Electric vehicles (EV) are not new to automotive markets. Beginning with the automaker giant, Tesla, other OEMs have supercharged their efforts in bringing affordable, reliable, and safe electric vehicles to the masses.
Many inventors, entrepreneurs, presidents and automakers have been fascinated with the transfer of electricity in some form or another. The earliest commercial use of electricity to power an electric vehicle was exhibited in an experimental train; it ran briefly between Washington and Baltimore (about 40 miles) in 1851. Although that experiment ultimately failed, we take note at the progress we’ve made over the last 170 years.
As the market for electric and hybrid vehicles continues to grow, Johnson Electric pledges to be the technology leader, through familiar and uncharted territory.
Following the turn of the century, fleets of electric cars began to appear. Beginning with the first crude electric vehicle around 1832, the United States continued to boom with new inventions to make the electric automobile even better than the one before. Big names like William Morrison (who created the first successful electric vehicle in the U.S.), to others like Thomas Edison, Ferdinand Porsche, and Elon Musk; they are the movers and shakers of the automotive and energy industries.
Their inventions have paved the way for forward progress and continued success for electric vehicles. Robert Anderson developed the first crude electric vehicle in 1832. Over the years, the EV has become more practical with constant cycles of evolution. These include prolonged battery life and the hybrid of fuel.
At the turn of the 20th century, electric cars became increasingly popular, especially to women and those in urban locations. The ability to afford a vehicle was seen as a luxury and a status symbol. Electric cars of this time were quiet, easy to drive and didn’t produce smelly pollutants into the air as their gas-powered counterpart. By 1900, electric vehicles accounted for around a third of all vehicles on the road including horse-drawn vehicles.
In 1908, the Ford Model T made gasoline cars more widely available and affordable; they began making inroads through the market for electric vehicles. However, residents living outside major cities often had no electricity, which made it impossible to charge electric vehicles.
Therefore, the distribution system for gasoline grew faster than the electrical grid; inevitably this made gas-powered vehicles more practical and more popular than electric cars. Electric cars all but vanished by 1935 and remained in a kind of dark age for 30 years.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, oil prices and political/economic forces made oil availability fluctuate. The Arab oil-producing states placed an embargo on their oil in 1973, which left the U.S. scrambling to develop domestic oil production.
Congress passed the Electric and Hybrid Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1976, which authorized support for research and development in electric and hybrid vehicles. Consequently, a number of test and demonstration vehicles were produced with limited consumer functionality, like low maximum speeds and short battery ranges.
By the 1990s, the public raised concerns about gasoline-powered cars as pollution producers, focusing on environmental and ecological health. In turn, Congress passed the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment, the 1992 Energy Policy Act, and new auto emissions regulations. Once again, automobile producers began to experiment with electric vehicles or modifying existing models to make electric-powered versions.
As the market for electric vehicles continued to grow, the United States Department of Energy issued a $465 million loan to Tesla Motors to produce all-electric plug-in vehicles and to open a manufacturing facility in Fremont, CA to produce battery packs and other components needed for powering the vehicles.
Tesla Motors and its founder, Elon Musk, pushed the standards for electric cars, delivering battery and electric motor technology that could carry the Tesla car 200 miles on a single charge.
With the rise of Tesla, other automakers followed suite, accelerating their work on their own versions of electric vehicles, like the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, and Toyota Prius. In 2014, there were 23 models of plug-in EVs and 36 hybrid models on the American market; more than 234,000 EVs and 3.3 million hybrid vehicles were on the road worldwide.
Unfortunately, the shortage of battery charging stations on the streets and highways in North America is a significant factor in slowing sales. However, since Tesla developed a network of over 1,200 charging stations for their own models, other OEMs have followed suit.
Volkswagen announced plans to create 2,800 electric vehicle charging stations in 17 major U.S. cities by 2019. The project is part of the company’s legal settlement for its “dieselgate” lawsuit.
Electric cars have great potential in helping the U.S. create a more sustainable future. Johnson Electric intends to help propel the cause further, whether providing solutions for better door locks, or solenoids for engines. Contact us to speak with a representative today.