Automotive Facts

The Evolution Of The Electric Car

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Image via Flickr creative commons from motorblog

The current hype surrounding the electric car may lead you to believe that it is a recent technological development. However, you may not be aware that the history of the electric car actually spans back as far as the 1830s when it was given the abbreviation EV, standing for electric vehicle. For those wishing to find out more about the evolution of the electric car, here is a brief history.

1830 – 1900

It is unsure as to who first invented the electric automobile, as both Scottish inventor Robert Anderson and American Thomas Davenport both claim to be the creator. However, the 1940s saw Robert Davidson and Davenport creating practical electric vehicles using non-rechargeable electric cell batteries.

It was towards the late 1800s that electric vehicles really began to take off however, in part due to the 1889 version fashioned by Thomas Edison. In 1895, it was an electric car that took the gold medal at the Thanksgiving Day race, cementing its popularity in America. In the year 1900, electric vehicles represented 28 per cent of all cars in the United States of America. Easier to start up than regular vehicles, with zero emissions and minimal effort required for maintenance, electric cars became truly fast selling vehicles in the American market.

Fleeting fame

Unfortunately, the content with the electric car soon came to a head and by 1935, the electric car had witnessed a serious decline. With a top speed of only 14-mph and a battery life of about 18 miles, it was also very costly. What’s more, America was ahead of the game with improved road systems and mass production lines, quickly diminishing the once solid reputation of the electric vehicle.

The return of the electric vehicle

It wasn’t until the 1960s that the need for electric vehicles came about once more. As an alternatively-fuelled vehicle, the electric vehicle helped to reduce the problem of exhaust emissions from internal combustion engines, and reduced the need to depend on imported crude oil. From the 1960s onwards, many efforts were made to reproduce a modern day electric vehicle that met the requirements of the time

In 1989, the first modern electric vehicle was developed. This was closely followed by the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate which was passed in California just one year later. As people became more aware about the environment and the harm that burning car fuels was doing to it, the interest in electric cars, which are far more environmentally friendly, grew once more.

The future of the electric car

In the past, electric cars have been slated for their lack of range and poor battery life. The modern day car owner requires a car that is capable of travelling long distances without running out of steam halfway. To meet this demand, the extended range electric vehicle was designed. This is an electric vehicle that contains a small internal combustion engine which powers a recharging system. Put simply, this type of car is able to constantly recharge on the go, so drivers do not need to worry about having sufficient battery life to get to their destination.

There are already measures in place to provide fuelling stations suitable for electric cars, and more are to be seen in the future. All that is required is an upgrade to the fuelling station’s power line and the installation of electric pumps.

In terms of recharging the battery of an electric car, battery specialist Altairnano, has developed an electric vehicle whose batteries require only ten minutes recharging time.

The fact remains that electric cars are far greener. Other sources of power such as wind power, solar thermal power and photovoltaic power are becoming widely known and will be able to provide clean electricity for electric cars to run off, ensuring that the electric car remains the green, environmentally friendly option, which could help to secure its place in the future and help people to avoid getting bad credit car finance when purchasing a vehicle.

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