Electric cars have gained interest as we all look to an alternate way to get around without burning fossil fuels. But, while the modern day electric vehicle (EV) is developing with every new model that is produced, cars powered by electricity rather than fuel have been around for a long time.
According to the U.S department of energy, Robert Anderson began developing the first crude electric vehicle in 1832. But its wasn’t until the 1900s that electric vehicles were able to be practically used and gained popularity.
The popularity of the electric vehicle reached its peak between 1900-1912. They made up a third of all vehicles used in the U.S. According to ThoughtCo, this was because early gasoline cars were not as sleek as they are now. Electric cars didn’t have the vibration, smell or noise. They were mostly a luxury for the upper class, with fancy interiors and ornate carriages.
A major blow came to the electric car industry with the mass-production of the Ford Model-T. These were cheaper and able to do longer distances which was useful, especially in the US, which had been steadily improving road infrastructure.
Electric cars faded from memory and the roads, with a small resurgence in the 60s and 70s as people looked for alternate fuel cars but these never caught on in quite the same way.
The release of the Toyota Prius, a mass-produced hybrid car, brings electric vehicles back onto the market in the 2000s. A pop culture phenomenon, it was either a symbol of commitment to the planet or the punchline of a joke.
But now, as the climate crisis creeps closer, car manufacturers are working to bring out their electric vehicles. BMW, Nissan and Jaguar have all shown off their electric cars with other car makers planning to launch in the next few years. Infrastructure to support these kinds of vehicles has also improved, as charging stations become common place in shopping centre parking lots.