The History of Electric Vehicles

Get In Touch

The history of electric vehicles

Petrol and diesel cars are slowly becoming a thing of the past, with electric vehicles becoming more available and affordable for everyone. The gap between the traditional combustion engine and an electric motor engine is decreasing all the time. In essence, this means that electric vehicles now have the desired performance and features once thought only to be obtained through traditional combustion engines. Electric vehicles are already being seen more frequently on roads, with manufacturers now adopting various electric motors, thus providing people with the choice to drive more sustainably.

There is no doubt that electric vehicles are going to be dominating the motor industry in the coming years. However, the history of the electric vehicle dates as far back as 1832.

Early beginnings

The first electric vehicle developed was in 1832 by Robert Anderson, however it wasn’t until the 1870s that electric vehicles became more practical. Electric vehicles gained popularity from 1899 as they were easy to drive, produced less pollutants and became popular amongst urban residents, especially women. As years progressed and the nineteen hundreds arrived, electric vehicles reached the peak of their popularity. Between 1900 and 1912, electric vehicles in the US accounted for approximately a third of all vehicles on the road. During this time, Thomas Edison began working to build a better battery for vehicles as he believed electric vehicles were a superior mode of transport. However, in 1901 the world’s first hybrid electric vehicle was invented by Ferdinand Porsche. Many vehicle manufacturers and inventors around this time claimed to have been the first to develop the electric powered motor.

PorscheP1
Thomas Parker

Between 1920 and 1935 electric vehicles declined, due to better roads and the availability of cheaper oil. This made the traditional fuelled combustion engine the preferred mode of transport for decades. Fast-forward to the 1970s, electric vehicles began to intrigue people once again. This was due to a variety of factors, but most importantly, the first manned vehicle on the moon relied solely on electricity, helping to raise the profile of electric vehicles.

The popularity and usage went up and down for decades, but during the 1990s, manufacturers, aided by new regulations, helped renew an interest in electric vehicles. Manufacturers began to build better cars that relied on electricity, with Toyota introducing the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle in 1997. Honda was also ahead as the brand released the Insight Hybrid in 1999.

The turn of the century

In 2000, Toyota released the Prius worldwide and it was an instant success, especially amongst celebrities. The Prius opened the door to the potential possibilities that could come from electric motors. Therefore, during the early 2000s car manufacturers began to take note and increased their own electric vehicle offerings.

Over the following decades, we saw an increase in electric powered engines, either fully electric or partly electric with hybrid vehicles being available. The most expensive component was the battery itself, but in 2013 the cost of an electric battery decreased and electric cars became more affordable for consumers.

Toyota Prius 1997

The present day

Today, there are various more affordable vehicles available, with consumers now choosing new vehicles that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. The future is heading towards an electric-powered motor vehicle industry, with vehicle charging points now available at various locations, including shopping centres and car parks. There are now fully electric vehicles for the majority of car manufacturers, with more arriving in the coming years. For example, Honda, SEAT, Volkswagen all have at least one pure electric vehicle, with more set to be released.

A selection of fully electric vehicles available to purchase today

SEAT Mii

The SEAT Mii is a fully electric city car with all the style, comfort and features you'd expect from the SEAT brand. The vehicle has won Value Electric Car of the Year at the What Car? Electric Car Awards and has a driving range of 161 miles. This fully electric city car has the latest technology and features available, with heated front sports seats, rear parking sensors and cruise control.

The SEAT Mii is impressive and not only is it sustainable, it has an attractive price point making it more affordable for customers to own an electric vehicle.

Find out more.

SEAT Mii

Honda e

An award winning fully electric city car from Honda, that is not only friendly for the environment, but is comfortable and stylish in every way. Featuring the latest technology, this vehicle has an affordable price allowing people to drive sustainably and become more environment friendly.

Find out more.

Honda e

Volkswagen ID.4

An electric SUV that is spacious, comfortable and includes features such as a reversing camera. The ID.4 is visually appealing and has a driving range of up to 310 miles. Electrical performance that inspires and intuitive ease of use that makes everything so simple. You notice the amount of space inside from the moment you get in: plenty of legroom, a variable centre console and comfortable seats.

Find out more.

Volkswagen ID.4

Audi e-tron

Two electric motors power the Audi e-tron and is not only practical for everyday use, but also very manoeuvrable and agile when driving off-road. The vehicle is not only sustainable, the design is visually striking and the performance is impressive.

There are a variety of model editions, so no matter whether you are travelling in the city or heading off to go sailing with friends - you will find an e-tron that meets your needs.

Find out more.

Audi e-tron

BMW i3

Launched in 2013, the BMW i3 has evolved to be the best-selling compact electric vehicle in the premium segment. The BMW i3 has been awarded many accolades since entering the market, further cementing the ground-breaking zero emission car's status. With its agility and acceleration, it takes just 7.3 seconds to sprint from 0 to 62 mph and delivers an exceptional driving experience.

Find out more.

BMW i3

Mini Electric

The MINI Electric is based on the same body shell as the 3-Door Hatch, with a number of specific differences. Including an embossed MINI Electric logo on the car’s side scuttles, tailgate and front radiator grille. The MINI Electric retains the full 211 litres of boot space, expanding to 731 litres when the rear backrests are folded down. Electric drive takes the trademark MINI go-kart driving feeling to new heights, thanks to new suspension technology designed for this model.

Find out more.

MINI Electric

ŠKODA ENYAQ iV

The ground-breaking all-electric SUV will be available with two battery size options offered in rear-wheel drive, with rapid charging options available. There is a permanent internet connection which guarantees that all information is always up-to-date. The driver is shown all the relevant information on a free-standing, 13-inch central display and, if desired, a heads-up display with augmented reality.

Find out more.

SKODA ENYAQ iV

Jaguar I-PACE

The Jaguar I-PACE is a pure Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), built with cutting-edge technology and delivers spaciousness and practicality. Connected like never before, the new I-PACE is the world's smartest five-seater sports car, designed to fit seamlessly with your lifestyle.

Find out more.

Jaguar I-PACE

Mercedes-Benz EQA

The first all-electric compact car from Mercedes-Benz, the EQA has a lot to prove, but the numbers and reviews all suggest it will be a vastly successful addition to the brand. Boasting a range of up to 263 miles (WLTP), the vehicle’s Electric Intelligence system calculates the route that will get the driver to their destination the fastest, while also considering charging times.

Find out more.

Mercedes-Benz EQA

Interested in any of these models?

Complete the form below to find out more.

  • One Required
  • One Required
  • Optional
    Optional
  • DO NOT ENTER
  • Optional
  • Optional

The personal details you submit through this form will be handled and processed in line with our Data Privacy Notice.

Dealer Listing