20 Facts About Electric Cars
Electric cars have come a long way in recent years. Once viewed as slow, ugly and impractical, modern electric vehicles are poised to disrupt the auto industry.
As battery technology improves and prices fall, electric cars are becoming a viable option for more and more drivers.
But how much do you really know about these whisper-quiet vehicles of tomorrow? Let’s take a look at some fascinating facts about electric cars.
Table of Contents
A Brief History of Electric Cars
Electric cars actually predate gasoline-powered vehicles. In the 1890s and early 1900s, electric taxis and private vehicles jostled for space on the roads with steam and gasoline-powered cars.
But once Henry Ford began mass producing the Model T in 1908, the ascendance of the internal combustion engine began.
However, interest in electric vehicles never entirely went away. In the 1960s and 70s, concerns over oil shortages and air pollution caused a resurgence in electric car development. This led to several small production runs of EVs, but low oil prices, limited range and high costs prevented widespread adoption.
Fast forward to the early 21st century, concerns over climate change and energy security have catalyzed major investments in EV technology.
Improved batteries, motors and charging infrastructure are addressing earlier limitations. Tesla’s sleek high-performance vehicles have also made EVs cool again. Momentum continues to build as costs come down.
Types of Electric Cars
There are a few different types of electric cars:
- Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) – These EVs run 100% on battery power and have no gas engine. All charging is done by plugging in. Examples are the Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt.
- Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) – PHEVs have both a gas engine and electric motor. A larger battery can be plugged in and charged. They can run in all-electric mode for 20-50+ miles before the gas engine kicks in. Examples include the Toyota Prius Prime and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.
- Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) – HEVs like the Toyota Prius have smaller batteries and electric motors to improve gas mileage. But they cannot plug in and run only on battery power.
Now let’s get to those fascinating facts!
20 Facts About Electric Cars
- The first electric car: The first electric car was created in the year 1832 by a Scottish inventor Robert Anderson. You can check from energy.gov.
- Instant torque: Electric motors provide instant power and fast acceleration. EVs can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds.
- Energy efficient: EVs convert over 77% of electrical energy to power the wheels. Gas engines only convert 20% of gasoline’s energy to motion.
- Lower maintenance: Regenerative brakes reduce wear. Fewer moving parts and no engine oil changes cut maintenance costs by up to 40%.
- Environmentally friendly: EVs produce zero direct emissions. The net emissions depend on how the electricity is produced.
- Tax credits: Federal tax credits of up to $7,500 are available for purchasing an electric vehicle. Many states also offer additional rebates.
- HOV lane access: Electric vehicles can access HOV lanes in some states even with just a single occupant. Perks include CA, NY and GA.
- Torque for days: Electric motors provide 100% of their torque from a standstill. This allows exhilarating acceleration.
- Quiet comfort: The lack of engine noise makes for a uniquely quiet and refined driving experience.
- Fewer filling stops: A full charge provides 200+ miles of range. Most owners charge at home and rarely visit gas stations.
- Lower operating costs: Electricity is the equivalent of $1/gallon gasoline in most parts of the country. Maintenance is also substantially lower.
- Power backup: EVs can even power your home during an outage by feeding electricity back into your home’s electrical panel.
- Cleaner air: Widespread EV adoption can significantly improve air quality and related health outcomes.
- Grid stabilization: EVs can help stabilize the electrical grid through smart charging and vehicle-to-grid integration.
- Solar synergies: EVs paired with solar panel charging enables true off-grid mobility powered by the sun.
- Semi trucks too: Startups like Rivian are rolling out electric trucks and vans for commercial fleets. Amazon has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans.
- Charging made easy: Level 1 and 2 charging stations for home and public use have become widely available.
- Mainstream Adoption: There are over 25 EV models available today. 1.2 million EVs were sold in the US in 2021.
- Improving fast: Experts forecast EVs will reach price parity with gas cars around 2025-2027 as battery costs keep falling.
- Future forecast: BloombergNEF predicts electric models will hit 58% of global passenger vehicle sales by 2040.
The Road Ahead for Electric Cars
Electric vehicles have come a long way in a relatively short time. As battery technology continues improving and more models come to market, the transition to emissions-free transportation is looking inevitable.
Falling costs and improved charging access are making EVs an option for more new car buyers. While challenges around electricity capacity and infrastructure remain, momentum is clearly building.
The road ahead looks bright for electric vehicles playing a leading role in sustainable mobility.