The history of electric vehicles is a fascinating one. It has seen a number of ups and downs throughout the years, but they’ve made huge strides in the last few decades thanks to two events.
The first electric car was created in 1835 by a British inventor, Robert Anderson. Others followed suit, and by the end of the 19th century electric cars dominated the world.
In the early 19th century, steam power ruled the world of automobiles. However, a number of inventors began experimenting with electric cars, and some even produced models.
In 1828, Hungarian Anyos Jedlik built a small-scale model car powered by an electric motor. Later, Robert Anderson of Scotland also invented a crude electric carriage.
A few years after Jedlik’s work, Thomas Davenport of Brandon, Vermont, built a small-scale battery-powered electric car. He used it to operate a miniature car on a short section of track, paving the way for electrification of streetcars.
Although Davenport’s car was successful, it lacked the power and range that could make electric vehicles practical on the road. In order to develop electric cars, a new type of storage battery had to be invented.
Inventors like Frenchman Gaston Plante and his countryman Camille Faure improved the storage battery’s ability to supply current. They also developed the basic lead-acid battery that is now common in most vehicles.
These improvements led to a more powerful and durable battery that allowed for the development of more efficient electric cars. These advances were crucial to the success of electric vehicles and helped to bring them closer to becoming a reality.
By the mid-1970s, two electric vehicle manufacturers had emerged. The Sebring-Vanguard company made over 2,000 “CitiCars,” and the Elcar Corporation created the “Elcar.”
Other companies were also developing electric vehicles, including the Battronic Company, which worked with General Electric to produce 175 utility vans. In addition, several large manufacturing companies were also producing battery-powered electric vehicles.
The first major breakthrough in the history of the electric vehicle was the invention of the storage battery. The storage battery is essential to allow the electric car to run and provide sufficient energy to drive the car’s motor.
The storage battery has a number of key features, including the ability to store large amounts of energy in a compact space. It also prevents the vehicle from overheating when it’s charging up. Today, there are a wide variety of batteries available for use in electric cars, from lithium polymer to lithium manganese oxide.
The history of electric vehicles dates back to the 1830s when Scotland’s Robert Anderson developed a motorized carriage that moved without the need for steam or gasoline. It was more of a parlor trick than a transportation device, but his invention did show how an electric vehicle could be built to transport passengers.
However, the electric car’s popularity soon petered out as cheap and abundant gasoline came on the scene. As the internal combustion engine improved, it became more efficient and less expensive to produce. In the 1920s, Henry Ford’s mass-produced Model T paved the way for gasoline cars to become cheaper and more common.
As a result, electric vehicles largely went out of fashion in the 1930s. But the technology behind them was never forgotten and scientists continued to develop new ways of using electricity to power vehicles.
After the oil crises of the 1970s, interest in alternative fuel vehicles began to rise again. Many large and small automakers began exploring options for alternative fuel vehicles, including electric cars. Even NASA helped raise the profile of the electric vehicle when it developed its first manned lunar rover.
But electric vehicles still had their share of drawbacks compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, including limited range and slow top speeds. Despite this, scientists and engineers continued to explore electric vehicles in the 1990s, when fuel-efficient cars were becoming more popular.
One of the most well-known examples of this was GM’s EV1 – a small two-seater that achieved speeds and performance similar to a gasoline-powered car. The EV1 was featured in the film Who Killed the Electric Car and quickly gained a cult following, but the vehicle never became commercially viable because of its high production costs.
In the 1990s, car manufacturers started to introduce small-scale versions of their conventional models that were designed to run on electric batteries. This gave consumers a taste of the future, but they were often crude conversions that weren’t very practical.
The nineties were a crucial time for electric vehicles, as they were pushed to meet new environmental regulations and the California Air Resources Board mandated that all new cars sold in the state must have a minimum electric driving range of 260 km (160 miles). With such new regulations, automakers began to modify their popular models into electric variations. Some even designed electric vehicles from the ground up to achieve better batteries and increased speed and range. Ultimately, a new generation of electric vehicles emerged and the technology has returned stronger than ever.
Electric cars need batteries to power their motors and electronics. Most EVs are equipped with lithium-ion batteries, which have high energy capacity and can be recycled to help reduce their carbon footprint.
Batteries are also important in grid-connected electricity storage systems such as microgrids. These batteries can store a wide range of electric energy, such as renewable and traditional sources, to help maintain system resilience.
However, the current production of these batteries has serious environmental and human-rights concerns. Two-thirds of the world’s supply comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where mining and processing operations are subject to heavy metal pollution and environmental damage. The smelting and leaching processes for the lithium, nickel, manganese, and cobalt used in EV batteries pose serious health hazards to workers.
As electric vehicles continue to grow in popularity, a growing number of jurisdictions are taking action to address climate change and emissions through the development of sustainable battery supply chains. This requires more battery production in the short term and a better understanding of what to do with used batteries at the end of their life.
Some of these end-of-life (EOL) batteries could be repurposed into grid-connected energy storage. A study by NREL suggests that these batteries could provide valuable energy storage services at a reasonable cost, and could be deployed in a flexible way across different microgrids to reduce power system costs and improve system resilience.
One challenge with repurposed batteries is that they have to be tested for degradation and performance. This involves a combination of laboratory testing and in-field evaluation. UCSD and NREL have worked together on battery life and degradation testing at a microgrid testbed in San Diego, California.
Lithium-ion batteries shuttle lithium ions from the anode to the cathode using a special electrolyte that prevents flammable materials from entering the cells. This process allows the lithium ions to flow through the electrolyte and into the anode at a very fast rate, which is how these batteries can produce electricity.
Lithium-ion batteries can hold more energy than lead-acid or nickel-metal hydride batteries. This helps speed up a transition to EVs by allowing people to drive longer distances without having to stop to charge the battery.
Electric vehicles are driving the world’s auto industry into a new, cleaner future. EVs don’t burn fossil fuels like gasoline or diesel, so they produce zero exhaust emissions. This is a major environmental advantage, as fuel-powered vehicles produce huge amounts of carbon dioxide that contribute to global warming and sooty particulates that lead to poor air quality.
The world’s leading carmakers are committed to a complete transition to electric vehicles. Many have announced plans to phase out ICE-powered cars by 2030, and the US government has set an ambitious goal to move toward 50 percent electric vehicles by 2030.
Sales of EVs are rising worldwide, and the market is growing at a rapid rate. By 2021, sales of electric cars tripled in China and doubled in Europe. This trend is accelerating, and according to a recent UBS forecast, EVs will be the majority of new cars sold in 2025.
Despite the rapid growth, however, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed before we can fully expect widespread adoption of electric vehicles. One of these is battery technology.
Batteries are the key to EVs’ success, and battery manufacturers have been making headway in developing better batteries. As they become more advanced, they can store more power, and take up less space than conventional vehicles.
These new battery technologies are helping to bring EVs to market and allowing drivers to travel further on a single charge. But they also pose a few problems, especially in terms of supply chain issues. The main chemical used in EV batteries, lithium, is becoming scarce, and EV makers are looking to sodium, which is heavier but shares much of the same chemical makeup as lithium, for alternatives.
Another challenge is the need to build out charging infrastructure to support a growing number of EVs on the road. This is a critical step in the EV revolution, and public charging stations will be vital to establishing a strong market for EVs.
Ultimately, the most important thing that will make or break the future of EVs is their widespread adoption. It’s going to be up to governments to put an increasingly heavy foot on the pedal in promoting and supporting this trend, as well as providing incentives for EVs and charging infrastructure that will make a smooth transition possible.