Let’s a look at the history of the development of electric vehicles. The history of EVs is much longer than you might think. In this article, we will have a short tour of the evolution of electric vehicles.
My task is to give you a general understanding of the topic and you are invited to read carefully and enjoy the process. Let’s start!
Conventionally, there are six stages in the evolution of electric vehicles:
- The origin of EV.
- Intensive development and competition with the cars with internal combustion engines.
- Reduction in demand and only local use.
- Extensive research and development.
- The decline in popularity and the last one.
- The revival of electric cars.
The 1st Stage: (1837–1895)
At the first stage, electric vehicles were developed in parallel with conventional cars. At that time, cars with internal combustion engines could not compete seriously with electric vehicles. After all, the design of electric vehicles was easier.
The first-ever built working electric vehicle is attributed to Thomas Davenport, the inventor of the first American electric motor more precisely DC (Direct Current) electric motor. With the help of both his brother and wife, Davenport built his DC motor. Along with his own battery, step by step. His wife, Emily, even sacrificed her wedding dress, cutting it into strips for insulating the wires of his new motor.
In 1860, a big step was made in the electric vehicle industry. The rechargeable lead-acid battery was invented. In 1881, a three-wheeled car was presented in the United States. Using a rechargeable lead-acid battery, the vehicle can reach speeds up to 7.5 mph (12 km/h).
In 1884, Thomas Parker designed and built his electric car. Actually, Parker was a very inventive person in the field of electricity. He was responsible for electrifying the London Underground and a Blackpool electric tram.
The 2nd Stage: (1896-1930)
The second stage is characterized by competition in the creation of cars, whose production was noticeably growing. During this period, electric cars began to be mass-produced. In 1898, Ferdinand Porsche presented the ‘Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton model’ (known as the ‘P1’ for short).
The sheer volume of ideas realized within this vehicle remains remarkable even today. The highly compact electric drive, weighing just 130 kg, offered an output of 3 HP. The overall range of the vehicle could span up to 50 miles (80 km).
The most significant technological advance of that era was the invention of regenerative braking in 1897 by Frenchman Alexandre Darracq on his electric coupe. This method allows recuperating the vehicle’s energy, the kinetic energy. while braking and recharging the batteries, which greatly enhances the driving range.
Besides, among the most significant electric vehicles of that era was the first vehicle ever to reach 100 km/h. It was “La Jamais Contente” built by Frenchman Camille Jenatzy. Here you can see the replica of this car.
During this period, the cars were mass-produced. In 1912, 6,000 electric passenger cars and 4,000 electric trucks were produced in the United States. It should be noted that the trucks had a great capacity, which sometimes exceeded 6 tons.
The 3rd Stage: (1931-1960)
The third stage is characterized by a sharp reduction in the production of electric vehicles. As gasoline automobiles became more powerful, more flexible, and, above all, easier to handle, electric vehicles started to disappear.
For nearly 60 years, the only electric vehicles sold were common golf carts and delivery vehicles.
The 4th Stage: (1961-1982)
The fourth stage can be noted for the newly increased interest in electric vehicles. In 1966, General Motors (GM) built the Electrovan, which was propelled by induction motors that were fed by inverters built with thyristors.
The first oil crisis showed the industrial nations how dependent they were on oil-exporting countries. The price of fuel rose drastically. In this regard, during this period, a large number of prototypes of electric vehicles were developed. But, unfortunately, they had no future development.
The 5th Stage: (1983-2010)
At the fifth stage, the development of electric vehicles declined again. This is due to the failure of battery operation and the lack of new power sources with high energy consumption at a low cost.
The electric car, EV1 (Electrical Vehicle 1) – auto company General Motors deserves the most attention at this period. The first generation of the EV1 had conventional lead-acid batteries installed. Power reserve range from 90 to 120 km. 660 cars were produced.
The second-generation EV-1 had nickel-metal hydride batteries. Power reserve was up to 240 km. 457 cars were produced.
But they also tried something truly revolutionary. EV 1 – the world’s first, modern, electric car. It was fast, sleek, and powered only by electricity. First of all, it was the coolest car I ever had. I was taking care of a plan and I wasn’t It was a fantastic ride, it was fast, maybe 17 mph, you know, just feeling like million bucks.Danny Devito, a Driver of EV1
But GM lost fail. In 2003, the program was closed. Electric vehicles were recalled from the users and destroyed. There are only 2 electric cars left in the museums.
Finally, we turn to Tesla Motors. Tesla Motors produced its first electric car, the Roadster, in 2008. It is the first all-electric car capable of traveling more than 320 kilometers per charge. It can also reach an incredible top speed of 200 km/h.
The 6th Stage: (2011-Today)
The sixth stage of development can be called the rebirth of electric vehicles. 2010 is considered the conventional date of its beginning. It was then that the serial production of the most common electric car in the world, namely the Nissan Leaf, began.
In 2012, the serial production of the Tesla Model S started. The demand for this electric vehicle was so high that about 1,000 cars a week went off the assembly line. And it is not surprising that since 2013 the Tesla Model S has been considered one of the safest cars in the world. So the vector of development has been set, and other companies have to adapt to the requirements of today.
Now it is difficult to find at least one popular car company which would not produce environmentally friendly cars. Now we can say with confidence that electric cars have a promising future!
The first stage (1837-1895)
- The first electric car was built by Thomas Davenport, the inventor of the first American-manufactured DC electric motor.
- In 1860, a lead-acid rechargeable battery was invented.
- In 1881 a three-wheeled electric automobile was presented in the USA. Using the lead-acid rechargeable battery, it was able to reach a speed of up to 12 km/h.
- In 1884, Thomas Parker designed and built his electric car.
The second stage (1896-1930)
- In 1898, Ferdinand Porsche presented the ‘Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton Model’ (known as the ‘P1’ for short). A compact electric drive, weighing just 130 kg, had a capacity of 3 horsepower. The total mileage of the car went up to 50 miles (80 km).
- In 1897, Alexandre Darracq invented regenerative braking. This allows you to recover the kinetic energy of the vehicle during the braking and recharging of the batteries, which greatly increases the mileage.
The third stage (1931-1960)
- The third stage was characterized by a sharp contraction of electric vehicle output. Petrol cars began to actively produce. Electric cars have disappeared for almost 60 years.
The fourth stage (1961-1982)
- The fourth stage was characterized by a newly heightened interest in electric cars.
- In 1966, General Motors (GM) built the Electrovan, which was propelled by induction motors that were fed by inverters built with thyristors.
- The 1973 oil crisis began when the members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries proclaimed an oil embargo. Fuel prices had been growing up a lot.
- Consequently, during that period, the largest number of electric vehicle prototypes were created. Although they did not find any further notable development.
The fifth stage (1982-2010)
- At the fifth stage, the electric vehicles development recession was beginning again.
- The electrical EV1 (Electrical Vehicle 1) – an auto that was created by General Motors was the most noteworthy in that period.
- In the first generation, EV1 had standard lead-acid batteries (the car range reserve was from 90 to 120 km). In the second generation of EV1, nickel-metal hydride batteries were installed (the car range reserve was up to 240 km).
- In 2003, GM closed this program. EV1 was removed from users and destroyed.
- Tesla Motors released its first electric car, the Roadster, in 2008. It was the first fully electric car capable to travel over 320 kilometers on one charge. It could also reach an incredible speed of 200 km/h.
The sixth stage (2011-Today)
- The sixth stage of electric vehicle development can be named their revival. We can consider 2010 year as the beginning of this period. That’s when the serial production of the most widespread electric vehicle in the world began, namely the Nissan Leaf.
- In 2012 the mass production of Tesla Model S started.
We hope that everything was as simple and clear as possible. In case you have any questions, leave them in the comment section. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your EV lovers.