EV BASICS 1O1: Who made the first electric car | A brief history & evolution of Electric Mobility

Electric cars may be seen as a trendy and modern topic today, but it is not actually an invention of our time. It dates back more than 200 years! Did you know the first ever car was an electric one?

(P.C: Brendan McAleer, Globe and Mail

Already in 1881, thus even before internal combustion engine, French engineer Gustave Trouvé showed the world the first electric auto - a tricycle with electric motor and battery. This is technically still the base architecture for EVs. It drove 10km/h, which at that time was considered dangerously fast 😊. The first Benz car with ICE (internal combustion engine) arrived only in 1886.

In 1899, Belgian race car driver - Camille Jenatzy even set a record for reaching above 100 km/h top speed with his electric car.

The evolution of electric mobility roughly started from the beginning of 18th century, when several scientists in Europe started playing around batteries and motors. Around 1830, Scottish inventor Robert Anderson showcased a crude electric carriage – which is often considered as the first electric car. Around the same time, American inventor Thomas Davenport also showed an electric model.

Thus, It’s difficult to pinpoint who made the first electric car or when the first ever electric car was invented. Today’s electric cars are the result of multiple technology breakthroughs – from batteries to electric motors. So no single inventor nor a country can take the credit!

At the end of the 19th century, trains were already rolling from the electricity supplied via overhead lines (busbars). Figures from the early 20th century shows that electric cars and fleet were significantly present in the US and on Western European roads.

The internal combustion engines at that time had one major drawback, that they had to be laboriously started with a crank! But the invention of “electric starters” in 1911 gave rebirth to combustion engine vehicles. . From then on, combined with the facts of low range and expensive batteries by then, electric vehicles had a niche existence; but EVs never disappeared completely.

In Mid-1990s, Toyota came up with Prius – world’s first mass-produced hybrid model to the international market. Around 2004, the Roadster built further confidence for the viable electric transport for highways and longer distances.

In the meantime, Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF came to roads around 2010 and became a huge success. Next was undoubtedly it’s the announcement of Tesla Motors that re-shaped the entire electric mobility industry.

Recent technology developments in batteries, that cut the price of EV battery by more than half, concurrently enhancing the performance, has enabled the huge intake of the Electric Vehicles – with more number of cars in every range to choose from!

Interesting history, Isn't it? Are you curious to watch it through these Top 8 electric cars ahead of their time ?

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