, Iowa, United States invented the very first electric vehicle. It was a traditional vehicle that used a Surrey carriage driven with the help of a horse, which had been in use since the 19th century and gained much popularity in America. The alteration was made, and a battery was fitted to it. This electricity powered carriage was capable of carrying a dozen passengers at the highest speed of twenty miles per hour.

A British inventor named Robert Anderson is said to have demonstrated the first electric automobile at an industrial convention in 1835. Using a disposable battery powered by crude oil, Robert Anderson’s car’s wheels were rotated.

Electric transportation piqued the imagination of many people, including Anderson. Dutch researcher Sibrandus Stratingh and Hungarian researcher Nyos Jedlik developed model electric vehicles about the same time. The first electric car on the opposite side of the Atlantic was developed by American blacksmith-turned-inventor Thomas Davenport, who is also credited with developing key components of the electric motor.

The late 1800s and early 1900s

Baker Motor Vehicles and Detroit Electric were the top electric vehicle manufacturers in the late 1800s. Due to the absence of toxic pollution and the significantly easier driving experience, customers found electric vehicles to be more appealing alternatives to internal combustion engines in cities during this time. Lead-acid batteries were utilized in these early electric vehicles, and most charging took place at home.

Cleveland, Ohio, was the home of the Baker Motor Vehicle Company and was the second largest early automotive production hub after Detroit. Between 1900 and 1916, Baker built some of the most impressive electric vehicles. With identical management and an initial goal of highlighting the effectiveness of their ball bearing axles, the Baker motor vehicle company was a spinoff of the ball bearing and axle company. The enterprises shared a power plant and had twin factories by 1910 when their sizes were comparable. As a manufacturer of electric vehicles, Baker was among the more creative ones.

In 1895, William C. Anderson founds a Detroit-based carriage manufacturing business. Anderson provided George Bacon with the space and resources he needed to create an electric car for the business even though the company is thriving, and automobile companies are sprouting up all around them. Three models that resembled the automobiles he had previously created for the Columbus Buggy Co. began to leave the plant at the end of 1907. They were well accepted, and in 1911, the Anderson Carriage Co. changed its name to the Anderson Electric Car Co., adding a new facility for the production of chassis and remodeling the previous facilities to produce luxury coaches with aluminum panels and castings.

However, once gasoline-powered automobiles gained popularity, particularly after Henry Ford created the first moving assembly line, the cost of gasoline-powered cars could rapidly undercut that of electric cars.

The late 1900s

With the Arab Oil Embargo in the 1970s, gasoline scarcities and oil prices reached their high, sparking a rise in interest in lessening society’s reliance on oil. As the auto industry sensed this social movement, it began researching alternatives for vehicles using alternative fuels, including electric vehicles. For instance, General Motors came up with a prototype that was intended to be used for an urban EV, and even NASA helped increase awareness when the electric Lunar rover became the first crewed spacecraft to land on the moon. However, in contrast to the vehicles powered using gasoline, electricity powered vehicles still had a number of disadvantages, such as a limited range and modest top speeds, and buyers remained uninterested.

Many big and small automakers began investigating alternate fuel choices, including electric vehicles, during this time. For instance, General Motors developed a prototype for an urban electric vehicle that it exhibited at the First Symposium on Low Pollution Power Systems Development hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1973. The American Motor Company built electric delivery jeeps that the USPS used in a 1975 test program. Even NASA helped spread the word about electric cars when, in 1971, its electric Lunar rover made history as the first crewed vehicle to set foot on the moon.

A spark for the development of electric cars was kindled with the creation of the California Air Resource Board (CARB) by then-governor Reagan and nationwide gasoline shortages. The popular EV1 electric coupe was a lease-only model that GM introduced in the 1990s. According to the EPA, early EV1s had an 18.7kWh lead-acid pack and an induction motor with a total output of 137 horsepower, giving them a range of about eighty miles. Although eighty miles was a respectable distance, lead-acid batteries have considerable disadvantages, particularly with regard to their memory effect.

A 26.4kWh NiMH battery pack used in later models allowed for a single charge to cover more than 140 miles. The EV1 had a superior power-to-weight ratio than a second-generation Chevrolet Volt because it weighed less than 3,000 pounds even with the larger battery. Other vehicles emerged despite the EV1 being the most well-known one because of rising pressure from CARB. A few intriguing examples include the Nissan Altra, which is known to be the first electric vehicle that employed a lithium-ion battery pack, the Toyota RAV4 EV, and the Ford Ranger EV.

The 2000s

One of the most significant turning moments came from introducing the Toyota Prius in the transport sector. When it was released in Japan in 1997, the Prius was regarded as the first hybrid electric-powered vehicle that was mass-produced. When the Prius became available around the globe in 2000, celebrities flocked to it. The Prius has since surpassed all other hybrid vehicles in popularity thanks to rising gas prices and growing worries about carbon emissions. But it was not until 2003 that two businesspeople named Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning changed everything.

Tesla introduced the “Roadster”, their first 200+ mile EV, in 2008. Just under $100,000 could buy a Tesla Roadster, which took four seconds to reach sixty mph. The Roadster was sporty, quick, and cool—unlike almost every other electric vehicle before it. Nissan started shipping the Nissan Leaf, another ground-breaking electric vehicle at the time, two years later. The Leaf was a very useful everyday driver even though it wasn’t quite as “cool” as a Tesla. It was only slightly more than $25,000 and had a 73-mile range.

The first reasonably priced long-range electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, started being delivered by Chevrolet in December 2016. Although the Bolt EV was only $30,000, its 238-mile range was far more significant.

Tesla launched the Model 3 tiny sedan that same year, and it went on sale to the general public the following year. A $35,000 target price was set for the Model 3. As a special order variant in 2019, Tesla briefly debuted the $35,000 model. In spite of this, top-trim versions easily have a range of more than three hundred miles and possess extremely exceptional performance metrics. The Model 3 quickly overtook the Model Y as the best-selling new electric vehicle of the 2010s despite Tesla’s pricing machinations, which were ultimately unsuccessful.

Beyond 2020

If the electric vehicle revolution has taught us anything, it is that technology is developing at such a breakneck pace. Ten years ago, $35,000 would buy you a reasonably equipped Nissan Leaf with 107 horsepower and a range of about seventy-three miles. For the same list price today, you could get a Chevrolet Bolt EUV with a 247-mile range and two hundred horsepower.

The years 2020 and 2021 have established themselves as two crucial turning points for the uptake of electric vehicles. Tesla debuted the Model Y during this time, Ford debuted the Mach-e, and Volkswagen debuted the ID. All of these cars have a range of more than two hundred miles, and some of them, like the Model Y, can travel up to 330 miles. As some of the first extremely popular mainstream electric crossovers designed from the ground up, these OEMs made significant advances for electric vehicles.

Additionally, its expansion is not just restricted to a few nations. Every major market in the world has seen EV sales increase over time, but nowhere has this rise accelerated more quickly than in Europe. Although Europe, which represents the fifteen top markets for EV sales, replaced China as the global leader in electric vehicle sales in 2020, China still has the highest amount of EV stocks.

The country with the highest ICE vehicle sales already phased out Norway, which takes the top spot on that list. The country with the highest EV penetration is Norway, where by September 2021, approximately 80% of all new cars sold would be electric alone.

Environment – the biggest factor behind electric vehicles’ popularity

The improvement in the quality of air for the people residing in urban areas is considered one of the biggest advantages of using electricity powered vehicles. The absence of a tailpipe leads to the non-production of carbon dioxide during the operation of the electric vehicles. This thing leads to noise pollution being reduced significantly. Simply put, electric vehicles clean our streets, increasing the quality of life for cyclists and pedestrians in our cities and towns. Average annual CO2 emissions can be reduced by 1.5 million grams having only one electric vehicle operating on the road.

Electric vehicles lessen noise pollution due to their improved quietness. A pleasant long distance ride at faster acceleration is ensured using the electric vehicles. Besides, the reduction in travel expense of almost thousands of dollars is also witnessed by several electric car users.

Are electric vehicles really environmentally friendly?

In general, the majority of electric vehicles sold now tend to emit much fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the majority of gasoline-powered vehicles. However, a lot of hinges on the amount of coal burned to refuel those plug-in cars. Additionally, much more needs to be done to clean up the electric infrastructure before electric vehicles can genuinely be considered emissions-free.

Users can assess the climatic consequences of various vehicle models using an interactive web tool created by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The researchers made an attempt to include all relevant data, such as pollutants produced during the manufacturing of gasoline and diesel fuel, how much gasoline is burned by traditional cars, and the origin of the electricity required for charging electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles are virtually always more environmentally benign than conventional vehicles when powered by the conventional American grid, which involves the combination of a mix of fossils fuel and renewable electricity plants. Electric vehicles emit more contaminants during production due to their batteries, but they are more efficient than conventional engines with internal combustion that consume fossil fuels.

Benefits of using the electric vehicles

1.     Zero gas requirement

Since the charging of vehicles powered using electricity is done by the electricity being produced by own, no need of buying gas remains. The costs of conventional fuels are on a higher side, which might make driving a gasoline powered vehicle expensive. In contrast to different electric vehicles, fifteen cents per mile are charged from an average American when driving a vehicle powered from gasoline. Electricity is often less expensive than gasoline. If the majority of people power their homes using solar by installing panels on their roofs where they charge their cars, this cost can be cut even further, saving you money on powering your entire home. Electric vehicles can cut or eliminate this annual petrol price of $2000 to $4000.

2.     No harmful emissions

The biggest advantage of an electric vehicle is that it is environmentally friendly. Electric automobiles are fully eco-friendly because their engines are powered by electricity. It emits no smoke or toxic toxins into the environment because it runs on renewable energy. They outperform hybrid cars, which utilize gas and emit pollution. You will help to keep the environment clean and green.

3.     Safe driving

Both the gasoline powered vehicles and the vehicles powered from electricity use the same testing and fitness requirements. Having a lower center of gravity makes driving the electric vehicles a secure choice as compared to driving conventional vehicles. This thing causes a boost in vehicles’ steadiness on the highways during a collision. During a collision, the deployment of an airbag and a loss of battery power are to be witnessed. Besides, serious injuries can be prevented for yourself as well as other car occupants in such cases. The absence of fuel or gas in the fuel tank of a vehicle also minimizes the chances of vehicle explode in case of collision.

4.     Life of a battery and its cost

Without batteries, an electric car cannot work. The major portion of the vehicles installed in the electric vehicles comprises the lithium batteries, whose costs are falling on yearly basis. Besides, the batteries need to be changed after running for 300-500 cycles, which is the maximum capacity of these batteries. However, a good quality battery might last for almost a decade. As technology progresses, these batteries are expected to become even more inexpensive.

The future

Although the increase of EVs on the road from one to ten million may have happened swiftly, the next step will be far bigger. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), there will be two hundred million electric vehicles on the road by 2030, representing just over 20 percent of all sales.

The fact that this figure is the IEA’s cautious estimate makes it even more astonishing. This scenario, which is a component of their ground-breaking analysis on the adoption of electric vehicles globally, solely takes into account the current declared policies, policy aspirations, and targets that have been announced or legislated for by governments all over the world. That number might reach 230 million automobiles in 2030 in a scenario where we achieve the Paris Accord’s climate goals.

All new cars marketed starting in 2035 are expected to have zero emissions, according to the European Union. By 2030, Biden wants to see half of the nation’s new car fleet in the US be electric. Numerous other nations, including Canada, the UK, Japan, some US states, and EU member states have taken steps to restrict or outright prohibit ICE sales.

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