The History of electric cars
Electric cars were first made in the late 1800’s but were swiftly replaced by the more efficient Internal Combustion Engine. Engines run on either petrol or diesel, with 90% of cars worldwide running on petrol or diesel. The first modern electric cars came to market in the 90’s. General Motors released the EV1, which was a big step, as it could compete with cars that ran on petrol. Elon Musk saw the possible success of electric cars and formed the now massive Tesla. Musk took it upon himself and the company to build an electric sports car. In 2006, he unveiled the Tesla Roadster. This was a fully electric sports car, which had a range of 400 kilometres. It caused a massive interest, as it was able to beat petrol powered sports cars in speed and acceleration. Find out more about the new Tesla roadster, which contains all the latest electric car technology on the Tesla website.
There were also other electric cars in development as this time. Toyota was working on their new generation Toyota Prius. This was designed to be very fuel efficient, as it used electricity and an engine to create a hybrid car. This was very successful and is still made today. The future however is more exciting than a Toyota Prius.
What will happen in the next few years?
Over the next couple of years, we will see many new cars come to market, from both existing companies and new start-ups. Rivian is a company based in Michigan that have been building an electric pickup truck called the R1T. They are planning to release the R1T in June 2021. They are not the only ones working on an electric pickup; Tesla are currently building their Cybertruck, which will be available in 2022. These trucks use large motors to generate huge amounts of power, which gives them a massive advantage over other petrol or diesel-powered cars and trucks. America has not been a massive market for the sale of electric vehicles. However, the most sold type of vehicle is the pickup truck so the Cybertruck and the R1T are going to bring America into the electric vehicle market.
What will happen in the distant future?
The slightly more distant future is hard to predict. We are going to see massive steps in battery technology development and electric drivetrain upgrades over the next 10 years. The current issue with electric cars is that they take a long time to charge compared to refuelling normal cars.
There is also an issue with range, as they don’t currently have the range to last all long journeys. For example, a Tesla Model 3 has a base range of 250 miles which is good for shorter journeys. However, if it had to make a journey longer than 250 miles, then you will have to stop for up to 6-8 hours to fully recharge the batteries if there isn’t a Rapid Supercharging point available. If there is one available, it can take around 30 minutes to charge. This is still a much slower than it would take to fuel a petrol or diesel car.
In the future we will see new batteries that can not only go massive distances but can also be recharged very quickly. Another development we will see will also be the charging infrastructure needed to support countries running on electric cars. Currently there are 30,000 charging points; only 1500 of these are Rapid Charging units. Estimates by scientists believe that the UK will need to quadruple the number of charging stations in the UK to support the expected rise in electric vehicles.
Regulations and new government guidelines are forcing car companies to move into the electric vehicle market, so there will certainly be a rise in electric vehicles, and a massive improvement to the technology that makes them run. The Chief Executive of Tesla, Elon Musk said, “We will not stop until every car on the road is electric”. This mindset is going to become crucial as we move into a new era of environmental preservation and massive technological advancement.
Find out the carbon footprint of an electric car compared to a petrol or diesel car by taking the FootprintFacts carbon footprint calculator.