THE HISTORY OF THE ELECTRIC CAR

THE RISE, FALL AND RISE OF ELECTRIC

‘That the passing of our friend the horse is only a question of time, few will, we think, be disposed to deny; and however much the breeders may strive to arrest the progress of public opinion in the adoption of this view, the relentless figures which each succeeding year piles up against them leaves little room to doubt that they will ere long have to accept the inevitable, and, with that what grace they may, admit defeat at the hands of the ‘horseless.’ … 

This is an introduction to a newspaper article from 1910 in the ‘American Review’, this sentiment may well be repeated in the very near future in regards to the internal combustion engine and clearly illustrates a momentous change at that period when the populous were adopting the horseless carriage. At the outset of the 20th century there were almost twice as many electric cars registered in the U.S. than petrol cars but by the beginning of World War II they had all but gone.

The early pioneers had started experimenting with electric carriages as early as 1828 making the electric car nearly 200 years old, a fact that will surprise many i’m sure. Many inventors have been attributed to various versions and models of horseless carriages using Electric power and batteries throughout the 1800’s but the first practical vehicles were produced in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s. English inventor Thomas Parker who was responsible for electrifying the London Underground developed several prototype electric cars between 1884 and 1887. Scottish inventor Robert Anderson also invented a crude electrical carriage as far back as 1832! The late 1800’s early 1900’s saw widespread development of electric vehicles with the United Kingdom, United States of America and France at the forefront with fleets of Electric Taxi’s on the streets of New York and London in 1897, in London the electric cars quickly earned the nickname ‘Hummingbirds’ due to the distinctive humming noise they created.

It is with great pride that EVHERO can say that the electric car is the original car and with its current resurgence and the ever increasing infrastructure we envisage that it’s here to stay this time. With every major existing automotive manufacturer committed to the electric car and most with models already in production and Governments and local councils committed to meeting ever stringent pollution targets we see a very bright future for electric.

THE ELECTRIC TIMELINE

1828

Ányos Jedlik, a Hungarian who invented an early type of electric motor, created a small model car powered by his new motor.

1832

Scottish inventor/pioneer Robert Anderson invents the first crude electric carriage powered by non-rechargeable primary cells.

1834

Thomas Davenport, a Vermont blacksmith, constructed the first American DC electric motor used in a small locomotive.

1859

French physicist Gaston Planté invents the rechargeable lead-acid storage battery which he used to create a scale model vehicle.

1884

Thomas Parker was responsible for the electrification of the London Underground builds the first electric production car in London using his own specially designed high-capacity rechargeable batteries.

1891

William Morrison of Des Moines, U.S. but originally from Scotland, builds the first successful electric automobile in the United States. He focused on storage batteries which were portable and powerful.

1897

The first electric taxis hit the streets of New York City and London early in the year. The Pope Manufacturing Company of Connecticut becomes the first large-scale American electric automobile manufacturer.

1898

Ferdinand Porsche built the ‘P1’ as it was known, standing for Porsche 1. Hub-mounted motors drove the wheels, also developed as a hybrid vehicle. So, the first Porsche car was electric! There next electric will be 2019!

1902

Pioneer, inventor and businessman Walter C. Baker breaks the world land speed record on the streets of Staten Island, N.Y., he covered the flying kilometre in 16 seconds, running exactly 100mph beating the existing record by nearly 35mph. Sadly the record never stood as Baker lost control crossing a set of trolley tracks and smashed sideways into the crowd knocking two people flat and killing a third instantly. They were arrested but released soon afterwards due to the crowd crossing the protective barriers. Walter Baker had founded the Baker Motor-Vehicle Company which at the time was the largest electric vehicle maker in the world. 

1908

Henry Ford introduces the mass-produced and gasoline-powered Model T, it will have a profound effect on the U.S. and global automobile market causing the ultimate demise of electric. The Model T was a runaway success, priced competitively and easy to refuel. The first Model T, colloquially known as the ’Tin Lizzie’ rolled of the production line on September 27, 1908. In May 1927 Henry Ford watched his 15 millionth Model T roll off the assembly line at his factory in Michigan. Easy access to oil and simple engineering within the Model T spelt the end of the party for electric vehicles. It would be 100 years before we see a true resurgence.

1960-2000

The 60’s saw a revival of interest in electric cars, although new technology in battery production and development produced more viable vehicles, the public and governments never got on board and really showed true belief. The oily dollar was still too strong and had many defendants in the day. This continued despite technological advancements through to the 2000’s. 1973 did see an incredible development in battery technology when a British Chemist M. Stanley Whittingham proposed and demonstrated lithium ion batteries, we now use in our phones and cars to this day. he is called the Founding Father of rechargeable lithium ion.

2004

A true revolution in automotive change must to be attributed to Elon Musk and Tesla, new battery advancements and incredible passion from Elon Musk realise a true alternative to the combustion car. Many berated him, but now wish they’d bought shares! On the 9th July 2010 Tesla shares were at $17:40, today they hover around $340.00. Tesla Inc now has an incredible range of vehicles which boast supercar beating performance figures, exceptional range and high production values. It is Elon’s determination and success that made all global major automotive manufacturers sit up and take notice. Well done Elon, we salute you for that!

2010-2019 AND ONWARDS...

THE RISE AND RISE OF ELECTRIC

Nissan launch the ‘Leaf’ model in 2010, a fully electric car which continues to be the highest selling 100% electric car in the world. More than 350,000 Leafs have been sold worldwide by September 2018.

We now reach a true revival and new Golden age of electric. The thirst for environmental change and better air quality is upon us more than ever and battery technology and development is at a level that allows modern electric cars to charge quickly and travel between 70 and 336 miles on one charge, nearly 200 years after the first pioneers we are seeing the rise of electric again. We also have widespread and capable charging infrastructure at our homes and on route which means nowhere is out of reach of the electric car. In a recent survey by the government it was revealed that the average uk motorist only travels 21.64 miles per day in their vehicle, many of todays electric cars are capable of 15 times that distance. Costs are reducing and used electric cars and vans represent incredible value at near parity with their carbon counterparts yet the running costs realise at least 50% savings over a traditional petrol or diesel car. It is a win, win for the wallet and they’re incredibly reliable cars to own too. 

2019 onwards

Electric will now prevail, there’s a complete revolution in the vehicles we will drive in the future and it will be fresh air for driving and fresh air for people on the streets. Used EV’s are now available on the marketplace and represent incredible value with reliability statistics that have been proven beyond 400,000 miles. It’s time to join the electric revolution and embrace the positive changes and benefits for all of us.

Power to Electric!

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