Remember when Marty McFly blasted into hyperspace in his ultra-cool DeLorean? What seemed unimaginable in 1985 has increasingly made its way into the mainstream. Electric cars are ushering in a new era of sleek design coupled with an air of sophisticated sustainability. Thanks to companies like Ford and Tesla, BEV (battery electric vehicles) or PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) cars are making a strong case for reducing your carbon footprint and leading the charge in environmental changes.
A Brief History Of Electric Cars
To understand the rise of electric cars, we must go back in time (an ode to Back to the Future) to understand its popularity in depth. Making its first introduction into society in the 1800s, electric cars saw a demand particularly in European countries and the United States. William Morrison, an Iowan chemist, made the first practical electric car near the beginning of the twentieth century. Public interest grew and the mode of transportation became increasingly popular. Famed inventors and car founders alike forged friendships and ideas to create what they believed to be an innovative way of travel. Yet it was Henry Ford’s introduction of the Model T, a gasoline-powered vehicle invented in 1908 that suddenly caught consumers attention. Rated cheaper and having the ability to rely on newly discovered oil in Texas -- thus merging two major economies together, Ford’s automobile made the desire for electric cars dwindle.
Flash forward to today, and another awakening of consumer interest is bursting onto the scene making gas guzzling cars re-think their position.
Electric Is All The Rage
Just like in the 1800s, global energy markets have seen a shift. As we come to understand the role humans play in emitting carbon emissions into the atmosphere making for a dire planet, consumer awareness is growing and becoming ever sharper.
So, how does one make a case for electric cars? For starters, they are better for the environment. With little exhaust systems and little to no need for reliance on petroleum, electric cars decrease your personal carbon footprint significantly. Today, cars and trucks on the road account for about one-fifth of U.S. carbon emissions. When the number of electric vehicles enter the roadways, it decreases emissions and overall has the ability to slow the pace of global warming. Further, reducing carbon emissions contributes to better air quality and improves overall health.
In the early 1970s, the U.S. economy saw a rise in fuel prices especially since the nation had become so reliant on foreign fuel. Congress took note and allowed research into producing electric cars and making use of natural energy sources, decreasing costs and passing on that advantage to consumers. Recently, activist groups in favor of electric cars saw a response in their favor from the U.S. Senate which will leave the electric vehicle tax credit in place. EV incentives as they are known give consumers tax credits (reducing the amount of taxes owed) when purchasing an electric vehicle. This tax credit was previously in jeopardy as lawmakers wanted to take it off the table. Now that it remains, the case is still quite strong for purchasing and owning an electric car.
The Future of Electric Cars
Looking into the future, we can also glimpse into the not so distant past and single out Toyota for ushering back in electric vehicles with its Prius. The Prius first entered the global market in 2000, but made its debut in Japan three years prior. Quickly rising to a sort of celebrity status, it paved the way for today’s leading brand of electric cars, Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors.
Just like market disruptor, the iPhone, Tesla quickly became a recognizable vehicle and not because of the luxury cars they produced. The timing of Tesla could not have been better. Communities of all types of people fully understood the role humans play in climate change, so when a vehicle came onto the scene poised to give them an option of doing their part to reduce carbon emissions, Tesla became a no-brainer. This of course created a healthy competition between carmakers which in turn is good for consumers -- more options of electric vehicles on the market.
In 2012 under former U.S. President Barack Obama, the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge was launched. It was designed to bring together industry leaders, scientists and community development groups to make electric cars affordable. While electric cars are becoming more and more popular, the battle for supremacy in the automobile industry looms. Gasoline-powered vehicles are still viable for many and its largely because of the same reasons that stem from the early twentieth century. But this won’t be the case for long. Electric cars are proving to be energy efficient, environmentally-friendly and economically strong. They are a strong case for what is once again becoming an emerging market for vehicles.