So, when was the world's first electric car built?
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Well, that depends on your definition. The first working electric motor and electric vehicle, a small locomotive that used two electromagnets, a pivot and a battery, was built by Thomas Davenport, an American from Vermont, in or Thinking about the time period can be surprising -- in , Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the United States, English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge passed away and French painter Edgar Degas was born.
History of the electric vehicle - Wikipedia
The material for Davenport's electromagnetic design, however, was simply too expensive at the time, and it would be several decades before electric cars would be practical. Other electric car inventors around this early period include Robert Anderson of Scotland, who may have designed an electric carriage sometime between the years of and , and Sibrandus Stratingh, a Dutch inventor who built an electromagnetic cart during the s.
If we're talking about practical electric cars that were or could have been mass-produced and driven practically, however, then the first electric car was most likely built by Thomas Parker, a British inventor, in Parker was also the man responsible for electrifying the London Underground known today as the Tube , and his interest in fuel efficiency and fuel-efficient vehicles seemed to spark a desire to build an electric car.
According to Graham Parker, Thomas' great-grandson, smoke and pollution in London turned his great grandfather's thoughts to more eco-friendly driving [source: Daily Mail ].
Otto, Diesel, Benz and Ford get in on the act
As the 19th century came to a close and the 20th century began, electric cars were becoming even more popular than gasoline-powered cars. But what happened? There are a number of reasons to buy an EV.
The engines are very quiet, and the ride is very smooth. They actually have a higher torque than most people expect, too, because the power is sent straight to the wheels. On the downside, EVs are not for everyone yet. Most are limited to about a mile range, and it often takes about an hour of charging for one vehicle to travel 25 miles. The lack of a diverse market leaves few choices for consumers, too. While EVs are quite popular, they may not be for everyone.
There are some alternatives to electric cars that may interest some drivers.
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The electric scooter or moped, for example, provides some of the same benefits of an EV with a much smaller price tag. Some companies are experimenting with using solar panels as a way to charge EVs. They have looked at placing solar cells directly on vehicles or on vehicle charging stations. Hydrogen is a potential alternative fuel source that a number of companies are currently researching.
This transforms methane into hydrogen. Currently, most of this hydrogen is used in refining petroleum and processing foods, but it has been used as a power source in space flight for decades. There are a number of other alternative fuels currently being studied. The Energy Policy Act of lists fuels such as Biomethane, drop-in biofuels, and biobutanol as potential fuel sources. However, while they have been used to power a vehicle, much more research and development is needed before they become commercially viable power sources.
That may change, though, as the market becomes more competitive. In , Tesla released all of their patents on their EV technology.
The history of the electric car is longer than you might think
CEO Elon Musk said the company hopes others will see ways of improving on their technology, which can only benefit the EV industry and the average customer. Experts in the field expect vehicles to easily get miles to a charge within 10 years, while others believe that the cost of the lithium-ion batteries used in most EVs will decrease to the point that the vehicles are much more affordable.
The allure of cheap fuel is tempting to many, though, which is why hybrids are selling very well. This transitional vehicle is likely to continue to become more and more popular, especially as mileage increases. Leland West Insurance.