Interesting History of the “Electric Car”

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The history of the electric car:

 Electric car: Now this term ‘electric car’ can be seen in the newspaper every day and it seems really very new technology for 21st-century people. But when you will dig more information about the history of the electric car then you will find out that this technology is more than 100 years old. Even though it’s hard to pinpoint the invention of the electric car to one inventor or country. Instead, it was a series of breakthroughs — from the battery to the electric motor — in the 1800s that led to the first electric vehicle on the road.
So, the well-known timeline for the journey of this technology is as follow-

1828 — 1835

First Small-Scale Electric Cars

Horse and buggies are the primary modes of transportation, but innovators in Hungary, the Netherlands and the U.S. think to the future, creating some of the first small-scale electric cars.


First Crude Electric Vehicle Is Developed

Around 1832, Robert Anderson develops the first crude electric vehicle, but it isn’t until the 1870s or later that electric cars become practical. Pictured here is an electric vehicle built by an English inventor in 1884.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

1889 — 1891

First Electric Vehicle Debuts in the U.S.

William Morrison, from Des Moines, Iowa, creates the first successful electric vehicle in the U.S. His car is little more than an electrified wagon, but it sparks an interest in electric vehicles. This 1896 advertisement shows how many early electric vehicles were not much different than carriages.


Electric Cars Gain Popularity

Compared to the gas- and steam-powered automobiles at the time, electric cars are quiet, easy to drive and didn’t emit smelly pollutants — quickly becoming popular with urban residents, especially women.

1900 — 1912

Electric Cars Reach Their Heyday

In 1900, electric cars accounted for about one-third of all vehicles on U.S. roads — and then almost disappeared from the landscape as gasoline-engine models took over. Decades later, technological advances and concerns about the environment spurred their gradual revival, which isn’t so gradual anymore: By 2040, more than half of all new cars worldwide will be powered only by batteries, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates.


Edison Takes on Electric Vehicle Batteries

Many innovators take note of the electric car’s high demand, exploring ways to improve the technology. For example, Thomas Edison thought electric vehicles were the superior mode of transportation and worked to build a better battery.

Photo courtesy of the National Museum of American History.


World’s First Hybrid Electric Car Is Invented

Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the sports car by the same name, creates the Lohner-Porsche Mixte — the world’s first hybrid electric car. The vehicle is powered by electricity stored in a battery and a gas engine.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

1908 — 1912

Model T Deals a Blow to Electric Vehicles

Ford’s mass-produced Model T makes gas-powered cars widely available and affordable. In 1912, the electric starter is introduced, helping to increase gas-powered vehicle sales even more. Pictured here is Henry Ford with the first Model T and the 1 millionth.

1920 — 1935

The decline in Electric Vehicles

Better roads and discovery of cheap Texas crude oil help contribute to the decline in electric vehicles. By 1935, they have all but disappeared. Pictured here is one of the gasoline filling stations that popped up across the U.S., making gas readily available for rural Americans and leading to the rise in popularity of gas-powered vehicles.

1968 — 1973

Gas Prices Soar

Over the next, 30 years or so, cheap, abundant gasoline and continued improvement in the internal combustion engine created little need for alternative fuel vehicles. But in the 1960s and 1970s, gas prices soar through the roof, creating interest in electric vehicles again.


Over the Moon with Electric Vehicles

Around this same time, the first manned vehicle drives on the moon. NASA’s Lunar rover runs on electricity, helping to raise the profile of electric vehicles.

Photo courtesy of NASA 


The Next Generation of Electric Vehicles

Many big and small automakers begin exploring options for alternative fuel vehicles. For example, General Motors develops a prototype for an urban electric car, which the company displayed at the First Symposium on Low Pollution Power Systems Development in 1973.

Photo courtesy of Frank Lodge, U.S. National Archives

1974 — 1977

The leader in Electric Vehicle Sales

One successful electric car at this time is Sebring-Vanguard’s CitiCar. The company produces more than 2,000 CitiCars — a wedge-shaped compact car that had a range of 50-60 miles. Its popularity makes Sebring-Vanguard the sixth-largest U.S. automaker by 1975.

 Photo courtesy of AustinEV, Wikimedia Commons


Interest in Electric Cars Fades

Compared to gas-powered cars, electric vehicles at this time have drawbacks, including limited performance and range, causing interest in electric cars to fade again.

1990 — 1992

New Regulations Renew Electric Vehicle Interest

New federal and state regulations create a renewed interest in electric vehicles. The result: Automakers begin modifying popular vehicle models into electric vehicles, enabling them to achieve speeds and performance much closer to gasoline-powered vehicles.


EV1 Gains a Cult Following

GM releases the EV1, an electric vehicle that was designed and developed from the ground up. The EV1 quickly gains a cult following.

Photo courtesy of the National Museum of American History


First Mass-Produced Hybrid

Toyota introduces the first mass-produced hybrid, the Prius. In 2000, Toyota releases the Prius worldwide, and it becomes an instant success with celebrities, increasing its (and the electric vehicle’s) profile.


Building a Better Electric Car

Behind the scenes, scientists and engineers work to improve electric vehicles and their batteries. Pictured here is a researcher at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Lab testing electric vehicle batteries.


Silicon Valley Startup Takes on Electric Cars

Tesla Motors, a Silicon Valley startup, announces it will produce a luxury electric sports car with a range of 200+ miles. Other automakers take note, accelerating work on their own electric vehicles.

Photo courtesy of the Energy Department

2009 — 2013

Developing a Nation-Wide Charging Infrastructure

To help consumers charge their vehicles on the go, the Energy Department invests in nation-wide charging infrastructure, installing 18,000 residential, commercial and public chargers. Including chargers installed by automakers and other private companies, today there are 8,000 public charging locations in the U.S.


First Commercially Available Plug-In Hybrid for Sale

GM releases the Chevy Volt, making it the first commercially available plug-in hybrid. The Volt uses battery technology developed by the Energy Department.


Nissan Launches the LEAF

In December 2010, Nissan releases the LEAF, an all-electric, zero tailpipe emissions car. In January 2013, Nissan begins assembling the LEAF in Tennessee for the North American market thanks to a loan from the Energy Department.


Electric Vehicle Battery Costs Drop

The battery is the most expensive part of an electric vehicle. Thanks to investments by the Energy Department, battery costs drop by 50 percent in just four years, helping make electric vehicles more affordable for consumers.


Electric Vehicles and a Multitude of Choices

Consumers now have a multitude of choices when buying an electric vehicle, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric. Today, there are currently 23 plug-in electric vehicle and 36 hybrid models available.


The Future of Electric Cars

Electric vehicles hold a lot of potential for helping the U.S. create a more sustainable future. If the U.S. transitioned all the light-duty vehicles to hybrids or plug-in electric vehicles, we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 30-60 percent, while lowering the carbon pollution from the transportation sector by as much as 20 percent.

Now from 2015 to till date European countries and the US became the main center for delivering this technology to the whole world. All the automotive players have jumped into the electric car market because everyone knew it if they don’t develop this technology then surely will be off track of the automotive market.

In Asia – China has seriously developed this technology and rapidly changing the market size of the electric vehicle. Even world-leading electric car manufacturing company Tesla has also set up it’s manufacturing plant in china.

Now let’s talk about the Indian history of the electric car:

Developing countries like India and other Asian countries have always followed Germany, US or some other countries like Italy and China for any technological major changes in the automobile sector. 

 As same as the US and Europe market in India, the electric car history is not very much precisely available but as per the internet resources, Auto Expo Delhi 1993 witnessed the 1st electric car designed and built in India. Name “LOVE BIRD” and designed/developed by Eddy Current Controls India Pvt. Ltd.

Photo courtesy of
Specification : 
Motor – 5 HP DC series motor, Battery – Lithium Ion Rechargeable battery of 5.4 kWh. Maximum Speed – 50 mph, Charging time – 6 to 8 hours.
Furthermore about the present market of an electric vehicle can be found in the next coming articles.