Electric Cars – Past and Present
To most of us, electric cars can seem so modern and exotic. In truth, electric cars are older than internal combustion vehicles.
Did you know that an electric car held the land speed record until 1900? Now, they are headed back to that dominance as some world’s largest auto manufacturers begin to create electric vehicles again and work to compete with each other.
The History of Electric Cars
No one is quite sure who created the first electric car, but we have records that date back as far as 1828.
- 1828 – Ányos Jedlik creates the first car that is powered by an electric motor
- 1834 – Thomas Davenport builds a car that travels on an electrified track
- 1835 – Professor Sibrandus Stratingh builds a car powered by non-rechargeable batteries
- 1837 – Robert Davidson invents the first full-size electric locomotive
One area where electricity has always reigned supreme is on the railways. Even the largest locomotive uses fuel to heat water. That water is then passed through a turbine that generates electricity. The electricity powers an electric engine that can pulls hundreds or thousands of tons.
London was dominated by electric battery-powered taxis during the late 19th century. In fact, there were dozens of car models that all ran on electric power. They were preferred to the gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles of the time that were loud, smelly, and expensive.
Electric cars were preferred by the wealthy and well-heeled. Since the cars were quieter and a lot less messy, they were much better for someone who was conscious of their clothing and style.
Electric Cars Today
Today’s electric cars are seeing an evolution in style, speed, and efficiency.
Through the early 2000s, there was resistance to electric by auto manufacturers. It would cause a change in style, materials, and, obviously, the engine. Naturally, the powerful oil and gas industry was not a fan either.
Oddly, in the United States and other places, electric vehicle pose a concern for politicians. Since these vehicles don’t use gasoline, any potential gas tax was not paid by this group that only used electricity. In the US state of Illinois, a recent proposal to impose a $1,000 annual tax on electric cars. Similar issues and concerns have presented themselves around the world as electric vehicles grow in popularity.
As for consumers, companies like Tesla and even the major automakers, like Toyota and General Motors, have begun selling electric vehicles that move fast, are fuel efficient, and can travel longer distances.
Most electric vehicles in use today around the world are low speed, short distance vehicles designed for travel within a neighborhood.
Electric car charging points
At one time, charging an electric car took a lot of planning or highly specialized and very expensive equipment. Today’s car chargers are much less expensive, easier to install, and as simple to use as a gas pump.
Battery chargers for EVs are now found in front of nearly every large corporation, shopping center, and at rest areas everywhere. Many of these stations accept credit cards and other forms of payment to make it easy for operators to recharge their vehicles.
Charging stations are as simple as literally plugging in a vehicle. It takes seconds to plug a vehicle in and these new chargers charge vehicles faster than ever.
Interactive screens and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance make these new chargers accessible to everyone.
In the middle days of EVs, the 1980s to 2000s, charging a vehicle was a huge hassle. Today, it’s easier and more available than ever. Most chargers use 240V power of different phases to power the electric car charging points. Since every home and office has 240V power as it’s used for ovens, clothes dryers, and more, installing a car battery charger is simple. Some companies have designed chargers that self-contained units, no more difficult to install that a stove. In fact, they can be wired by an electrician and simply plug into the building’s power grid.
The Future of Electric Cars
There is a large and growing movement to convert all vehicles to electric. They are more efficient and cleaner than gas or diesel vehicles.
One of the areas where there is great promise is with freight trucks or lorries. A movement is afoot to convert these fuel consuming vehicles to electric. The beauty is that an electric vehicle doesn’t release a lot of noxious smoke and fumes. This will make the air in our communities and along our highways cleaner and fresher.
The future will be electric cars. Even the large oil and gas companies are assisting with energy storage technologies and battery development.
Electric cars are more efficient than their gasoline counterparts. As electric car charging stations are put up in front of every store, shopping center, and business, having an electric car will be more convenient that even a gasoline or diesel vehicle.