Electric cars, also known as EVs, which were first introduced more than a century ago, are gaining significance for many of the same reasons they were when they were first introduced.
Electric vehicle technology will continue to rise as prices fall and buyers look for methods to save money at the pump, whether it’s a hybrid vehicle, plug-in hybrid, or all-electric vehicle. It’s helpful to consider the history of the electric car in context with the evolution of personal cars in general to grasp its significance.
The horse remained the most common mode of transportation on the eve of the 20th century. However, when people’s wealth rose and technology improved, people began to experiment with newer modes of transportation.
At this stage, gasoline, steam, and electricity were all accessible, and each was vying for market domination.
Steam technology was doing very well in the time, and the people had a good understanding of it. After all, it had proven its effectiveness in powering factories, trains, ships, etc. so it seemed only reasonable to use steam engines to power smaller modes of transportation.
But there was a catch: steam engines required a lengthy warmup period, frequently exceeding an hour. They also had a limited capability and were required to be given water regularly.
The Advent of Electric Vehicles
The six major eras in the historical record of electric cars can be broken down as:
- The early developments of electric mobility (1830-1880)
- Switch to motorized transport (1880-1914)
- The upsurge of the internal combustion engine (1914-1970)
- Return of electric drive vehicles (1970-2003)
- The electric upheaval (2003-2020)
- The tipping point (2021 and beyond)
The Early Developments of Electric Mobility (1830-1880)
Throughout the early 1800s, a series of scientific advancements in batteries and electric motors spurred engineering and automotive pioneers on both sides of the Atlantic to develop the first electric car.
When Was The First Electric Car Designed And Produced?
Inventors in Hungary, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States began working on merging these technological developments in the 1830s to build a powered electric motor vehicle. Many people believe that the first electric car was constructed between 1828 and 1832, despite the fact that this is a contentious topic.
The birth of the first electric car was much more of a chain reaction than a single event. However, depending on your definition of what makes a properly developed electric vehicle, these are some rivals for the ‘first’ practical electric cars below. first electric car
Who Invented The First Electric Car?
Anyos Jedlik, 1828: Hungarian scientist Anyos Jedlik invented an experimental electric vehicle. In 1828, The first electric car was invented by Anyos Jedlik. He created an early ‘proof of concept’ for using electricity as a form of transportation with this new discovery, by making a model automobile which could be driven by his motor.
Thomas Davenport, 1834: A little later, Thomas Davenport, an American blacksmith-turned-inventor, was credited with developing key components of the electric motor that powered the first electric vehicle. He also created a model electric vehicle that could run on a circular pattern electrical path.
Robert Anderson, 1835: According to history, a British inventor named Robert Anderson presented the first electric car during an industry meeting in 1835. The wheels of Robert Anderson’s vehicle were turned by a disposable battery fueled by crude oil. first electric car
Franz Kravogl, 1867: Franz Kravogl, an Austrian engineer, debuted his first small model car (that was electric, of course) at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1867. This had two wheels that were in an electrically propelled cycle that wasn’t particularly safe to drive on the street.
Gustave Trouve, 1881: Gustave Trouve put a three-wheeled experimental electric car through its paces on the streets of Paris. After which his invention of the world’s first outboard motor was put out and was used in his Coventry-Rotary pedal tricycle. first electric car
Thomas Parker, 1884: However, the first manufacturing electric car was not manufactured until 1884 by British inventor Thomas Parker. Parker’s car was powered by his rechargeable high-capacity batteries, which he manufactured himself. first electric car
William Morrison, 1895: William Morrison of Des Moines, Iowa, created a six-passenger electric car (wagon) capable of reaching 23 km/h in the United States. Following the launch of all-electric tricycles in the United States by A. L. Ryker in 1895, consumers started to notice this “modern technology.”
Even though improved, these vehicles lacked self-contained rechargeable sources of power and hence had little value as a means of transportation. first electric car
Switch to Motorized Transport (1880-1914)
Electric car technology developed as a result of these breakthroughs; it was a ‘golden era’ for the industry. Consequently, during the late 1890s and early 1900s, there was a surge of enthusiasm for electric cars. Many individuals began to replace their horses and carts with motor transport at the turn of the twentieth century. As a result, the electric cars quickly increased in popularity, and the war for mobility’s future began. Steam, gasoline, or electric were all the options. first electric car
On American highways at the time, there was a pretty equitable balance between the three: around 40% of vehicles were powered by steam, 38% by electricity, and just 22% were gasoline-powered cars.
Steam vehicles had been gaining popularity since the 1870s and had a small majority of the US market at the end of the century, but they suffered major downfalls that eventually led to their collapse. Steam vehicles required up to 45 minutes to start and had to be refilled with water regularly, limiting their range. In the end, while steam proved to be a reliable source of power for factories and railways, it was not practicable for personal vehicles. first electric car
Gasoline-powered vehicles, on the other hand, required the driver to shift gears and start the vehicle with a heavy crankshaft. They were also much noisier than their steam or electric counterparts, and their exhausts generated pollutants. first electric car
Electric cars proven to be a competitive alternative when compared to the two other vehicle types on the market. They didn’t produce any nasty emissions, didn’t require changing gears, and didn’t take long to start up. As a result, they were easier to drive and more quieter.
Therefore, electric cars immediately became popular among city dwellers who had access to electricity. This popularity drew the attention of many pioneers of the time: Porsche created the world’s first hybrid vehicle, and Thomas Edison teamed up with a friend and former employee, Henry Ford, to create an affordable electric car.
With the introduction of Ford’s cost-effective assembly line and the increased availability of gasoline, however, all of this impetus would come to a halt.
The Upsurge of the Internal Combustion Engine (1914-1970)
When the surplus internal combustion engine (ICE) automobile was developed, electric cars faced their death throes. Gasoline-powered cars became widely available and affordable with Ford’s Model T.
And, following the discovery of oil in Texas, gasoline prices lowered and it became affordable and accessible to a large number of people, but electricity was only available in cities. Electric vehicles made little progress over the next 30 years, and by the mid-1930s, they had nearly vanished from the market.
Return of Electric Drive Vehicles (1970-2003)
With rising oil prices and gasoline shortages in the 1970s, interest in reducing society’s reliance on oil intensified.
As a result of this social movement, car manufacturers began to investigate alternative fuel vehicles, including electric vehicles. For example, General Motors created a prototype for an urban electric car, and NASA aided in raising awareness when their electric Lunar rover became the first controlled spacecraft to land on the moon. However, compared to gasoline-powered cars, electric vehicles still had significant shortcomings, including restricted range and poor lateral acceleration, which made consumers disinterested.
Despite the absence of public interest in electric vehicles, scientists and engineers continued to attempt. Over the next two decades, automakers tweaked popular models to develop electric variants, hoping to advance battery technology and attain range and speed comparable to gasoline-powered vehicles.
The advent of the Toyota Prius was among the most crucial pivotal moments. The Prius was the world’s first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle when it was introduced in Japan in 1997. The Prius was introduced for the first time in 2000, and it was an instant hit with famous personalities. first electric car
Rising gasoline prices and growing concern about carbon pollution have helped the Prius become the world’s best-selling hybrid ever since. The actual final straw, however, occurred in 2003, when two entrepreneurs named Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning recognized an opportunity.
The First Electric Car from General Motors
Even though GM experimented with electrical cars as recently as the mid-1960s with the Electrovair concept car, the automobile was never mass-produced. The Electrovair was inspired by the 1966 Corvair and was fueled by a silver-zinc battery pack with a 532 volt output.
After some years, General Motors chose to “try a different approach.”
The General motors’ EV1, their first modern-day electric vehicle, was created in the mid-1990s. The EV1 was the first mass-produced electric car in the modern period by a major automaker.
This modest-looking vehicle also boasted a few more firsts.
- It was the first General Motors car built from the bottom up to be an electric car.
- The EV1 was also the first and only passenger car sold under the General Motors brand, rather than one of the company’s subsidiaries.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB), which imposed a regulation requiring major U.S. industry to create zero-emission vehicles if they chose to continue marketing their products in the state, influenced GM’s choice to design and build the EV1.
The Electric Upheaval (2003-2020)
Eberhard and Marc founded Tesla Motors in 2003 after witnessing the rise of density of the lithium-ion batteries in their prior operation. In 2006, the Silicon Valley startup stated it will begin production of a luxury electric sports car with a range of more than 320 kilometers on a single charge. first electric car
Following Tesla’s breakthrough, numerous car manufactures have accelerated the development of their electric vehicles. With the introduction of the Nissan LEAF in 2010, Nissan increased the level of competitiveness. This all-electric, zero-emission vehicle would become the best-selling electric car in history.
New battery advancements also hit the market at the same time, helping to improve range and lower EV battery prices. The price of lithium-ion batteries has dropped by 97 percent since 1991 to indicate this. As a result, the overall cost of electric vehicles has decreased, making them more feasible to customers.
In the years following, practically every mass-market car manufacturer has jumped on board with electric cars, with many pledging to abandon the internal combustion engine altogether.
The Tipping Point (2021 and beyond)
Electric transportation, particularly passenger electric cars, has experienced rapid expansion. Electric car sales, EVs on the road, government EV regulations, EVs as a percentage of total car sales, or just automobile manufacturers making e -mobility pledges—it’s apparent that administrations, society, and customers anticipate electric mobility playing a significant role in the future.
This expansion is not restricted to just a few countries. Electric car sales have been steadily increasing in all large markets throughout the world, but nowhere has this development been more rapid than in Europe. Despite the fact that China remains to have the greatest electric vehicle stock in terms of numbers, Europe overtook China as the global leader in electric car sales in 2020, representing 15 of the top electric car markets.
Norway takes the top rank on the list, having virtually completely phased out the sale of ICE vehicles. With approximately 80% of new cars purchased in September 2021 being entirely electric, Norway is the country with the highest EV penetration. The Norway is expected to achieve 100% electric vehicle sales by 2022, making it the first country on the planet to do so.
Norway could be the first, but it is far from alone: All of the world’s major car markets are predicted to go electrified by 2035. According to McKinsey & Company, we have already crossed the substantial milestone beyond which major and often unstoppable consequences or changes occur.
This expansion does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. As governments, businesses, and individuals strive for a more sustainable society, many are turning to electric cars as a key component of their carbon sequestration efforts.
How Do Electric Cars Function?
Electric cars or EVs operate by using an electric motor rather than a internal combustion engine like in gasoline cars. In most circumstances, an electric car’s motor is powered by a huge traction battery pack. This battery pack is charged at the person’s home using a specifically built charging station or outlet.
Electric cars produce no emissions and do not require elements such as a fuel line and pump, carburetor, or fuel tank, which are required in gasoline cars.
Electric cars, in principle, are made up of a set of primary elements. Which include the aforementioned, but aren’t confined to:
- Auxiliary battery (all-electric): The auxiliary battery in most electric drive cars provides electricity for start-up and to operate vehicle gadgets such as the clock. The primary traction battery pack is not to be confused with this.
- Charge port: A battery’s stored energy cannot endure indefinitely and must be recharged occasionally. Here’s when the charging port comes in handy. It enables the electric car to be powered from a separate source. first electric car
- DC/DC Converter: The traction battery pack has a larger voltage than many of the other parts in the automobile, hence it requires a DC/DC converter. For safety, this gadget converts higher-voltage DC to lower-voltage DC. first electric car
- Electric traction motor: As the electric car will have to move at a certain stage, a way to turn electricity into rotational motion to turn the wheels is required. The traction motor is to be used in this situation. To recuperate part of the lost energy, some vehicles have energy restoration systems at the tires.
- Onboard charger: This gadget transforms AC from outer sources into DC for use in battery charging. While charging the battery, it is also implemented to examine battery properties such as power, current, heat, and state of charge.
- Power Electronics Controller: While controlling the pace of the electric traction motor it supervises the flow of electrical current. first electric car
- Thermal cooling system: This keeps the engine, motor, power systems, and other parts within the proper range of temperature.
- Traction battery pack: This is the electric car’s “fuel tank,” providing all of the electricity needed to power the vehicle’s various parts.
- Electrical transmission: This mechanism transmits mechanical energy from the traction motor to the wheels of the electric car. first electric car
Who Invented the First Hybrid Car?
Isn’t the Toyota Prius, an obvious no-brainer? Unfortunately, no. The first electric car, according to documents, was developed considerably earlier.
William H. Patton invented the gasoline-electric hybrid rail car in 1889.
Even though it isn’t a “car” by our understanding, it is a fascinating notion. That same year, the same guy updated his concept for use in a boat propulsion system.
Ferdinand Porsche invented his Mixte a few years later, when working at the Lohner Coach Factory in 1901. It was a four-wheel-drive hybrid version of the “System Lohner-Porsche” electric carriage that debuted at the same year’s Paris World Fair. The Mixte is commonly regarded as the first hybrid vehicle in the world. The vehicle’s first versions had two-wheel drive, were battery-powered, and had two front-wheel, hub-mounted motors.
What’s the Difference Between Hybrid and Plug-in Cars?
Hybrid Car: A hybrid (HEV) has a battery and an electric powertrain but it cannot be charged from household current or a charging station. Liquid fuel is the primary source of propulsion energy. When the battery has to be charged or more power is required, gasoline engines comes in.
Plug-in Car: A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) can be charged with electricity and driven with either liquid fuel or its batteries.
When Was the First Electric Car by Tesla Invented?
In 2008, Tesla Motors released the Roadster, the company’s first electric vehicle. This car, which included slashing battery technology and an electric drivetrain, was a breakthrough in the current era of the electric vehicle.
The initial Roadster was the first highway-legal, serial-production, all-electric vehicle to use a lithium-ion battery as a source of power. It’s also the first all-electric vehicle with a range of more than 320 kilometers on a single charge. It has the potential to attain a top speed of 200 km/h.
More than 2,450 Roadsters were manufactured in more than 30 countries during its production years i.e. from 2008 to 2012.
Future of Electric Cars
We’re fairly positive on electric transportation since the production of the first electric car.
While the transition from one to 10 million electric vehicles on the road was swift, the next step will be far larger. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), there could be as many as 145 million electric vehicles on the road by the turn of the century, accounting for around 7% of the global vehicle fleet.
Furthermore, many governments and organizations kept increasing their pledges to sustainable transportation each year. From 2035, the European Union wants that all new cars sold produce zero emissions. In the United States, Biden has stated that by 2030, EVs should account for 50% of all new car fleets.
By 2035, General Motors, for example, expects to discontinue producing gasoline cars, vans, and SUVs. Such pledges have been made by Volkswagen, Cadillac, Honda, Volvo, Land Rover, Mercedes, , Jaguar, Mini.
While we cannot predict what will happen, these elements all lead to a promising future for electric mobility.
Frequently Asked Questions About Electric Vehicles
While demand for electric vehicles grows since the first electric car, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions and provided answers – all in one location. Read our short guide below to learn more about EVs.
How Much Time Does It Take To Charge An Electric Vehicle?
Most EVs charge completely overnight, which is ideal for charging at home. In under 30 minutes, a quick public charging station can restore an EV’s range to 80% of its original capacity.
Is It Possible To Drive And Recharge An Electric Vehicle In The Rain?
You could indeed drive or charge an electric car in the rain, of course. You may safely drive over puddles and wash your electric vehicle whenever you want.
Do Electric Vehicles Have A Higher Rate Of Breakdowns?
Nope. Because electric vehicles have lesser moving parts than gasoline/ diesel vehicles, they are less prone to breaking down.
That’s also fantastic news for EV maintenance costs. EVs lack common automotive components such as a gearbox, clutch, electric starter motor, and more. As electric cars use regenerative braking, even their brakes get very little use.
Read another one of our articles here.