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The History of Electric Cars

To begin, we’re going back to the mid 1800’s, over 50 years before Ford’s Model T. The history of exactly who and when created the first electric car becomes blurred, but what we do know is that across the world three men - Anyos Jedlik, Vermont Thomas Davenport, and Sibrandus Stratingh - all created electric vehicles from the years 1828 - 1834. While the cars weren’t practical and lacked functionality then, the invention itself has since paved the way into a new wave of technology.

What we do know is that years later in 1889 the first electric vehicle was debuted in the United States.While the car was fundamental, resembling little more than a wagon, an intense interest further sparked for electric vehicles in the United States.


Ten years after the first electric car was debuted in the US they began to gain popularity. The easy to drive, non fumed cars, were becoming more and more popular with urban residents. By 1912 one third of road vehicles in the United States were electric as they reached a peak. Unfortunately for electric vehicles, Henry Ford improved his Model T in 1912 and in subsequent years better roads, cheaper oil, and further improvements to car engines lead to a steep decline in the efficiency of electric vehicles. By 1935 the electric car industry was almost non-existent.


It wasn’t until 1973 that automotive makers began re-examining the electric vehicle market. A number of clean energy cars were unveiled by large companies such as General Motors and Toyota during this time, although the resurgence hit a wall as drivers interest in sports cars began to take off.


The year 2004 is when this story may seem more familiar to the younger audience - when Tesla Motors began developing its first electric car. In 2008 the Tesla Roadster become the first highway-legal electric vehicle. Tesla began to take the automotive industry by storm, with other automakers embracing electric vehicles as well in the coming years. While the market share for electric vehicles isn’t at ⅓ like in the early 1900s, today the electric vehicle market share has pushed past 5% and is steadily growing.


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