The electric car has been around for nearly 100 years. One of the first electric cars was built by Nicoli Tesla and driven around New York City for a time.
Electrics have historically sucked
Since the invention of electric cars, they have always had major issues. They have never been easy to charge, or had very good range. Just about every gasoline car ever manufactured was easier to refuel and could go farther without refueling. Throughout their existence, these electric vehicles were also slower and heavier than their internal combustion engine counterparts. All of these things led to the electric vehicle not being a very popular option.
Why were they so bad?
The biggest reason for these vehicles being so bad was the battery technology. The batteries used in all electrics until recently were of the lead-acid type. This technology is very old. These types of batteries can’t hold much energy compared to their weight. This led to the double whammy of having a heavy vehicle that didn’t have much range. If there was a better alternative, you could reduce the weight while simultaneously increasing the range. This would completely change people’s outlook on electric vehicles.
And then it happened
Elon Musk of Tesla Motors realized that battery technology was what was holding back the full adoption of electric cars. His initial idea was to string together hundreds of cell phone batteries to create a single battery bank that a car could be powered from. At the time, cell phone batteries were using Lithium-ion battery technology. This tech was capable of holding much more power in a much lighter battery. The problem was that they were only made in small, cell phone sized, units. Instead of designing a bigger battery of this type, many of these existing small batteries were wired together to save cost.
And the results are
As most of you reading this probably already know, this idea was a huge success. Tesla Motors has now sold tens of thousands of electric cars. They are planning to roll out new models every couple years and are building a huge plant to manufacture their own batteries.
Many people were initially worried about the safety of electric vehicles in a crash. Well, it turns out that electric vehicles are extremely safe. They are more safe than normal vehicles in most types of crashes. The reason for this is that the batteries are heavy and they are at the lowest part of the vehicle. This gives the car a really low center of gravity. This low center of gravity makes it extremely unlikely that the car will roll over in an accident.
The newest Tesla model received the first ever “perfect score” for a vehicle from Consumer Reports. This car received a score that is higher than any other car ever tested. Obviously electric cars have come a long way.