It’s an idea that’s been around for well over a century, but it’s only in recent times that the concept of electric vehicles has really come to fruition. With a greater emphasis on protecting the environment along with the daily cost benefits of an electric powertrain, electric cars are making waves in the automotive industry, with an increasing number of car firms applying their energy and attention into developing desirable electric vehicles.
Following on from Volkswagen’s record-breaking run at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July last year, national car retailer Lookers Volkswagen, stockists of theand the e-Up!, explore the ways in which electric cars have changed over time and how they compare to their petrol and diesel counterparts as more members of the public make the move to electric powered vehicles.
The 1800s saw the first electric car hit the roads when inventors from the Netherlands, Hungary and America discussed the concept of a battery-powered vehicle. They created small-scale electric cars, but it took until the second half of the 19th century before French and English inventors produced the first practical electric cars.
Electric motor vehicles gained public support rapidly thanks to their ease to drive and quiet nature; they were an ideal means of transport for short trips in urban areas. Thomas Edison worked to develop better batteries for electric vehicles and in 1901, the world’s first hybrid electric car was invented.
When the price of crude oil dropped in 1920, the number of electric vehicles decreased, but fast forward to the 1990s and changes in environmental regulations renewed people’s interest in the models. With a green future becoming a main objective amongst the world’s leaders, it’s anticipated that by 2040 electric cars will account for a third of global sales. In the UK, ministers have been informed that most new cars would need to be electric by 2030 and, with fully autonomous cars due to be rolled out in the coming years, the industry is well on its way to hitting this target, especially as motoring giants are producing more and more electric versions of their fleet.
Improvements in electric cars
There is an argument that electric cars are already shaping the modern world— and this is only the beginning. The world is realising that we have to move away from a fossil fuel-driven economy towards one that is more sustainable as we attempt to bring a halt to climate change. Transportation can, and is, one area that must be focused on. In 2017, more than half of cars sold in Norway were electric, while China continues to lead the way in a market that keeps growing. In fact, with sales of electric cars rising each month, Volkswagen has announced a $10 billion investment in the country to develop relevant technology and has set out plans to manufacture 1.5 million electric vehicles by 2025.
Development in Lithium-sulphur and solid-state devices are set to continue to improve the life-span of car batteries. Also, the number of charging points available in the UK is on the rise, quickly increasing by over 5,000 between 2016 and 2017. It’s these two developments that are leading the way in the electric car revolution.
Such improvements aren’t just being witnessed in public vehicles, either. Spectators at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed were treated to a record-breaking run as the VW ID R, fresh from breaking the record for the fastest run up the Pikes Peak international Hill Climb, smashed the official hill climb record for electric vehicles by 3.5 seconds. This, on top of the rise of the enthralling Formula E series, shows just how far these automobiles are coming.
Comparisons to traditional fuelled cars
Though electric cars continue to be viewed as being more costly than their petrol and diesel equivalents, the price of them is in a steady decline. Thanks to rules that are being introduced to limit the kind of vehicles allowed into major cities, electric cars are becoming more mainstream.
As electric cars have very few moving parts, they should, in theory allow for fewer problems to appear. This means that on the whole, servicing your electric car should be cheaper than a petrol or diesel car. However, the range you achieve from an electric car, although increasing as batteries improve, isn’t as good as what you’d receive from a full tank of petrol or diesel.
At present and regardless of the environmental advantages, the kind of driving that you undertake is key to whether you opt for traditional fuel or electric for your next car. However, given time and with constant technological advancements you can expect the power and range of electric cars to improve, meaning the rise of the electric vehicle in the 21st century is one that looks like gaining even greater moment over the coming years.