EV Technology-history & where it stands today


We’ve truly entered the EV age and even though most of us will still go for the conventional Petrol or Diesel car if we were to buy a new car today, we know in the back of our minds that soon we would opt for the EV instead in the foreseeable future.


If we go back in history, we will find that many innovators and inventors thought about and made prototypes of electric cars way back in 1830. In 1897 Nicola Tesla is believed to have made his first electric car. It had an average speed of 94 mph during a drive from New York City to Buffalo.


A lot of people were convinced electric cars would be the better alternative compared to the fossil fuel cars as these were clean, noiseless, easier to drive without any gear shifts. However, the arrival of the Ford model-T in 1908 settled it in favor of the gasoline engine mainly because of the price. While the model-T Ford was introduced around USD 500, an electric car cost would be more than 3 times in those days.

(Image credit:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Model_T#/media/File:1925_Ford_Model_T_touring.jpg)


With rapid advances like electric starters and improved mechanical designs the masses started forgetting about the electric cars and the gasoline cars stole the market.


So, for over a hundred years we all forgot that there existed a better alternative and people and manufacturers went on merrily producing excellent gasoline cars.


If you ask me to explain this huge technology gap today it will be difficult with pure logic.

It required the entrepreneurial spirit and keen insight and vision of Elon musk to jump on his electric car mission and pay tribute to the early inventor Nicola Tesla by naming his electric car venture company as TESLA.


Founded in 2003, the brand’s claim to fame was the Lotus Elise-based Tesla Roadster, which was launched in 2008. The 2-door electric sports car offered a range of nearly 400km and a 0-100kmph time of under 4 seconds. Only 2500 cars were made in 4 years at a price of 50K. This became a milestone in EV history, and it was time to think of mass production and cost decrease.

(Image credit: Bestcarmag.com)


The Tesla model 3 landed on the scene in March 2016 with a price tag of USD 35K with a range of 350 Kms. It changed the cars game forever.

(Image credit: www.motortrend.com)


Once people saw the success a lot of leading car manufacturers including like GM, Ford, Jaguar, Volkswagen jumped on the bandwagon and now the market is hot.


The salient feature of electric cars include:

• Silent operation

• High initial acceleration

• Low fuel cost (could be free with home charging and solar panels)

• No emissions (local)

• Regenerative braking system

• No engine oils

• Less wear of disc brakes and pads

• Single pedal drive

• No transmission tunnel between wheels


A rapid traction in semiconductors, batteries, fast charging is supporting the rapid advancement and commercialization of the EV technology and innovation.


It makes an interesting story: after a gap of 100 years the stronger candidate makes a comeback to dominate the scene!


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Arun Bhatia


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