The topic of today’s article will be the history and evolution of the electric car. Over the years there have been some interesting ideas about what the electric car would look like in the future, and most of them are pretty laughable now they are actually being mass produced. No, the electric car is not one of those space ship resembling hovercrafts from the 1930s World’s Fair. They are practical and beautiful looking machines that offer reliability and fuel efficiency to modern drivers.
The electric car has been around for a lot longer than most people think. They have been in the market even longer than the traditional petrol guzzlers that have become the norm. They were just never that practical or affordable. For example, in 1911 there was already a combination petrol/electric car being produced by Woods Motor Vehicle Company.
The main problem for electric cars throughout early history is that the batteries were just far too weak and bulky to be practical in a motor vehicle. They were fine in some niche areas, but for the regular consumer it just made no sense. Through the early to mid-twentieth century the electric car was around, but was becoming less and less popular as average driving distances increased and road networks improved.
In the 1990’s we finally started seeing some practical concepts come into play as technology increase the practicality of electric vehicles. Fuel efficiency was starting to become a big concern, and something had to be done about it. This is the time that the well-known Toyota Prius first started hitting the streets. It was still woefully underpowered to be used as a long range vehicle, but worked well for people living in big cities that didn’t need to travel very far. Another great draw for consumers was the price of insurance, as consumers enjoyed significantly lower premiums than standard car insurance, or performance car insurance on prestige cars. These little vehicles did not have a lot of power behind them, and were therefore affordable to insure for the average consumer.
Electric Cars in the 21st Century
The new millennium is when electric vehicles really started to become practical. Manufacturers were now able to produce an electric motor that had the power and charge capabilities to carry a decent weight over long distances and at good speeds too. The new hybrid vehicles seem to be bridging the gap between petrol power and electricity very well. People are now looking at these cars as good investments.
When you look at the larger hybrid SUV and crossover models price is still a big factor. These vehicles cost a lot more than there petrol and diesel fueled cousins, and therefore are meeting more resistance in the market.
We are starting to see a rising tide of electric car ownership both by businesses and consumers. It is only a matter of time before they become a true mainstream player in the world car economy. Every year the technology gets better and cheaper, so it is just a matter of time until big electric vehicles are the standard, instead of the fossil fuel burning vehicles we are trying to get away from. In the US Chevrolet has really made strides in this arena over the last few years, with their popular Volt model, is a mid-sized family car.
In the years to come it is more than likely that we will all be driving vehicles that we plug in overnight, and wondering why we ever needed to spend hundreds of pounds a week at the petrol pump. But they will not look like spaceships for quite a while.