The appeal of electric vehicles is gaining momentum. But before getting too far into this transportation evolution, let’s have a quick history review about EVs.
The first known electric car was developed in 1837 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Early models were powered by galvanic cells rather than rechargeable batteries. The lead-acid battery was invented in 1859, evolving into industrial-scale manufacturing around 1880, which allowed for rechargeable batteries to be installed in vehicles. Soon, manufacturers were selling a wide array of EVs ranging from trams to trolleys, cars, and even locomotives. Interest in electric vehicles blossomed in the late 1890s and early 1900s. As roads improved and became more extensive, demand for a greater range emerged. A variety of solutions were put forth, including the first battery exchanges by an electric utility in Connecticut in 1910 and the first hybrid automobile in 1911. It would not be long until America led the world in the number of EVs on the roads.
The rapid expansion of the country and the limitation of electricity to major cities and towns spelled the end of the electric car. The world wanted to be mobile, and EVs did not have the range required. Enter Henry Ford and the mass-produced, affordable internal combustion engine, and the fate of EVs was sealed. Fast forward to modern times, EVs are increasing in popularity because electricity is available everywhere in the U.S. the majority of roads are paved, and society is increasingly concerned about the environment. While many drawbacks of EVs are gone, there is still a significant concern limiting EV growth dubbed “range anxiety.” This stems from the persistent limited range of all EVs. While the Tesla Model S provides a 390-mile range before recharging, this pales in comparison to gas-powered vehicles when considering the lack of rapid charging infrastructure. Just like their 20th-century predecessors, pure EVs are great “city cars.”
Fortunately, advances in battery technology are hammering away at the range issue. The range is steadily expanding, and battery management systems are squeezing out more miles. Simultaneously, more companies and utilities are installing efficient charging stations at their places of business and in popular public locations. Range anxiety notwithstanding, EVs have a bright future. Prices are dropping, and the range is expanding, so owners can confidently drive nearly anywhere with a little bit of planning. Further, if you’ve never driven an electric vehicle, you are in for a treat. While an internal combustion engine must rev up to speed, an EV has full power at its disposal instantly. They are quiet, well-appointed inside, and allow you to bypass the lines at the gas station forever–– unless you need some snacks and a slushy.
To learn more visit our Electric Vehicles page.
If you plan to use a Level 2 or “Fast Charger,” please let SCI REMC know by emailing us so we can review your service to ensure it is sized correctly to support the additional energy demand. Adding a “Fast Charger” does increase the electrical needs of your home and, unless carefully designed, can negatively impact both your service and possibly the service of your neighbors.