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History Of The Electric Vehicle Essay

1600 words - 6 pages

History of the Electric Vehicle

The History of Development:

In general the automobile was invented to transport people. Horses were the main mode of transportation and a self powered vehicle seemed to offer many benefits. We have looked at the automobile history and seen how this innovation occurred. The United States in the 19th century had been developing a very successful metal-working industry, which included firearms, sewing machines and machine tools. Not only did this push technology ahead but it also created demand products of a complex technical nature. This technology is what leads to the production of the automobile. The electric car for many years followed the same format that the internal combustion automobile went through. This includes attempts at mass marketing, which occurred after people realized the size of the potential market. The people who innovated were entrepreneurs who were looking to become richer. As the needs of people to be able to move easily in a personal vehicle the market expanded for the automobile.

The first electric car was produced in 1880 and for the next 20 years it competed perfectly with the internal combustion cars. The technology for the battery had been around well before this. In 1800 Volta invented the battery that could provide electricity. It took another 60 years for Gaston Faure to invent the secondary cell, which could be recharged by simply passing a current through it, thus providing portable, renewable electric power. Before this, in 1833 an uneducated Vermonter named Thomas Davenport designed an electric motor after observing a demonstration of an electromagnet. Shortly after, Davenport built an electric locomotive model.

This idea was adopted by many and electric trains began to appear, some received their power from a centralized station through an electrified rail. Such railcars were a major accomplishment but it would be another thirty years before the next giant leap forward. In 1888 electric cars began to appear in the United States and abroad as a spillover from the previous technology. The most successful car was built by William Morrison of Des Moines, Iowa and could run for thirteen consecutive hours at a speed of fourteen miles per hour. However, much of the success of this was due to the promotional work from Harold Sturges, secretary of the American Battery Company. This theme would develop over and over again in the life of all alternative fuel systems where success came not from actual integrity, but from force from an outside source.

For the next couple years electric cars seemed like they represented the future of travel. They were adopted by the postal service and companies began to profit from their production. General Electric began to produce cars in 1898 and achieved a land speed record for a car that went 39.25 miles per hour, a speed that gas-powered cars could not come close to beating. At this point the market for electric cars was big enough...

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