The electric vehicle first came around 1830. The first person to invent the electric car was Robert Anderson, a Scottish businessman. A small scale of the electric car was actually built by Christopher Becker in 1935. Christopher Becker was an assistant to Professor Sirbrandus Stratingh of the Netherlands, who had him build it.
In 1842, Thomas Davenport and Robert Davidson, an American and Scotsmen, built an electric car that was even more successful. They were also the first builders to use non-rechargeable electric cells.
France and Great Britain were among the first countries that were in great support of the electric vehicle. In 1865, Gaston Plante came up with a storage battery that was even better then before. In 1881, the storage battery was again improved and this helped to get the electric car on its path to the public.
Before the introduction of the ICE vehicle, internal combustion engines, the electric car was impressive in its numbers regarding speed and distance. Camille Janatzy held a record of beating more then 62 miles per hour in 1899 riding in his Jamais Contente rocket shaped electric car, going just over 65 miles per hour.
The first introduction into the United States of the electric car was in New York City with taxis. The electric car was doing well and even outsold gasoline powered cars in the early 1900’s for a time. The electric car was sold to upper class people and was said to be a good car for women because they were a clean, quiet running car. The downside to the electric car at this point was its speed factor, it was only able to go about 20 miles per hour.
Electric cars were the most to sell in the early 1900’s, even over the competition of gasoline based cars and and steam based cars. There were advantages that the electric car had over the competition at that point. The electric cars did not vibrate as did gasoline and steam based cars and it did not have the smell of a gasoline car either. With gasoline based cars shifting was very difficult, however, shifting was not required with an electric car. Steam vehicles took a long time to start up, especially on cold mornings. Electric cars did not have this problem. Plus, most driving was done locally as those were the best roads so this was the perfect use of the electric car.
The electric car was the popular choice made by many for some time. Then the decline came about. When America started to build roads that connected between cities in the 1920’s, cars that had better long range were needed, something the electric vehicle did not have. Also the price of gasoline became more affordable when the Texas crude oil was reduced. This allowed more purchasing power with the average customer. The need for the hand crank was no longer in 1912 when Charles Kettering invented the electric starter. While the price of the electric vehicle was rising, gasoline powered cars were not. Henry Ford was a mass producer of the gas run vehicles and this made them affordable and available more widely.
Even though some vehicles, like construction vehicles, were still electric based, the vehicle was completely phased out in the 1930’s. There are some fork lifts that are electric based and also golf carts that are still in use today.
Today there are over 100,000 electric vehicles being used in the United States. Fortune magazine, in 2007, said that there are eleven companies that are planning on making electric based cars that are capable of running on the highways in a few years. Miles Electric Vehicle is also planning on making an electric vehicle of this capacity called the XS500. Dodge has talked about an electric car called the Dodge Zeo, but nothing as of yet has come of it. Other major car companies are also in talks about making electric vehicles so the prospects of these in the future are looking good.
There are benefits of having electric vehicles in use today, especially those benefits associated with the environment. The harsh chemicals from the current vehicles being emitted in our atmosphere are making it worse while electric cars would help eliminate those harsh chemicals.
Also, not having gas powered cars would eliminate our countries dependancy on others for the oil, but at the same time the way our economy is looking, that would require the price of these vehicles to be attainable by the average American. Something that may be difficult for the auto companies to do.
As with all products, the producers of these electric vehicles are going to have to take on the task of convincing people why they should buy an electric car. This may be difficult as they have been known to be dishonest in this area.