Electric Cars:  Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

May 17, 2021                                                                                                                                                      Home

There is a lot of buzz in the news these days about electric vehicles, especially cars.  It’s interesting to note that the first electric vehicles were in operation well over 100 years ago.  In 1897 electric taxis were in use in New York and London – with rechargeable batteries.  What did this electric car replace?  the horse drawn carriage. 

In 1899 in France this electric vehicle set a land speed record of 65 miles per hour.

Now it is 2021, and electric vehicles (EVs) are more and more available.  EVs are replacing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. With the invention of the lithium-ion battery in the 1980s, research led to the commercial release of the Tesla in 2008, followed by Mitsubishi, Citroen,  and others.

            In 2010, Nissan introduced the all electric Leaf, which has sold more than a half million vehicles worldwide. In the US, about 1.75 million EVs have been sold since the introduction of the Tesla.  Almost every major car brand now has at least one EV in its lineup.  Both General Motors and Volkswagen have committed to producing all electric fleets by 2035. California requires that “by 2035, all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state will be zero-emission vehicles.”

            What about pickup trucks? Ford now has hybrid electric F-150s and F-250s on the market.  Ford and others are rapidly developing all electric trucks, with the F-150 EV now set for delivery in 2022. Remember the Hummer? GMC now sells all-electric Hummers – both pickups and SUVs.  For speed lovers, the Hummer pickup goes from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds, the SUV in 3.5 seconds.


            Less than 1% of cars on the road today are EVs.  Most of us are simply used to driving gas-powered vehicles.  There are issues with EVs:  cost and resale value, range,  charging stations, and the lithium battery.  As with any fast-changing technology (computers, cell phones), researchers are developing solutions.  The next article will talk about these issues and what is happening here in Tennessee with EVs.

            SNEAKPEAK:  In October 2020, a Consumer Reports study showed the savings of driving an EV for seven years (no gas, no oil, no maintenance) is greater than the  higher purchase cost of an ICE vehicle. 

            Everyone needs to learn more about electricity and our electric cooperative.  For more information, go to pve.coop .

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