Electric cars have become a popular mode of transportation in recent years, but it might surprise you to know that the concept of electric cars dates back to the 19th century. In this post, we’ll explore the history of electric cars, when they were first invented, and how they’ve evolved into the modern electric vehicles we see today.
The Early Days of Electric Cars
The first electric car was developed in 1837 by Scottish inventor Robert Anderson. However, it was not until the 1850s that the first practical electric car was invented. In 1859, French physicist Gaston Planté invented the lead-acid battery, which made electric cars a viable option for transportation.
The first electric car that resembled modern cars was built in 1884 by Englishman Thomas Parker, who also invented the first electric tram. The vehicle used high-capacity rechargeable batteries and could reach a top speed of 18 miles per hour. However, due to the high cost and limited range of electric cars, they were not widely adopted.
The Rise of Electric Cars in the 20th Century
Electric cars gained popularity in the early part of the 20th century. In 1899, American automaker La Jamais Contente became the first car to break the 100 km/h speed barrier, reaching a speed of 105.3 km/h. In 1900, the Pope Manufacturing Company began producing electric cars in the United States, and over 500 electric cars were sold in 1908 alone.
By the early 1900s, electric cars had become a popular choice for city drivers due to their quietness, cleanliness, and ease of operation. However, the invention of the electric starter for gasoline engines in 1912 made gasoline-powered cars more convenient and helped to push electric cars to the sidelines.
Electric Cars in the Late 20th Century and Today
Electric cars experienced a resurgence in the late 20th century, with automakers investing in research and development to improve their performance and range. In 1996, General Motors introduced the EV1, a fully electric car with a range of 70 to 140 miles per charge. However, due to issues with battery technology and the high cost of producing electric cars, most automakers discontinued their electric car programs in the early 2000s.
In the last decade, electric cars have once again become popular, thanks in part to advancements in battery technology and the increasing availability of charging stations. Companies like Tesla, Nissan, and Chevrolet have led the way in producing affordable, high-performance electric cars that are equal to or better than their gasoline-powered counterparts.
Electric cars have come a long way since they were first invented in the 19th century. From the earliest prototypes to modern electric vehicles, the technology has improved significantly, offering a clean and efficient alternative to gasoline-powered cars. As battery technology continues to advance, it is likely that electric cars will become increasingly popular and widespread in the coming years.