Published: September 2014
Electric vehicles' first heyday
Electric vehicles (EVs) are not a new technology. The first EV debuted in 1890 in the U.S. as a 6-passenger wagon with a top speed of 14mph (22.5 km/h). For the next 20 years EV’s popularity climbed, making up a third of total vehicles in use in the U.S.
The Model T’s intro in 1908 was a turning point in the automobile world. While EVs were quieter, cleaner, and easy to operate, they cost more and had a shorter distance range than the Model T. In 1912, an electric car cost $1,750 while a gas car cost $650.
By the 1920s, the U.S. had an expanding road system and abundance of Texan crude oil. Cheap fuel and the absence of electricity in rural areas wiped out the demand for EVs by 1935.