Contrary to modern revisionist history, electric cars are not a recent innovation.
The original idea of vehicles powered by an electric motor dates back to the turn of the century – that is, when the 19th century turned into the 20th century.
Between then and now, the interest and innovation in electric vehicles (EVs) have ebbed and flowed. Practicality and curiosity propelled early development. Real-world events such as the Arab Oil Embargo of the 1970s sparked renewed interest in technologies that did not rely so heavily on foreign oil.
Today, the boom is fueled by those same considerations, with one critical indigent drawing interest from everyday consumers – affordability.
With new battery technologies improving reliability, practicality, and scalability, electric vehicles are a growth industry.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 50,000 electric plug-in vehicles (PEVs) were purchased in 2012. In 2018, that number jumped to 400,000.
Globally, the EV market closed 2018 with 1.5 million units sold. By 2025, forecasts expect sales to exceed 10.5 million units.
It’s clear that after a history marked with fits and starts, EVs are no longer just a fad. As the chorus of fans get louder, and sales worldwide continue to increase, it’s clear that EVs are here to stay.
But what’s driving this rebirth of electric cars? What are the vehicles like and how do they compare with conventional, gas-powered automobiles. Which companies are ahead of the EV curve with models currently available to purchase?
It’s Just a Car…Or Is It
Inside and out, EVs, from an atheistic standpoint, offer little distinction from their internal combustion engine (ICE) powered siblings. They’re still cars, and that distinction includes the fundamental traits that have come to identify our primary mode of transportation.
The differences though become starkly apparent when you power up an EV and take it for a drive. The contrast proves even sharper once you account for the change in lifestyle and driving habits that inevitably come when switching to an EV.
Let’s examine three central attributes that make electric cars unique within the automobile segment.
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