Although you may not have seen the excellent Chris Paine documentaries ‘Who Killed the Electric Car’ (2006) and ‘Revenge of the Electric Car’ (2011), chances are you have a good idea as to why electric vehicles have the potential to revolutionise the future and help us combat global warming which is an all inclusive phenomenon that threatens everyone’s future; mine, yours, our children’s – everyone’s.
Electric vehicles: A short history
As you may have heard before, ‘If you don’t know the past then you don’t know the future’, which is a very apt statement to make where electric vehicles are concerned, however, that doesn’t explain why electric vehicles have such a lengthy history yet they’re so scarce a sight on the road – a conspiracy perhaps?
The history of the electric car began much longer ago than most people are aware, way back in the mid 19th Century which is quite remarkable taking into account the fact that the year 1886 is considered the birth of the automobile.
What is perhaps more remarkable as far as dates are concerned is that the first electric vehicle in a conventional sense was developed in 1890 or 1891 by William Morrison of Des Moines, Iowa and the electric vehicle in question was a six-passenger wagon that could reach a speed of 23 km/h which was remarkable for those times.
Although there were technical limitations and the top speed an electrical vehicle could reach was 32 km/h, electric vehicles had a number of advantages over their gasoline powered counterparts, as they do today. They ran without the noise, smell and vibration of gasoline powered cars and they didn’t require gear changes either, what was considered to be the most difficult aspect of driving in those days.
Anyhow the electric car was not to be, and instead we’ve had over a century of gasoline powered vehicles and the problems now overwhelmingly associated with the use of fossil fuels – environmental degradation, pollution and global warming, not to mention their adverse affects on human health.
To the future … and beyond!
Whilst fossil fuel driven cars may still be more popular on the road that isn’t to say they’re representative of the future of road travel, far from it. One of the biggest impediments to the popularity of electric vehicles has been the lack of charging stations but that’s fast changing and there are now over 200 EV (electric vehicle) charging stations in the UK alone and that number is increasing rapidly. Therefore there will soon be a time where everyone in the UK will be able to conveniently access an EV charging station to charge their EV.
The price of EVs has also been cited as an impediment to their popularity and admittedly they were rather exclusive at one time but that is also changing and prices have dropped significantly so now owning an electric vehicle – and not only an electric car but also an electric motorcycle or scooter – is within the reach of most motorists. What’s more, EV prices will continue to fall further rendering them the most astute choice of vehicle it’s possible to hit the road in.
Whilst some might say not everyone is able to afford a Tesla and that’s true, however, not everyone is able to afford a Ferrari or Lamborghini either. Therefore we will have to be realistic with our expectations regarding ownership of electric cars just as we always have been regarding ownership of cars powered by fossil fuels.
So why should you drive an electric car? In addition to revolutionising the future and making it a better, safer place for us to grow old and our children to grow up, there are a number of excellent reasons why you should drive an electric car, electric motorcycle or electric scooter. Here are three.
- Save money. Gasoline is only going to get more expensive.
- Save time. Electric vehicles are smaller, more manoeuvrable and overall better suited to our increasingly congested roadways.
- Help the economy. We need energy efficient technologies to reduce our reliance on foreign oil reserves.
These are three great reasons why you should take an interest in driving an electric vehicle and there are many, many more.