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History of Electric Cars Essay

Electric cars have been around since their invention in 1837, they had a falling off during the early 20th century, but they came back in the 1960s. At the turn of the 20th century, cars were becoming more and more popular. But did you know that at that time, there were more electric cars the gas ones (“Automobile, electric”)? How have electric cars changed and evolved over the course of the century? In 1837 Robert Anderson strapped a battery and a motor onto a carriage and the first electric car was born. During the 1880s and 1890s electric cars grew in popularity in both the US and Europe.

In 1898, Bailey and Company, who were carriage makers at the time, attached a motor to one of their carriages but, their batteries were too heavy for their motor. S. R. Bailey and his son Edwin Bailey continued work on their electric carriage. In 1908 they released their first model that could travel 50 miles before recharging. Thomas Edison later came to Bailey to help him test a new battery he invented. The Bailey carriage with Edison batteries was put through many teat and public demonstrations (“Automobile, electric”).

But the electric car’s fame didn’t last. By 1915, The Bailey Company had stopped producing its electric carriage. Only one electric car company survived past the 1910s, the Detroit Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Company, but it too closed in 1941 (“Automobile, electric”). There were many reasons the electric car lost to its gas powered counterpart. One was the invention of the electric starter by Charles Kettering in 1912. Another was the assembly line process that Henry Ford developed that lowered the price of gas powered cars substantially. Gas powered cars could also go much further than electric.

Automakers started to improve electric cars during the 1960s as a part of US space programs (“Electric vehicles”). Research was also done during the oil embargo of 1973. These events made for electric cars with higher ranges, some up to 300 miles. More recently major manufacturers have shifted their focus to hybrid cars. These cars have gas engines that charge the batteries which run the electric motor. They carry gasoline so there is no chance that your batteries will run out of charge. Electric cars have changed drastically over the past century and they will continue to improve. They started as simple carriages with motors, and have evolved into great driving machines.

Works Cited
“Automobile, electric.” World of Invention. Gale, 1999. Student Resources In Context. Web. 7 Oct. 2013.
“Electric vehicles.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. 4th ed. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Student Resources In Context. Web. 8 Oct. 2013. “EV History.” Electric Car Association. Electric Car Association, 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. .

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