History Lesson: The evolution of the electric car [Infographic]

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) recently released an in-depth report (via CleanTechnica) on electric vehicles. The ILSR's report, Choosing the Electric Avenue – Unlocking Savings, Emissions Reductions, and Community Benefits of Electric Vehicles, authored by John Farrell, is a treasure trove for those looking to learn more about electric vehicles. One particular section of ILSR's report provides a helpful history lesson to better understand the evolution of the electric car.


Above: 1912 Detroit Electric and a 2016 Tesla Model X (Image: Globe and Mail)

Farrell writes, "Electric cars aren’t new. At the dawn of the U.S. auto industry in the late 1800s, electric vehicles outsold all other types of cars. By 1900, electric autos accounted for one-third of all vehicles on U.S. roadways. Of the 4,192 vehicles produced in the U.S. and tallied in the 1900 census, 1,575 were electric."

Some well-recognized names were heavily involved with electric cars early on. "Electric vehicles sales remained strong in the following decade and provided a launchpad for fledgling automakers, including Oldsmobile and Porsche, that would go on to become industry titans. Even Henry Ford partnered with Thomas Edison to explore electric vehicle technology. Battery-powered models, considered fast and reliable, sparked a major transportation renaissance."


Above: Porsche's first car in 1898, the P1, was electric (Source: Upworthy via Porsche)

That said, electric cars fizzled out as gas-powered cars gained prominence: "the momentum shifted over the first few decades of the 20th century, as the electric starter supplanted hand-cranking to start gas engines. The prices of those models dropped. A network of inter-city roadways enabled drivers to travel farther — more easily done in those days in gas-powered vehicles — and the discovery of domestic crude oil made gasoline cheaper. The internal combustion engine gained a superiority that would persist for decades."

Fast forward: "Nearly 100 years later, a second wave of electric vehicles arrived, driven by California’s zero-emissions vehicle policy in the late 1990s. Unfortunately, it faltered. The enthusiasm of electric vehicle owners couldn’t overcome the reluctance of cash-flush automakers to invest in alternatives to gas-powered vehicles. Automakers also mounted successful lobbying efforts to weaken the zero-emissions vehicle policy."

Above: Top 8 electric cars ahead of their time (Youtube: FIA Formula E Championship)

This short-lived second wind for electric cars came to an abrupt end when, "In 1999, General Motors ended production of its own promising electric vehicle, the EV1, after just three years. The automaker removed all 1,100 models from the roads, despite outcry from their drivers. It blamed its pivot away from electric vehicle technology on the EV1’s 100-mile range and the high cost of development compared to sales. Oil giants, still powerful political lobbies, also opposed electric vehicle innovation."

However, it finally appears that the electric car is here to stay (and thrive) at last. "Nearly two decades later and 120 years after its introduction, the electric car is making an unmistakable comeback. This time, it’s aided by better technology as well as environmentally sensitive consumers and policymakers looking to supplant fossil fuel use with renewable electricity."


From left to right: The Tesla line-up, including Roadster, Model 3, Model S, and Model X (Reddit: Killerzeit)

The ILSR's report concludes that much of the electric vehicle's recent turnaround is due to the efforts of Elon Musk and Tesla. But, it's not just Tesla, the past few years have been encouraging industry-wide: "Sales of electric cars are growing... In just the first quarter of 2011, for example, more electric cars were sold than General Motors leased throughout the entire 1990s. In 2016, U.S. auto dealers recorded 158,000 plug-in vehicle sales — up more than 30 percent from 2015. The trend shows no signs of stopping."

For a timeline of EV milestones dating all the way back to 1832, be sure to check out this handy infographic...

Infographic

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Note: Article originally published on evannex.com, by Matt Pressman

Source: Institute for Local Self-Reliance / Infographic: Nikkei Asian Review
 
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#3
Often people are misled by big auto into buying their compliance EVs. GM, for example, is willing to take a small loss and produce the bare minimum amount of required EVs to meet the requirements to sell their ICEs in California. This may seem like the customers are getting a really good deal when they buy a Bolt, but its to the contrary. A Bolt doesn't evolve like a Tesla does and also lacks S3X appeal. The software and hardware is prehistoric, slow, and will not improve much over time - it's an embarrassment big auto hasn't figured out how to provide OTA updates yet. It is hard to find love for compliance EVs when they are 99% identical to their dinosaur relatives. Can't say the same for Tesla, Tesla accomplished more in a decade than Ford has in 90 years.
 
#4
Often people are misled by big auto into buying their compliance EVs. GM, for example, is willing to take a small loss and produce the bare minimum amount of required EVs to meet the requirements to sell their ICEs in California. This may seem like the customers are getting a really good deal when they buy a Bolt, but its to the contrary. A Bolt doesn't evolve like a Tesla does and also lacks S3X appeal. The software and hardware is prehistoric, slow, and will not improve much over time - it's an embarrassment big auto hasn't figured out how to provide OTA updates yet. It is hard to find love for compliance EVs when they are 99% identical to their dinosaur relatives. Can't say the same for Tesla, Tesla accomplished more in a decade than Ford has in 90 years.
I think you're being harsher on GM than it may deserve. The Bolt is actually a very nice EV, and it is *not* 99% identical to any ICE relative -- like a Tesla, it was designed to be an EV from the ground up. Sure, it is still designed by a legacy manufacturer, not by a Silicon Valley company, so its firmware is not easily upgradeable (assuming the GM even bothers to maintain the firmware), and, compared to a Tesla, it is rather overpriced for what it offers, but its hardware is *not* "prehistoric". GM produces very few of them and seems uninterested in increasing production despite demand that clearly exceeds current production rates, but it does produce more than it would need if the Bolt were strictly a compliance model. You did not mention Nissan, another legacy company that remains very much oriented towards ICE vehicles, but one that also put on the market the first serious BEV with the Leaf. Again, nobody is going to confuse a Leaf with any Tesla model, but a Leaf is a great urban/suburban vehicle. If you want to direct you ire about compliance cars, direct it at FCA, which almost refuses to sell its surprisingly nice Fiat 500e BEV, or at all German manufacturers (even BMW) for giving us 10 years of concept vehicles that were never intended to go anywhere, constantly promising a large variety of electric models to be released about 2 years in the future (no matter what year it is today, the release is 2 years away ;-), etc. (And at BMW for putting out the rather miserable BMW i3 and then never updating it.) Or, better, complain about GM/Ford/FCA/Toyota/etc. for continuing to lobby the govt to freeze or lower emission standards...
That said, I totally agree that Tesla is completely different from any of these companies, far more innovative, with a clear goal of changing transportation and domestic energy dynamics (instead of making money): if BEVs succeeds in the next 10 years, it will be due entirely to Tesla -- without Tesla, it would have taken another 20-30 years...
 
#5
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) recently released an in-depth report (via CleanTechnica) on electric vehicles. The ILSR's report, Choosing the Electric Avenue – Unlocking Savings, Emissions Reductions, and Community Benefits of Electric Vehicles, authored by John Farrell, is a treasure trove for those looking to learn more about electric vehicles. One particular section of ILSR's report provides a helpful history lesson to better understand the evolution of the electric car.


Above: 1912 Detroit Electric and a 2016 Tesla Model X (Image: Globe and Mail)

Farrell writes, "Electric cars aren’t new. At the dawn of the U.S. auto industry in the late 1800s, electric vehicles outsold all other types of cars. By 1900, electric autos accounted for one-third of all vehicles on U.S. roadways. Of the 4,192 vehicles produced in the U.S. and tallied in the 1900 census, 1,575 were electric."

Some well-recognized names were heavily involved with electric cars early on. "Electric vehicles sales remained strong in the following decade and provided a launchpad for fledgling automakers, including Oldsmobile and Porsche, that would go on to become industry titans. Even Henry Ford partnered with Thomas Edison to explore electric vehicle technology. Battery-powered models, considered fast and reliable, sparked a major transportation renaissance."


Above: Porsche's first car in 1898, the P1, was electric (Source: Upworthy via Porsche)

That said, electric cars fizzled out as gas-powered cars gained prominence: "the momentum shifted over the first few decades of the 20th century, as the electric starter supplanted hand-cranking to start gas engines. The prices of those models dropped. A network of inter-city roadways enabled drivers to travel farther — more easily done in those days in gas-powered vehicles — and the discovery of domestic crude oil made gasoline cheaper. The internal combustion engine gained a superiority that would persist for decades."

Fast forward: "Nearly 100 years later, a second wave of electric vehicles arrived, driven by California’s zero-emissions vehicle policy in the late 1990s. Unfortunately, it faltered. The enthusiasm of electric vehicle owners couldn’t overcome the reluctance of cash-flush automakers to invest in alternatives to gas-powered vehicles. Automakers also mounted successful lobbying efforts to weaken the zero-emissions vehicle policy."

Above: Top 8 electric cars ahead of their time (Youtube: FIA Formula E Championship)

This short-lived second wind for electric cars came to an abrupt end when, "In 1999, General Motors ended production of its own promising electric vehicle, the EV1, after just three years. The automaker removed all 1,100 models from the roads, despite outcry from their drivers. It blamed its pivot away from electric vehicle technology on the EV1’s 100-mile range and the high cost of development compared to sales. Oil giants, still powerful political lobbies, also opposed electric vehicle innovation."

However, it finally appears that the electric car is here to stay (and thrive) at last. "Nearly two decades later and 120 years after its introduction, the electric car is making an unmistakable comeback. This time, it’s aided by better technology as well as environmentally sensitive consumers and policymakers looking to supplant fossil fuel use with renewable electricity."


From left to right: The Tesla line-up, including Roadster, Model 3, Model S, and Model X (Reddit: Killerzeit)

The ILSR's report concludes that much of the electric vehicle's recent turnaround is due to the efforts of Elon Musk and Tesla. But, it's not just Tesla, the past few years have been encouraging industry-wide: "Sales of electric cars are growing... In just the first quarter of 2011, for example, more electric cars were sold than General Motors leased throughout the entire 1990s. In 2016, U.S. auto dealers recorded 158,000 plug-in vehicle sales — up more than 30 percent from 2015. The trend shows no signs of stopping."

For a timeline of EV milestones dating all the way back to 1832, be sure to check out this handy infographic...

Infographic

===

Note: Article originally published on evannex.com, by Matt Pressman

Source: Institute for Local Self-Reliance / Infographic: Nikkei Asian Review
Taking until 2040 to reach 32% of global sales? *snicker*
 
#6
I think you're being harsher on GM than it may deserve. The Bolt is actually a very nice EV, and it is *not* 99% identical to any ICE relative -- like a Tesla, it was designed to be an EV from the ground up. Sure, it is still designed by a legacy manufacturer, not by a Silicon Valley company, so its firmware is not easily upgradeable (assuming the GM even bothers to maintain the firmware), and, compared to a Tesla, it is rather overpriced for what it offers, but its hardware is *not* "prehistoric". GM produces very few of them and seems uninterested in increasing production despite demand that clearly exceeds current production rates, but it does produce more than it would need if the Bolt were strictly a compliance model. You did not mention Nissan, another legacy company that remains very much oriented towards ICE vehicles, but one that also put on the market the first serious BEV with the Leaf. Again, nobody is going to confuse a Leaf with any Tesla model, but a Leaf is a great urban/suburban vehicle. If you want to direct you ire about compliance cars, direct it at FCA, which almost refuses to sell its surprisingly nice Fiat 500e BEV, or at all German manufacturers (even BMW) for giving us 10 years of concept vehicles that were never intended to go anywhere, constantly promising a large variety of electric models to be released about 2 years in the future (no matter what year it is today, the release is 2 years away ;-), etc. (And at BMW for putting out the rather miserable BMW i3 and then never updating it.) Or, better, complain about GM/Ford/FCA/Toyota/etc. for continuing to lobby the govt to freeze or lower emission standards...
That said, I totally agree that Tesla is completely different from any of these companies, far more innovative, with a clear goal of changing transportation and domestic energy dynamics (instead of making money): if BEVs succeeds in the next 10 years, it will be due entirely to Tesla -- without Tesla, it would have taken another 20-30 years...
Should it be pointed out that GM, as part of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, is part of the key organization currently working to kill CARB and its ZEV mandate? They're the same organization that successfully lobbied to kill of the improved mileage standards as well just recently.

The major automakers with operations in the US that aren't in the organization are as follows: Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru... and of course, Tesla. Not that Honda or Subaru care about EVs, and not that Hyundai is producing them in volume.... but all four of the non-Tesla automakers not in the association tend to make very efficient vehicles, and thus don't want gas mileage standards weakened.
 
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#7
I think you're being harsher on GM than it may deserve. The Bolt is actually a very nice EV, and it is *not* 99% identical to any ICE relative -- like a Tesla, it was designed to be an EV from the ground up. Sure, it is still designed by a legacy manufacturer, not by a Silicon Valley company, so its firmware is not easily upgradeable (assuming the GM even bothers to maintain the firmware), and, compared to a Tesla, it is rather overpriced for what it offers, but its hardware is *not* "prehistoric". GM produces very few of them and seems uninterested in increasing production despite demand that clearly exceeds current production rates, but it does produce more than it would need if the Bolt were strictly a compliance model. You did not mention Nissan, another legacy company that remains very much oriented towards ICE vehicles, but one that also put on the market the first serious BEV with the Leaf. Again, nobody is going to confuse a Leaf with any Tesla model, but a Leaf is a great urban/suburban vehicle. If you want to direct you ire about compliance cars, direct it at FCA, which almost refuses to sell its surprisingly nice Fiat 500e BEV, or at all German manufacturers (even BMW) for giving us 10 years of concept vehicles that were never intended to go anywhere, constantly promising a large variety of electric models to be released about 2 years in the future (no matter what year it is today, the release is 2 years away ;-), etc. (And at BMW for putting out the rather miserable BMW i3 and then never updating it.) Or, better, complain about GM/Ford/FCA/Toyota/etc. for continuing to lobby the govt to freeze or lower emission standards...
That said, I totally agree that Tesla is completely different from any of these companies, far more innovative, with a clear goal of changing transportation and domestic energy dynamics (instead of making money): if BEVs succeeds in the next 10 years, it will be due entirely to Tesla -- without Tesla, it would have taken another 20-30 years...
All of the pre-historic automakers have attempted to cheat emissions testing, year after year. In one case, Ford Super Duty (Super Dirty) trucks were found to release 50x the allowed deadly fumes into the atmosphere after 30 minutes or so, just enough to pass the testing. The Bolt is definitely a garbage compliance car, like everything else they make (infotainment systems slower than the original $30 rasberry pi from almost a decade ago) Would look bad in the news for GM to produce the bare minimum to satisfy CARB/ZEV and as the legislators would increase the minimum eventually anyway after enough outrage.
 
#8
The
All of the pre-historic automakers have attempted to cheat emissions testing, year after year. In one case, Ford Super Duty (Super Dirty) trucks were found to release 50x the allowed deadly fumes into the atmosphere after 30 minutes or so, just enough to pass the testing. The Bolt is definitely a garbage compliance car, like everything else they make (infotainment systems slower than the original $30 rasberry pi from almost a decade ago) Would look bad in the news for GM to produce the bare minimum to satisfy CARB/ZEV and as the legislators would increase the minimum eventually anyway after enough outrage.
The Bolt does not hold a candle to any Tesla, but it has been (somewhat) available for over a year at 2/3 the price of the cheapest available Tesla. I never considered it seriously myself, but I know several people who bought one and have been driving it for 6-12mos and are very happy with it.
It is not a "garbage" compliance car -- unless you consider that any non-luxury car is "garbage" -- and it's very different in philosophy from the obvious compliance cars of other legacy manufacturers (neither an electric retrofit of an existing model nor a barely usable prototype-like vehicle).
I am not sure why you are so hostile to a reasonable effort; the Bolt has not turned anyone (not even you, clearly) away from BEV cars -- quite the contrary, as demand for the Bolt keeps climbing and is (sadly) exceeding the production goals of GM. Any decent BEV car out there is a big positive -- the more there are on the roads, the more easily people will get convinced to switch for their next car.

Now, if you were to rant at GM for not increasing the production of the Bolt, I would quite agree! Their reluctance to increase production of the Bolt so as to meet the increasing demand for it (and their very limited advertising for it) is the only facet of the whole enterprise that smells of "compliance car."
 
#9
Should it be pointed out that GM, as part of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, is part of the key organization currently working to kill CARB and its ZEV mandate? They're the same organization that successfully lobbied to kill of the improved mileage standards as well just recently.

The major automakers with operations in the US that aren't in the organization are as follows: Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru... and of course, Tesla. Not that Honda or Subaru care about EVs, and not that Hyundai is producing them in volume.... but all four of the non-Tesla automakers not in the association tend to make very efficient vehicles, and thus don't want gas mileage standards weakened.
Completely agree -- I had pointed out that we should not rave at current BEV efforts, but rather at the continued (and, sadly, already successful) lobbying of most legacy companies (and their fossil fuel masters) to derail the modest EPA emission and fuel economy standards.
That said, I remain optimistic that BEVs will outsell ICE cars within 10-15 years, if not because of ecological considerations (which do not seem to have any weight with over 95% of the US population), then simply because they are so much better cars to drive.
(By then, though, the US fossil fuel lobby and right-wing politicians may have walked back ICE emissions standards so badly that the remaining ICE vehicles might put out as much pollution as they do today ;-)
 
#10
(By then, though, the US fossil fuel lobby and right-wing politicians may have walked back ICE emissions standards so badly that the remaining ICE vehicles might put out as much pollution as they do today ;-)
The GOP can try in the US, but the rest of the world will continue to move forward with EV adoption because of China, whose EV sales are estimated to be more than twice that of the US this year: https://www.scmp.com/business/compa...nas-ev-market-growing-twice-fast-us-heres-why

Most American automakers won’t stand a chance if they stay with ICE technology due to several factors: China automakers will soon be selling cheaper and desirable EVs, demand for EVs will increase due to lower cost of ownership, batteries will get cheaper, charging networks will proliferate, and international emissions standards will get stricter. And the gap between ICEVs and EVs will only continue to widen as time passes.

The Republicans know this. The Big Three automakers know this. But I’m afraid they’ll just keep fighting till they go bankrupt.

EDIT: Not to mention that autonomous capability will be a nightmare to implement in ICEVs, which lack the instantaneous response that is inherent of EVs.
 
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#11
The


The Bolt does not hold a candle to any Tesla, but it has been (somewhat) available for over a year at 2/3 the price of the cheapest available Tesla. I never considered it seriously myself, but I know several people who bought one and have been driving it for 6-12mos and are very happy with it.
It is not a "garbage" compliance car -- unless you consider that any non-luxury car is "garbage" -- and it's very different in philosophy from the obvious compliance cars of other legacy manufacturers (neither an electric retrofit of an existing model nor a barely usable prototype-like vehicle).
I am not sure why you are so hostile to a reasonable effort; the Bolt has not turned anyone (not even you, clearly) away from BEV cars -- quite the contrary, as demand for the Bolt keeps climbing and is (sadly) exceeding the production goals of GM. Any decent BEV car out there is a big positive -- the more there are on the roads, the more easily people will get convinced to switch for their next car.

Now, if you were to rant at GM for not increasing the production of the Bolt, I would quite agree! Their reluctance to increase production of the Bolt so as to meet the increasing demand for it (and their very limited advertising for it) is the only facet of the whole enterprise that smells of "compliance car."

Fact: Chevy Bolt is a compliance car.

According to Electrek, the Bolt is backordered up to a year. GM loses money on every Bolt sale because like every other mobile trashcan they produce, pretty much every part is outsourced. (Maybe in a decade the Big Three will finally find a supplier with infotainment systems faster than the original Rasberry Pi, if they aren't bankrupt by then.)

As I said, there would be outrage if GM produced the absolute minimum to meet regulations and remain allowed to sell ICEs in California. However, GM announced they would increase production by a whopping 20%! Seems like they are trying to achieve a cleaner future? Nope.

20% of less than 30,000 Bolts produced annually is not much at all. GM will have to practically give away their compliance cars when Tesla starts selling the 35k base Model 3 by 2020. The demand for Bolts is inverse to the supply of Model 3s.

The joke of the century is that all of these pre-historic automakers have agreed "the demand for sedans has declined significantly, people prefer trucks and SUVs instead". In the mid-size luxury sedan market, it's funny how while Tesla's Model 3 sales have skyrocketed, achieving over half of the market share, the demand for the rest has plummeted. People realize a non-Tesla is the same thing whether you pay 15k or 1.5mil.

The Truck/SUV market - all that's keeping the dinosaur automakers afloat. They will have nothing left when Tesla dominates both of those segments with the Model Y and the pickup truck coming soon after, instead choosing to spend their time fighting Tesla's direct sales model and lobbying for emissions standards rollbacks, and still trying to cheat emissions testing year after year. It's the end of the ICE age. Most automakers will go extinct, and only those smart enough to negotiate with Tesla to gain access to the vast supercharging network will have a chance at survival.