Behind the history of the electric vehicle are more than hundred years. Yes, I was surprised to find out this too. In particular, their history began in the middle years of the 19th century. However, at this time it was really costly to afford such automobile. Moreover, compared to internal combustion vehicles, the electric ones had much lower speed. Gradually this led to their extinction worldwide. Nowadays what we experience is quite the opposite. As we can see ourselves on the market are gradually being launched vehicles, which are powered by alternative fuel or are electric ones. This of course has to do with environmental issues. The hydrocarbon fueled vehicles seem to cause great damage to the environment, because of the gases they emit. Or in other words, the automotive industry is now trying to take some precautions for the evil done, develop and promote environmental friendly vehicles and raise the global awareness in this particular area. We all want to live in less contaminated and better world, don't we?

Electric car from early 20th century charging

In fact, for the first time in history, electric cars became popular after the mid-nineteenth century. Then the electricity was actually a strongly preferred method for automobile propulsion. Back in 1987 the electric cars found their first commercial use in the United States. For instance, the taxies in New York City were electric. They were manufactured by the Philadelphian Electric Carriage and Wagon Company. During the twentieth century the main manufacturers of electric vehicles in the U.S. were Anthony Electric, Baker, Columbia, Anderson, Edison, Riker, Milburn and many more. Although that at this time the electric cars produced relatively slow speed, they had some advantages over their rivals. What I have in mind here is that they produced less noise, vibration and smell, which were a characteristic of gasoline powered vehicles. In addition, they did not require gear changes. And hence the electric car became famous among people living in the city, who could use their optimum potential. Furthermore, the electric powered vehicles didn't require manual start as oppose to gasoline ones and were easier to drive, which lead their popularity growth among women. And even back in the beginning of the twentieth century the electric car was considered the cleaner, quieter and of course the more fuel-efficient car, in comparison to the gasoline vehicle. However, by the 1930s the latter one became the "bigger star" and more importantly – what made it more popular was its lower price. They also developed far greater speed to their equivalent electrics. And adding to all this – the invention of the electric starter by Charles Kattering (in 1912) – gasoline cars became easier to operate. Then came the use of the muffler, which reduced significantly the noise they produced. The total eradication of the electric automobile from the world was also possible due to the mass production of the gasoline Henry Ford vehicles, which even were at an extraordinary price – more than six time cheaper than the electric ones. After this expansion, no one really remembered the electric cars …

Until the late 1970's and early 1980's when the world experienced the first big energy crises. This led to the renewed attention on alternative fuel and electric vehicles. As a result, in the beginning of the 1990's, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) set the requirements for the development of more fuel-efficient and lower-emissions vehicles. The highest aim here was the production of zero-emissions vehicles. The electric ones were what they were looking for. Then the automotive world came to see some great electric models, such as Chrysler TEVan, Ford Ranger EV pickup truck, Honda EV Plus hatchback, or Toyota RAV4 EV. However, the market wasn't fully prepared to embrace this new ecologically orientated step, so the models were taken off production in the end. Another recession followed in the 2000's, which lead to the increased need for smaller cars, hybrid cars and of course electric ones. One of the most famous nowadays electric cars manufacturer Tesla Motors, in 2004 began the development of the Tesla Roadster, which was firstly launched on the market four years later. Nowadays we have many examples of electric cars, developed and produced by famous carmakers. Such are: Mitsubishi i MiEV, Nissan Leaf, Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CellSmart ED and many more.

Nissan LEAF

To sum up, when the electric vehicles were invented, they seemed to be the best choice of and for the future. Moreover, the electric car produces no pollution to the environment and can be the greatest choice for the city dwellers, who are concerned about the world around them and want to make a positive change. People won't loose from comfort, road handling, safety, performance or durability, because the electric vehicles are similar to the gasoline powered ones. Another big advantage is also their low cost to operate and more importantly they have the potential to be more reliable because they include fewer parts and mature technology.

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Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL, 1 of 2
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