Transportation: one of the foremost pivotal industries needed for the world ecosystem to function efficiently. The transportation infrastructure is what connects the people of the world. It enables interaction, travel, and productivity when it comes to all major aspects concerning life itself. However, the transportation sector is one of the most emission-yielding industries, causing excessive emission of greenhouse gasses that may hamper the environment. 

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According to the International Energy Agency (IEA); as of 2018, the transportation sector is globally responsible for approximately 25% of cumulative carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the combustion of fuel; given that it is perhaps the fastest-growing sector, it is a major contributor of global greenhouse gas emissions.

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The EV Revolution _©https://bit.ly/3hcxmsS /  https://blog.ipleaders.in/maharashtra-electric-vehicle-policy-2021/

Given the detrimental direction the world is heading in concerning the climate impact, organizations world over have undertaken strategies to rectify these issues and prevent any major negative impact before it is too late. Electric Transportation Vehicles are a major industry, aimed at providing an alternative to the otherwise carbon-emitting option that the majority masses of the world use. 

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Companies such as Tesla and MG have made noteworthy progress in attempting to make electric vehicles a mainstream vehicular transportation option. The Timeline of Electric Transportation Vehicles can be traced back to the early 19th century.

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Anyos Jedilik and his first electric vehicle_© https://www.evwind.es/2015/04/29/the-evolution-of-the-electric-car-2/51796

1828: First Attempts on a Small-scale

In 1828, the primary modes of transportation were horses and buggies, however, innovators in Hungary, Netherlands, and the U.S. started working on a variety of the first small-scale electric cars; Anyos Jedlik: A Hungarian innovator was perhaps the first to undertake so, he created a model carriage which was powered by an electrical motor.

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1832: Development of the first Crude Electric Vehicle

Robert Anderson, in 1832 developed the first crude electric vehicle: an early version of an electrical carriage, powered by a non-chargeable battery. However, it wasn’t until the 1870s or later that electric cars became far more practical.1860’sThe impracticalities of a non-rechargeable battery were addressed later within the 19th century when Gaston Plane invented a rechargeable battery in France. The same principle is utilized within the manufacturing process in the modern-day, despite this being almost 160 years ago, this was an integral part of the history of electrical vehicles.

1885

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A few decades later, things progressed even further. Thomas Parker, a Wolverhampton-based inventor designed and created a vehicle in 1885, that was incredibly practical. He reportedly drove thereto to figure regularly, and for several years. Parker’s early electric had the potential to travel mainstream – however, a flash of misfortune meant that his second prototype sank while on a ship to Paris.

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William Morrison’s Electric Vehicle_©Unknown author – Western Electrician, Volume 8 (page = 333 ) / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Morrison_(chemist)#/media/File:Morrison_Electric_undercarriage.jpg

1889 — 1891: First Electric Vehicle Debuts within the U.S.

William Morrison, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, created the first successful electric vehicle within the U.S. His car was a slightly electrified wagon, but it sparked an interest in electric vehicles.

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1891

Morrison signed an agreement with the American Battery Company to manufacture his invention and start selling it to the masses. The so-called Morrison Electric could achieve speeds of between 6-12 miles per hour, and thus the battery took around 10 hours to charge. While this would possibly not be impressive by current standards, it had been a key model within the history of electrical vehicles.

1897-98

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Throughout the rest of this decade, electric cars began to grow in popularity. Predominantly being used as taxis in NY in 1897, due to the presence of the electrical Carriage and Wagon Company of Philadelphia, followed in 1898 by Porsche unveiling its first electric, mentioned due to the P1. This early electric vehicle could reach a top speed of twenty-two miles per hour and was powered by a 3bhp motor.1899: Electric Cars Gain Popularity

Compared to the gas- and steam-powered automobiles at the time, electric cars are quiet, easy to drive, and don’t emit smelly pollutants—quickly becoming fashionable urban residents, especially women.

1900 — 1912: Electric Cars Reach Their Peak

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At the beginning of the new century, electric vehicles became a trend-worthy option within the U.S. Many innovators note the electric car’s high demand, exploring ways to strengthen the technology, accounting for around a third of all vehicles on the road, of the 4000+ cars produced in 1900, 28% of them were electric.

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Lohner-Porsche Mixte, in 1902_© ptyx/Wikimedia Commons /  https://interestingengineering.com/a-brief-history-and-evolution-of-electric-cars

1901: Edison Takes on Electric Vehicle Batteries

Edison thought electric vehicles were the superior mode of transportation and worked to form a way better battery, turning his hand to making batteries for early electric cars in 1901. World’s First Hybrid electric was Invented

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While on another part of the earth, Ferdinand Porsche, founding father of the sports car by the same name, created the Lohner-Porsche Mixte—the world’s first hybrid-electric. A vehicle powered by electricity stored during A battery and an inside combustion engine.

1908 — 1912: Model T puts down Electric Vehicles demand

At the beginning of 1910, Ford started producing petrol-powered cars at a mass-market level, a significantly cheaper model than an electric or hybrid option. Model T made gas-powered cars widely available and affordable, due to its mass production. The electrical starter introduced in 1912 increased the sales of gas-powered vehicles even more.

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1920 — 1935: The decline in Electric Vehicles

In addition to Ford’s mass-market techniques, the invention of affordable and cheap Texas petroleum throughout the ‘20s and ‘30s made running petrol cars cheaper options for the contemporary consumer. This contributed to the decline in electric vehicles. By 1935, most of them had disappeared.

1968 — 1973: Increase in Gas Prices

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In the next 30 years, cheap, abundant gasoline continued improvement in the combustion engine and extinguishing the need for alternative fuel vehicles. However, in the 1960s and 1970s, gas prices went through the roof and sparked an interest in electric vehicles once again.

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NASA’s Lunar Rover_© https://www.metabunk.org/threads/why-does-the-lunar-lander-leave-not-tracks.2818/

1971: Over the Moon with Electric Vehicles

In the latter part of the 20th century, interest in electric vehicles began to select up again – and lots of individuals accredit this to NASA’s Lunar Rover, which was employed by the crews of Apollo 15, 16, and 17 to maneuver along the surface of the moon, and it had been the primary manned vehicle to try to so. NASA’s Lunar rover ran on electricity, helping raise the profile of electrical vehicles.

1973: Subsequent generation of electrical Vehicles

Many big and tiny automakers began exploring options for alternative fuel vehicles. For instance, General Motors developed a prototype for an urban electric, which the corporation displayed at the primary Symposium on Low Pollution Power Systems Development in 1973. a few years later, General Motors developed a prototype for a more modern, urban electric vehicle, which helped to boost the profile of those cars again.

1974 — 1977: Leader in Electric Vehicle Sales

CitiCar was launched by manufacturer Sebring-Vanguard in 1974. Over 2000 models were produced, and thus the carmaker became the sixth largest in America from the sales. This wedge-shaped compact had a spread of 50-60 miles. By 1975 Sebring-Vanguard became the sixth-largest U.S. automaker. However, compared to petrol cars, the first electric vehicles lacked power and speed, preventing them from devouring mass-market appeal, and thus the car markets of the ‘70s and ‘80s remained dominated by petrol and diesel.

1979: Fading Interest in Electric Cars

Electric vehicles had drawbacks when compared to gas-powered cars, such as limited performance and range, resulting in the fading interest in electric cars.

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The EV1 by GM_© 2008 General Motors / https://www.topgear.com/car-news/electric/gm-could-have-led-electric-revolution-ev1

1990 — 1992: Renewed Interest in Electric Vehicle as a result of New Regulations 

A renewed interest in electric vehicles was created by new federal and state regulations. Automakers thereby started modifying popular models into electric vehicles, enabling them to understand speeds and performance much closer to gasoline-powered vehicles.

1996: EV1 Gains a Cult Following

The ‘90s were a key turning point within the fashionable history of electrical cars. In 1996, General Motors launched another vehicle powered by electricity, the EV1, an electric vehicle that was designed and developed from the bottom up. The EV1 quickly gained a cult following. The EV1 was incredibly fashionable for patrons and car fans, despite being discontinued by the manufacturer over profitability concerns.

1997: First Mass-Produced Hybrid

Toyota introduced the primary mass-produced hybrid, the Prius. In 2000, Toyota released the Prius worldwide, and it became a success. It was the first hybrid car to be mass-produced. This was also well-received, and over the years has boasted a spread of environmentally-conscious celebrity owners.

1999: Building a far better electric

Scientists and engineers discreetly worked to enhance electric vehicles and their batteries.

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Tesla Roadster_© https://www.tesla.com/roadster

2006: Tesla Enters

The luxury appeal of hybrid and electric cars was explored further by Tesla, a Silicon Valley startup who at now was relatively small. They announced their intention to form a completely electric vehicle with a spread of over 200 miles, which came in 2008 within the type of the Roadster. Other automakers took note and accelerated work on their electric vehicles.

2010’s

Post Roadster’s launch, the increasing public demand for eco-friendly cars became clear. Focus by the public and government shift increasingly on the environment and reducing carbon emissions, hybrid and electric cars were considered to possess an important role to play. A variety of popular manufacturers released electric vehicles towards the very best of the last decade, including the MG ZS EV. Grants by the government made traveling electric easier, this was a pivotal stage in the timeline of electric cars.

2009 — 2013: Developing a Nation-Wide Charging Infrastructure

To help consumers charge their vehicles on the go, the Department of Energy invested in nationwide charging infrastructure, installing 18,000 residential, commercial, and public chargers. Including chargers installed by automakers and other private companies, currently, there are 8,000 public charging locations within the U.S.

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Nissan LEAF_© https://usa.nissannews.com/en-US/releases/release-25819c9aeb4792ebec3d4ddceb020a39-2022-nissan-leaf-goes-on-sale-with-additional-standard-features-and-new-starting-msrp-of-27400

2010: First Commercially Available Plug-In Hybrid purchasable

GM released the Chevy Volt, making it the primary commercially available plug-in hybrid. The Volt used battery technology developed by the Department of Energy. Nissan released an all-electric, zero-tailpipe-emissions car: LEAF, in December 2010. In January 2013, Nissan began assembling the LEAF in Tennessee for the North American market due to a loan from the Department of Energy.

2013: Electric Vehicle Battery Costs Drop

The battery was the foremost expensive part of an electric vehicle thanks to investments by the Department of Energy, battery costs dropped by 50 percent in only four years, helping make electric vehicles cheaper for consumers.

2014: Electric Vehicles and a mess of Choices

Consumers now had a mess of choices when buying an electrical vehicle, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric. 36 hybrids and 23 electric plug-in vehicles were available at this point.

2015 and ahead: The longer-term of electrical Cars

Electric vehicles hold plenty of potential for helping the U.S. and therefore the remainder of the planet create a more sustainable future. If the U.S. shifts from all light-duty vehicles to hybrids or plug-in electric vehicles, the dependence on foreign oil would scale back by 30-60 percent while lowering the carbon pollution from the transportation sector by the utmost amount of 20 percent.

The Timeline of Electric Transportation Vehicles has been filled with crests and troughs, while the attempt towards normalizing greener transportation alternatives is constant, only time will tell, whether the Electric Vehicles will become the new normal for transportation world over.

References

Department of Energy (2020). Timeline: History of the Electric Car [online]. (Last updated 2020). Available at https://www.energy.gov/timeline/timeline-history-electric-car [Accessed 20 September 2021].

MG Official Website (2020). THE HISTORY OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A TIMELINE [online]. (Last updated 2020). Available at https://mg.co.uk/behind-the-wheel/electric/the-history-of-electric-vehicles-a-timeline/ [Accessed 21 September 2021].

KEVIN A. WILSON (2018). Worth the Watt: A Brief History of the Electric Car, 1830 to Present [online]. (Last updated 15 March 2018). Available at https://www.caranddriver.com/features/g15378765/worth-the-watt-a-brief-history-of-the-electric-car-1830-to-present/ [Accessed 21 September 2021].

Matt Robertson; Leland West (2021). Worth the Watt: A Brief History of the Electric Car, 1830 to Present [online]. (Last updated 2021). Available at https://www.lelandwest.com/history-of-the-electric-vehicle.cfm [Accessed 21 September 2021].

eTrio technologies (2020). Electric Vehicles: Where it All Started [online]. (Last updated 2020). Available at https://www.etrio.in/blog/history-of-electric-vehicles.html [Accessed 21 September 2021].

Christopher McFadden (2020). A Brief History and Evolution of Electric Cars [online]. (Last updated 01 Jul 2020). Available at https://interestingengineering.com/a-brief-history-and-evolution-of-electric-cars [Accessed 21 September 2021].

Author

A final year architecture student, currently studying in SVKM-NMIMS Balwant Sheth School of Architecture, Mumbai, he has allied interests towards architectural photography and writing. Having a penchant for films and philosophy as well, he is of the belief that architecture and design have the ability to capture the most pivotal moments in life itself.

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