From the inception of rudimentary designs to today’s high-speed models that challenge even the mightiest supercars, this article charts the significant breakthroughs that have charged the industry forward. Get ready to plug into the pivotal moments that have powered the silent revolution of the EV, paving the way to a cleaner, more sustainable mode of transportation.
1870: The First Practical Electric Car
Sir David Salomons developed a car that featured better battery technologies and showcased the potential of electric propulsion.
Trivia: Salomons’ EV laid the groundwork for later innovations, although it still wasn’t suitable for widespread use due to limited battery life and power.
1899: Breaking the 100 km/h Speed Barrier
Camille Jenatzy’s “La Jamais Contente” was the first car to break the 100 km/h speed barrier, highlighting electric vehicles’ potential for high performance.
Trivia: “La Jamais Contente” means “The Never Satisfied” in French, reflecting the ambition behind its creation.
1908: Mass Production of Gasoline Cars
The Model T by Ford Motor Company brought gasoline cars to the masses, overshadowing electric vehicles for decades due to affordability and longer range.
Trivia: Despite its impact, the Model T ironically initiated the decline of early electric vehicles.
1971: Lunar Roving Vehicle
The Lunar Rover used by Apollo 15 astronauts on the Moon was an electric vehicle, showcasing the versatility and reliability of EVs in even the harshest conditions.
Trivia: This was the first and only EV used on another celestial body.
1996: GM EV1 – The First Mass-Produced Modern EV
The GM EV1 was the first purpose-designed electric vehicle produced by a major automaker in the modern era, signaling a renewed interest in EV technology.
Trivia: Despite its initial popularity, GM recalled and destroyed most EV1s, a controversial decision documented in the film “Who Killed the Electric Car?”.
2006: Tesla Roadster Announcement
Tesla Motors unveiled the Tesla Roadster, promising sports car performance with zero emissions, and thus began the rise of the high-performance electric vehicle.
Trivia: The Roadster could travel more than 200 miles on a single charge, a groundbreaking feat at the time.
2010: Mass-Market Adoption Begins
The Nissan Leaf, introduced globally, became the world’s best-selling, highway-capable electric car, marking the beginning of EVs’ mass-market adoption.
Trivia: ‘LEAF’ is a backronym for ‘Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car’.
2013: Supercharger Network Expansion
Tesla began the expansion of its Supercharger network, enabling long-distance travel and addressing the issue of EV charging times.
Trivia: The Supercharger Network allowed Tesla owners to charge their vehicles up to 80% in around 30 minutes.
2017: Chevrolet Bolt Release
The Chevrolet Bolt became the first affordable electric vehicle with a range exceeding 200 miles, making it accessible to a broader audience.
Trivia: The Bolt EV was named Motor Trend’s 2017 Car of the Year.
2019: Porsche Taycan’s Debut
The introduction of the Porsche Taycan signified the luxury and performance car segments’ acceptance of electric vehicles.
Trivia: The Taycan was the first production vehicle with a system voltage of 800 volts instead of the usual 400 volts for electric cars.
This article originally appeared on MyCarMakesNoise.
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