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The history of the electric car is longer than you think

The history of the electric car is longer than you think

The wave of modern electric cars, which we have perceived as a drive change for several years, is by no means a new phenomenon. Well-known inventors were already working on batteries and electric motors over 140 years ago – even before the development of internal combustion engines. It took less than 20 years from the first electric tricycle in 1881 to the first record car to break the 100 km/h barrier. More and more electric means of transport followed. Until it was over.

Due to ever better roads and long-distance connections, cheap oil and mass production of cars with combustion engines, the electric vehicles of the time became increasingly less important. Comfort also had something to do with it: the first combustion engines were not popular because they had to be laboriously cranked by hand. A backbreaking job that not every driver – or driver – was up to. But when the electric starter was introduced, this big problem was eliminated.

The advantages of combustion engines made life difficult for the remaining electric vehicles: they drove further, went faster and were significantly cheaper. Everything that ran on a battery was reduced to being used as a milk truck, transporter in halls or short-distance vehicle for individualists. The first peak phase was history by the Roaring Twenties at the latest.

Combustion engines have already defeated electric cars once

There were always small attempts to make electric mobility more attractive to people, but nothing really stood up to the combustion engines. Whenever there was an oil crisis, the topic briefly became interesting again, only to then be forgotten again.

Manufacturers also resisted new electric cars for a long time. A sad example is the General Motors EV1, which ultimately failed due to controversial company policy on the part of the Americans and, despite its great popularity, was not given a real chance. BMW also suddenly scrapped a promising electric concept in the 1990s.

It wasn’t until about 12 years ago, when the Tesla Model S came onto the market, that the real second spring for electric cars began. Vehicles have now become indispensable – partly because of political efforts, but certainly also because the drives offer many advantages.

It remains to be seen whether electric cars will win the second big battle against combustion engines. Some companies, including Daimler, for example, are not yet able to really make a decision, at least at the moment. This is also due to a renewed decline in customer interest. This time, however, it feels as if electric cars are finally here to stay.

Source: Stern

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