Electric vehicles are a lot more common now than they were 15 years ago, and the trend isn’t expected to slow down. In fact, a 2019 report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that 57 percent of all new passenger car sales will be electric by 2040. Electric vehicles certainly are not a new invention, but consumer priorities have been shifting to favor a cleaner form of energy. The changing preferences away from gas vehicles have made electric vehicle production more prominent.
A brief history of electric vehicles
The very first electric car was created all the way back in the 1830s. The problem at the time, however, was that batteries were not rechargeable. The vehicle could run a short distance using a battery, but to repeatedly replace it was expensive and cumbersome, so the idea did not fully catch on. The first electric vehicle did not even debut in the U.S. until 1896, and at the time the vehicle was little more than an electric carriage. Even so, it sparked many people’s curiosity and actually started to gain some traction. People appreciated how it burned clean energy and didn’t smell or produce exhaust.
Unfortunately, in 1912 the gas-powered Model-T was released which was affordable and largely available to the public. After this, electric vehicles started to decline as people focused on gas-powered modes of transportation. It was not until more than 60 years later in 1973 that people started giving EVs attention again. This was thanks to the Lunar Rover, which was an electric vehicle sent to the moon by NASA. After this accomplishment, people began experimenting with EVs again, however, the vehicles still were not particularly popular. The battery range was just too short, and the performance was not as impressive as the gas-powered alternatives.
The 1990s are when EVs finally started to gain some real traction in the auto industry. New federal regulations implemented at that time prompted automakers to explore the EV possibilities. Electric and hybrid versions of popular vehicles then started to be produced, catching the attention of the public. Over the next 10 years, the EV sector continued to see improvements in technology and battery life with the production of vehicles like the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle drawing even more attention to the potential of electric vehicles.
Finally, in 2006, Tesla Motors was founded by Elon Musk and set the stage for the next 15 years of electric vehicle excellence. The company released a stunning sports car with a battery range of up to 200 plus miles, outperforming many other EV brands at the time.
Tesla Motors and the electric car
Tesla Motors stood out from the rest of the auto industry right from the beginning for several reasons. Namely, the brand solely focused on electric vehicles and clean energy. Not just a standard EV, either, but a sports car that would be fashionable with impressive performance. The company was determined to show the world that electric vehicles could perform just as well as gas-powered vehicles, if not better.
The 2008 Roadster unveiled the cutting-edge battery technology the company had been working on and demonstrated that EVs could travel just as far as their gas-counterparts without needing to recharge. The battery life and attractive design are not the only impressive aspects of Tesla Motors, either. The brand is also well-known for its autopilot, or self-driving, feature. The autopilot aspect of Tesla was released in 2015 and gained global recognition. The advanced technology automatically kept the vehicle in its own lane while monitoring the distance to other vehicles and making slight corrections in speed. Since 2015, this technology has only improved, and people are excited by the possibilities Tesla represents.
Overall, it doesn’t look like the demand for efficient EVs will be slowing any time soon. More and more people are taking an interest in clean energy and looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. This is particularly true after 11,000 scientists gave an official warning in 2019 about a coming climate crisis. People are starting to recognize just how big of an impact gas vehicle have on carbon emissions and air pollution. Consumers are willing to switch to electric vehicles, they just need to be affordable.
The infrastructure also needs to be in place. For a long time, there were not many locations available for charging an EV. Consumers would have to plug-in at home or work to find an alternative location. Many countries, however, have acknowledged the rise in EVs which is why there are many initiatives underway to build up the charging infrastructure. As more and more EV designs are released, consumers have been investing in these clean-energy vehicles, effectively changing the auto industry landscape.