An Electric Vehicle History Lesson

Interestingly enough, the whole idea of electric vehicles isn’t a new phenomenon. At the turn of the 20th century, there were three predominate types of vehicles on the road: Steam powered, electric powered, and gas powered. Guess which one was the most popular? Yeah, electric.

In the early 1900s, cars like this EV were popular.

In the early 1900s, cars like this EV were popular.

In the early 1900s, steam-powered cars did well with the general public. A little wood or coal, some water, and you’re off… after some warm-up time, of course. Gas-powered cars were relatively new, quite noisy, and stinky. At this time in history, gas stations were few and far between, making gas-powered cars less practical.

Electric cars were marketed mostly toward women. They didn’t require the long start-up times of steam, and wouldn’t break your arm (!) when you attempted to crank-start them. Instead, the quiet elegance of the electric vehicle made driving accessible to anyone. Like today’s EVs, yesteryear’s EVs also had range issues, which ultimately lead to their demise. With advancements in gas-powered cars and the propagation of gas stations on nearly every corner, gas-powered cars could just go farther.

Fast-forward back to today: Electric vehicles are having their renaissance because of many concerns: The environment, problems with oil-producing countries in the Middle East, rising gas prices… and the advancement of electric vehicle technology, making EVs a practical solution again.

Thanks to ultra-dense cities, most people drive fewer than 40 miles per day. My round-trip to and from work is 18 miles. Although EVs still have shorter range than gas-powered vehicles (Tesla Model S excluded), they are practical for a vast majority of people.

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