The newly-popular electric car is nothing new in and of itself — the idea has been around for over a hundred years. But the concept has struggled to find its footing in a market dominated by the petrol and diesel engine.
That’s set to change, with an increase in concern for the environment and an upgrade to so many electrical technologies. Could the electric car finally take on the dominance of petrol and diesel cars? To show you the journey of the electric car, stockist of Volkswagen Up! Lookers Volkswagen investigates.
The origin of electrical cars
Great minds think alike, as boffins from the Netherlands, Hungary, and the United States all consider the concept of a battery-powered car back in 1800s. They created small-scale electric cars, but it took until the second half of the 19th century before French and English inventors produced the first practical electric vehicles.
With a quiet engine, the electric car quickly became popular for short city-based travel. Thomas Edison worked to develop better batteries for electric vehicles and in 1901, the world’s first hybrid electric car was invented.
Crude oil became cheaper in 1920, and so electric cars fell off most people’s radars. This changed again in the 1990s due to environmental regulations. With a green future becoming a main objective amongst the world’s leaders, it’s anticipated that by 2040 electric cars will account for a third of global sales. In the UK, ministers have been informed that most new cars would need to be electric by 2030 and, with fully autonomous cars due to be rolled out in the coming years, the industry is well on its way to hitting this target, especially as motoring giants are producing more and more electric versions of their fleet.
New and improved?
We are already seeing an impact of electric cars on the market. The world is realising that we have to move away from a fossil fuel-driven economy towards one that is more sustainable as we attempt to bring a halt to climate change. Transportation can, and is, one area that must be focused on. In 2017, more than half of cars sold in Norway were electric, while China continues to lead the way in a market that keeps growing. In fact, with sales of electric cars rising each month, Volkswagen has announced a $10 billion investment in the country to develop relevant technology and has set out plans to manufacture 1.5 million electric vehicles by 2025.
What developments are currently in the works? Lithium-sulphur and solid state devices are also in development to continue the improvement in the car’s battery life. Also, the number of charging points available in the UK is on the rise, quickly increasing by over 5,000 between 2016 and 2017. It’s these two developments that are leading the way in the electric car revolution.
It’s not just the public enjoying new upgrades. Spectators at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed were treated to a record-breaking run as the VW ID R, fresh from breaking the record for the fastest run up the Pikes Peak international Hill Climb, smashed the official hill climb record for electric vehicles by 3.5 seconds. This, on top of the rise of the enthralling Formula E series, shows just how far these automobiles are coming.
Comparing to petrol and diesel cars
Though electric cars are currently a little more expensive than petrol or diesel, the prices are falling in line. Thanks to rules that are being introduced to limit the kind of vehicles allowed into major cities, electric cars are becoming more mainstream. Plus, since they have very few moving parts, electric cars in theory allow for fewer issues to arise. This means that on the whole, servicing your electric car should be cheaper than a petrol or diesel car. However, the range you achieve from an electric car, although increasing as batteries improve, isn’t as good as what you’d receive from a full tank of petrol or diesel.
Really, the choice between electric or petrol boils down to your own driving habits. However, given time and with constant technological advancements you can expect the power and range of electric cars to improve, meaning the rise of the electric vehicle in the 21st century is one that looks like gaining even greater moment over the coming years.