How old do you think electric vehicles are? Do you think that electric vehicles are only a recent invention? If you do, don’t worry – you are part of the majority. Most people believe that electric vehicles are a recent invention and never existed earlier.
The truth is that electric vehicles have existed for more than a century. However, the lack of electricity and charging infrastructure in rural areas and poor battery life, combined with the wide availability of petrol, means the adoption of assembly-line produced ICE cars more rapid. This, unfortunately for the environment, made sure that electric vehicles quickly became a forgotten chapter in the history of automobiles.
Therefore, in this blog post, we will explore the interesting history of electric vehicles and what the future holds for battery-powered cars.
Electric Car Facts You Should Know
- Electric cars are much cheaper to drive and maintain compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) cars
- There are 3 types of electric cars: hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric cars
- The first electric car was made in the latter part of the 19th century
- Globally, electric car sales are growing by more than 100% each year
- Almost all the major vehicle manufacturers have either introduced or are planning to introduce electric vehicles
- Tesla is the current global leader in electric vehicle production and sales but other brands are also catching up
- Electric cars are much faster and offer better performance compared to petrol-powered cars
- There are 3 different types of chargers for electric vehicles: level 1, level 2, and level 3
- The most expensive component of an electric car is its battery pack
- China is currently the biggest market for electric vehicles
- Electric vehicles are substantially better than ICE vehicles in terms of efficiency. EVs can use around 80% of the energy stored in the battery whereas a petrol-powered car has an energy efficiency of only up to 30%.
Brief History of Electric Cars
Many people are surprised to discover that efforts to produce an electric vehicle started in the early part of the 19th century. In fact, a concept car was first introduced in the 4th decade of the 19th century. However, the first practical electric vehicle was introduced in the US by William Morrison. At the turn of the 20th century, electric-powered vehicles had the biggest market share and not many people were enthusiastic about the future of petrol-powered vehicles. However, things changed quickly by the end of the first decade of the 20th century.
Many people credit the rise of petrol-powered cars to the introduction of Ford’s Model T which allowed everyone to have an affordable car. In fact, Ford’s Model T was the first petrol-powered car that almost anyone could afford to buy and with the oil discovery in Texas, there were no problems with the availability of gasoline. On top of that, gasoline was cheap and widely available in the US, even in rural areas whereas electricity was available only in cities.
Most major car manufacturers introduced several petrol-powered motor vehicles during the first half of the 20th century and nobody was investing in electric vehicles. The result was that electric vehicles almost completely disappeared by the mid-1930s.
There were thousands of manufacturers of petrol-powered cars and they were introducing newer models that were more efficient and safer. In short, a lot of innovation was happening in the internal combustion engine space that attracted more and more buyers and electric vehicles were quickly relegated to the dusty pages of history.
Things changed once again with the Arab oil embargo in 1973 as petrol wasn’t as easily available and even when it was available, prices were too high for the everyday consumer. This is when auto manufacturers started looking at options that included electric vehicles.
Many global manufacturers introduced a spate of electric vehicles that were typically powered by lead-acid batteries but the quality wasn’t up to the mark. Most electric vehicles had a short range and wouldn’t even be capable of being a daily driver, especially with several hours long charging time.
One of the most successful electric vehicles was introduced by Toyota in 1997 in Japan. Toyota Prius is widely regarded as the world’s first hybrid electric vehicle that was mass-produced. This model was released globally in 2000 and became an instant success. It quickly achieved a cult status which was further helped by the rising fuel prices and increasing awareness among consumers about climate change caused by carbon pollution.
The next step in the history of electric vehicles was the formation of Tesla Motors in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Mark Tarpenning. They correctly identified the potential of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles as the batteries were already in use for mobile phones.
In 2006, the company announced the start of production of a luxury electric sports car capable of travelling more than 300 km on a single charge. Since then, Tesla has introduced a variety of models and taking a cue from Tesla, most global car manufacturers have introduced their own models of electric vehicles. One big reason for the success of electric vehicles has been the significant drop in the price of batteries. In fact, the price has gone down by more than 97% compared to 1991.
Over the past few years, electric vehicles have broken all the barriers with the introduction of more affordable models. It is believed that there were more than 10 million electric cars on the roads across the globe in 2020 compared to just a million electric vehicles in 2016.
The Future of Electric Cars
It feels a little dishonest to discuss the future of electric cars as the future is only electric. So much innovation is going on in this space that most car companies have announced their plans of giving up the production of internal combustion engine-powered cars completely over the coming years. The prices of lithium-ion batteries are going down constantly and many companies are spending a huge amount of money on developing alternative battery technologies to make electric vehicles more affordable with a higher range.
The charging infrastructure is also expanding at a breakneck speed. In fact, the UK boasts more electric vehicle charging stations compared to petrol stations. Australians are also waking up to the potential of electric cars and the sales are growing quickly. Most major global car manufacturers have either introduced a whole range of new models for the Australian market or announced the introduction of more affordable models in the coming years. The charging infrastructure is also rapidly expanding and people shouldn’t have a problem finding a charger for longer trips across Australia.
Overall, electric vehicles have an interesting history. At the turn of the 20th century, almost everyone was convinced that the future of transportation was electric but the introduction of affordable internal combustion engine-powered vehicles belied the electric hopes and today, the world is paying a huge cost in terms of climate change. Thankfully, the tide has turned and the future is all-electric. These days, you can easily buy an affordable electric vehicle with a decent range and extra comforts at affordable prices.
Buy Electric Vehicle Chargers At GET Electric
While the electric vehicle charging infrastructure is quickly expanding across Australia, the fact is that most EV owners prefer charging their car at home when it is not being used. GET Electric is the premier supplier of electric vehicle car chargers in Australia. We offer a wide range of charging solutions including level 1 and level 2 chargers for home use as well as commercial use.
Please call us today on 1800 GET NOW to learn more about our EV charging and infrastructure solutions or leave an enquiry and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.