Tesla is NOT the first Electric Car
There is a sudden and renewed interest in electric vehicles, largely spurred on by the enormous success of Tesla Motors in promoting and marketing their vehicles – and no doubt by the enormous amount of media and corporate hype that is generated for Tesla Motors and electric vehicles. In the United States and European markets, gasoline engine vehicle sales are beginning to plateau while charging stations for electric automobiles and their rechargeable batteries spring up across the nation. Anywhere that they can’t sell a full electric automobile, hybrid cars are being pushed to reap the tax incentives. These plug in hybrid cars solve none of the issues of a gasoline engine, and only offer a half step to a full electric motor at the expense of vehicle performance and top speed.
But this technology is nothing new!
Electric Vehicles have been around far longer than Tesla Motors has had them in production. Most readers and viewers have likely heard of earlier modern attempts such as the Nissan Leaf, or other plug in hybrid attempts. Vehicle enthusiasts may already know of the lead acid battery being a long standing and mature technology used in the production of electric vehicles (before the introduction of modern technology like the lithium ion battery). Yet the story goes back even further, right to the very beginnings of transport! The electric carriage was a thing. Yes, you heard that correctly: Back when vehicles were still called carriages, there were already fully electric automobiles. Inventor Robert Anderson had a production ready electric carriage and rail-cars back in the early 1800s! Ferdinand Porsche had a working hybrid vehicle back in the early 1900s! Most incredibly, these electric and hybrid vehicles didn’t even require as much laborious winding of a hand crank to start the gasoline engine, something that even the famous Henry Ford Model-T used! (The hand crank is conveniently left out of the history books and period pieces, and the Henry Ford Model T is made to feel similar to modern gasoline vehicles, downplaying the comparative benefits that the electric carriage had at the time).
So with electric vehicles invented long ago, and now proving to be capable of faster acceleration and soon even a higher top speed than the gasoline engine, how did we end up with decades of the United States (and global) vehicle industry being dominated by high emissions vehicles? Why were the electric motor, lead acid battery and lithium ion battery tech, rechargeable batteries, and inventors like Robert Anderson and Ferdinand Porsche sidelined in favor of the Henry Ford and the gasoline engine?
There are a plethora of documentaries coming out now to fill you in on the decline of the electric car industry, and the nefarious moves made by the large corporations with controlling interests in gasoline engines, highways, cities, industry etc to crush the electric car. Subscribe to the channel and watch some videos so that I can give you a good summary and recommend further watching and videos. It is truly a mind opening topic to broach, I hope you let me help educate you about it so that you can share these videos with others to show the shady operations of both large corporations and car dealerships. For now, please see this brief summary on the history of electric vehicles – it will amaze you how far along in their development we have been for over a century!
Unsurprisingly, there were multiple early inventors who sought to use the electric motor for transportation. In the early 1800s multiple inventors made use of non-rechargeable batteries to power their small scale electric cars. The idea was further improved for locomotives, with Robert Davidson building an electric locomotive which hauled 6 tons of cargo a distance of one and a half miles at a steep of four miles per hour. In a strangely predictive moment, railway workers destroyed this invention as they deemed it a threat to their employment! In the same era, Robert Anderson also invented his first crude electric carriage, with patents to use rail lines to power such vehicles being granted throughout England and the United States in the 1940s.
The capability to recharge the batteries for a electric vehicles came in 1859, when physicist Gaston Plante invented the lead acid battery. Improvements to lead acid battery technology continuously increased the capacity of the rechargeable batteries, to the point where they could be mass produced for use. The first proper testing of a human carrying electric vehicle occurred in 1881 along the streets of Paris, and the technology continued to see more development, use, and patenting for the coming decades. These electric carriages were seen often in coal mine transport, reaching a top speed of 66 miles per hour. In the United States, William Morrison developed a six passenger electric carriage with a top speed of 14 miles per hour – This invention came in 1890, meaning that the United States was a full 15 years behind Europe in electric vehicles innovation.
The adoption of electric motor technology for electric automobiles and electric carriages entered a golden age in the early 1900s across the United States and Europe. The electric vehicles had the benefits of a gasoline engine without the requirement to start with a hand crank, none of the vibration, no smell, little noise, and no gear changes! Since there were no charging stations at the time for rechargeable batteries, an infrastructure had developed for exchanging lead acid batteries when consumers were away from their increasingly electrified homes.
This success was short lived: Worldwide discoveries of petroleum reserves made gasoline far more affordable, and gave massive incentive for petrochemical companies to have consumers begin using as much gasoline product as possible. Road networks became vast, making the longer range and cheaper gas cost of the gasoline engine more viable. The mass production of the Model T by Henry Ford made the gasoline engine significantly cheaper for consumers than electric.
Since this era, the electric motor had a major decline in sales and research. With large petrochemical and vehicle manufacturing corporations taking the steering wheel of the industry towards whatever produced the most profit, electric vehicles would not see a resurgence until the 1960s and 1970s when consumers and lawmakers in the western United States began to demand more environmentally friendly vehicles and public transportation. The California market, one of the most lucrative in the United States, began pushing for more efficient low emissions vehicles to improve air quality and move towards a zero-emissions model. Large automakers complied with the legislation by creating vehicles, but destroyed unsold vehicles (an unprecedented move) and sued the California Air Resources Board to have their mandates effectively neutered. Electric vehicles were even repossessed in order to be destroyed!
This history is indeed disgusting and shocking, but I have spent a lot of time in the vehicle industry and want to make sure people like you are aware of what has happened and do not fall victim to the industry. Please watch the full video for my in depth explanation, and check out my channel for more exposure about how the auto industry and dealerships function.