Electric vehicles are perceived by many to be a relatively modern development; however, EVs in some form have actually been around for over a century! With detailed history involving numerous inventions and iterations, electric vehicles finally have the capacity to take over the future of the roads.
Scroll through our electric vehicle timeline to learn how the industry has progressed from the first known electric prototype to the cutting-edge vehicles that we see on our roads today.
Scottish inventor, Robert Anderson, invents the first crude electric carriage in Aberdeen. The car could travel around 12 km per hour and was powered by a disposable battery, with crude oil used to generate the electricity.
German Mechanical Engineer, Karl Benz, designs and builds what is regarded as the world’s first practical automobile powered by an internal combustion engine.
Austrian born automotive engineer, Ferdinand Porsche, who would later go on to become the founder of the Porsche car company in 1931, designs Porsche P1. Resembling a wooden crate or an old horse-drawn carriage, the car was powered by an electric motor.
Henry G. Morris and Pedro G. Salmon design and build The Electrobat in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of the world’s first electric automobiles.
Douglas Neil builds the Neale electric car in Edinburgh, Scotland. Limited numbers of the car were produced, which had a top speed of 12 mph.
Inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford, worked together to produce an affordable electric vehicle. However, they struggled to get their plans off the ground due to Ford ramping up mass production of the Model T which was much cheaper than any electric vehicle.
Improved road infrastructures and cheap gasoline contributes to the decline of electric vehicles.
Henney Coachworks formed a joint venture with the National Union Electric Company to produce the Henney Kilowatt, a new electric car based on the Renault Dauphine.
Electric cars saw a resurgence throughout the 1960’s and the Scottish Aviation Scamp, a small concept electric city car, which introduced in 1964.
Electric vehicles made a small resurgence during the oil crisis with the launch of the first car on the moon, Lunar Roving Vehicle. Lunar Roving Vehicle was a battery-powered four wheeled vehicle that was used in the last three missions of the American Apollo programme.
BMW gives two battery powered prototypes of its 1600 model to support stewards during the Munich Olympics. Olympic stewards used the vehicles to support participants of the marathon and long-distance walking events and the car’s range lasted just longer than a marathon.
Toyota Prius, the world’s first mass produced hybrid vehicle was released in October 1997.
Tesla launches the Roaster sports car, which was the first production electric vehicle to use lithium-ion batteries as a power source. The Roadster boasted top speeds of 125 mph, with a range of over 200-miles on a single charge.
Nissan Leaf was released in Japan, Europe, and America in December 2010. Over half a million Nissan Leaf’s have now been sold worldwide and the car has gone on to win numerous awards.
Mazda MX-30 is unveiled at the 2019 Tokyo Motor show and marks Mazda’s first mass produced electric car. The compact crossover SUV is based on the popular CX-30 model and first production begins in May 2020.
After first being teased back in 2019, Toyota finally unveiled their first mass-produced electric vehicle, bZ4X. The bZ4X SUV is the first in the Toyota Beyond Zero line-up, with six more bZ models to be released by 2025.
Kia EV6 wins the What Car? Car of the Year award for 2022. The fully-electric SUV has a range of up to 328 miles, reaching 0-62 mph in just 3.5 seconds and top speeds of 161 mph.
We also begin to see the electric vehicle movement expand even further into other sectors of the motoring industry, including the taxi and van sectors as businesses opt for greener, more sustainable solutions.
Scotland will ban the sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans. New hybrid cars that can travel a ‘substantial’ distance fully-electric are exempt from the ban.
Sales of new hybrid cars and vans will be phased out across the UK.