10 Things You Didn’t Know About Electric Cars
There is little doubt that electric cars are the way of the future, global oil production is expected to peak in the next few years (hell, some people think it’s peaked already) and after that oil availability will begin to go down and increase in cost to a point where it isn’t affordable for most people, making electric cars the only realistic option.
What a lot of people don’t know is that electric cars actually arrived before gasoline cars. Surprised? That’s just the beginning.
- Electric cars have been around for over 170 years. There is some controversy about who built the first electric car but it seems that Scotsman Robert Anderson built the first electric carriage in 1832.
- Electric cars were more popular than gasoline cars before the 20th century, this only changed when gasoline became more widely available and cheap cars like the Model T Ford appeared on the scene.
- In 1897 the taxis on the streets on New York were electric, and were built by the Electric Carriage and Wagon Company of Philadelphia.
- The first hybrid gasoline-electric car was commercially produced in 1917 by the Woods Motor Vehicle Company of Chicago.
- There were 33,842 registered electric cars in the US at the turn of the 20th Century, the highest number in the world at that time.
- The “quick-swap” battery system was first proposed in 1896 and was put into commercial use by the Hartford Electric Light Company who used the system to swap batteries in electric trucks.
- All modern gasoline cars contain small electric motors used to start the engine. Ironically this electric “starter motor” made gasoline cars easier to use (as they no longer needed to be hand cranked) and led to the demise of the electric car.
- The Moon Rover is an electric car as are the two Mars Rovers, the latter of which has been operating non-stop for 7 years without a mechanical failure.
- in 1899 a Belgian electric car called “La Jamais Contente” set the world land speed record at 68 mph.
- Electric cars are back with a vengeance. From Tesla to Ford and Mercedes to Nissan almost all major automobile manufacturers will have electric cars for sale to the general public within 2 years. The Tesla Roadster, Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are all available right now.