History Of The Electric Car

Timeline created by Troy Rodman
  • In the beginning...

    In the beginning...
    Horse and buggies are the primary mode of transportation, but innovators in Hungary, the Netherlands and the U.S. think to the future, creating some of the first small-scale electric cars. Reference
  • First Ever

    First Ever
    Around 1832, Robert Anderson develops the first crude electric vehicle, but it isn't until the 1870s or later that electric cars become practical. Pictured here is an electric vehicle built by an English inventor in 1884. Reference
  • First In The US

    First In The US
    William Morrison, from Des Moines, Iowa, creates the first successful electric vehicle in the U.S. His car is little more than an electrified wagon. Reference
  • Rising Popularity

    Rising Popularity
    Electric cars are quieter, easier to drive and didn't emit smelly pollutants,unlike the gas and steam powered vehicles of the time. It quickly becomes popular with urban residents, especially women. Reference
  • Mass Production

    Mass Production
    By the turn of the century, electric vehicles are all the rage in the U.S., accounting for around a third of all vehicles on the road. Reference
  • Hybrid Porsche

    Hybrid Porsche
    Ferdinand Porsche creates the Lohner-Porsche Mixte. The world's first hybrid electric car. The vehicle is powered by electricity stored in a battery and a gas engine. Reference
  • Model T

    Model T
    The mass-produced Model T makes gas-powered cars widely available and affordable. In 1912, the electric starter is introduced, helping to increase gas-powered vehicle sales even more. Reference
  • Electric Decline

    Electric Decline
    Better roads and discovery of cheap Texas crude oil help contribute to the decline in electric vehicles. By 1935, they have all but disappeared. Reference
  • They're Back!

    They're Back!
    Over the next 30 years or so, cheap, abundant gasoline and continued improvement in the internal combustion engine created little need for alternative fuel vehicles. But in the 1960s and 1970s, gas prices soar through the roof, creating interest in electric vehicles again. Reference
  • On the moon

    On the moon
    Around this same time, the first manned vehicle drives on the moon. NASA's Lunar rover runs on electricity, helping to raise the profile of electric vehicles. Reference
  • Citicar

    One successful electric car at this time is Sebring-Vanguard's CitiCar. The company produces more than 2,000 CitiCars -- a wedge-shaped compact car that had a range of 50-60 miles. Its popularity makes Sebring-Vanguard the sixth largest U.S. automaker by 1975. Reference
  • Gone again...

    Gone again...
    Interest fades in electric cars due to drawbacks including limited performance and range. Reference
  • Regulated

    New federal and state regulations create a renewed interest in electric vehicles. The result: Automakers begin modifying popular vehicle models into electric vehicles, enabling them to achieve speeds and performance much closer to gasoline-powered vehicles. Reference
  • The Prius

    The Prius
    In 2000, Toyota releases the Prius worldwide, and it becomes an instant success with celebrities, increasing its (and the electric vehicle's) profile. Reference
  • Tesla Motors

    Tesla Motors
    Tesla Motors, a Silicon Valley startup, announces it will produce a luxury electric sports car with a range of 200+ miles. Other automakers take note, accelerating work on their own electric vehicles. Reference
  • Plug it in

    Plug it in
    GM releases the Chevy Volt, making it the first commercially available plug-in hybrid. The Volt uses battery technology developed by the Energy Department. Reference
  • LEAF

    In December 2010, Nissan releases the LEAF, an all-electric, zero tailpipe emissions car. In January 2013, Nissan begins assembling the LEAF in Tennessee for the North American market thanks to a loan from the Energy Department. Reference