Introduced over a century ago, electric cars are seeing a rise in popularity today for many of the same reasons they were first popular. The demand for electric vehicles will continue to climb as prices drop and consumers look for ways to save money on gas and to help the environment.
William Morrison, a chemist who lived in Des Moines, Iowa, made the first successful electric car in 1890. His six-passenger vehicle had a top speed of 14 miles per hour and was little more than an electrified wagon. Despite this, it helped spark interest in electric vehicles. Over the next few years, electric vehicles became increasingly popular in the United States. New York City even had a fleet of more than 60 electric taxis. By 1900, electric cars were at their heyday, accounting for around a third of all vehicles on the road. During the next 10 years, they continued to show strong sales. Electric cars were easy to drive, they were quieter than combustion engine cars, they didn’t emit the smelly pollutants that other cars emitted, and they required less maintenance. Many places even rented out electric cars for the day in the same way that stables rented out horses.
As more roads were built and residential and recreation areas expanded away from the city, charging stations and other necessary electric car infrastructure was not built with it. This, coupled with the rise of large combustion engine auto manufacturers like Ford, caused the popularity of the electric car to decline.
Electric cars are currently making a comeback as people want to save money on gas or lower their carbon footprint. Hopefully, the current trend continues and electric cars don’t go away like they did in the early 1800s.