Monday, July 29, 2013

Memory Lane - Introduction

This new section doesn't want to give a History Lesson about Electric Cars, for that we have Wikipedia, but it's made just to complete with some figures and pictures, the electric car sales preceding the period recorded by EV Sales. This post relates to the first Two Ages of the Electric Car and in the following days i'll post some more regarding the Third Age, the one we now live.

First Age of the Electric Car (1890's - 1920's)

Detroit Electric car, during its lifespan (1907-39), this manufacturer sold 13.000 electric cars

Unlike what many people might think, electric cars are not a novelty, in fact in the end of the 19th century, electric power was competing with gasoline and steam (!) as the preferential source of power for cars, with electric cars in their heyday reaching some 30% share in some markets, being recognized as easier to use, cleaner, quieter and much more economical than their competitors.

The decline began with the mass production of Ford Model T and the subsequential lowering costs of gasoline-powered cars, transforming electric ones in niche cars and then the 1929 economic crisis ended with most electric car manufacturers.

Second Age of the Electric Car (1990's - 2003)

In the beginning of the 1990's, government-led initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic, like the now famous California Air Resources Board (CARB), began a push for more ecological vehicles and several carmakers  developed electric cars as way to respond to that push, here are pictures from some of the most famous models of this Age.

With the end of government support and/or other causes, the beginning of the new century saw the end of those projects and by 2004 only the toy-like REVA G-Wiz was on sale.

Peugeot 106 Electrique - Believe it or not, this was the best selling car of this Age, total production was 6.400 units during its eight year lifespan (1995 - 2003). Its cousin, the Citröen Saxo Electrique sold another 2.500 units, performing a total of 8.900 units for PSA.

Toyota RAV4 EV (1st Generation) - Proof that electric cars are reliable, many of these vehicles are still on the roads today, despite having been produced just 1.484 units between 1997 and 2003.

GM EV1 - Like the Dodo, this car had more fame when it ceased to exist, featuring even in a starring role on a movie around the End of the Second Age. 1.117 units were produced between 1996 and 1999 and in 2002, (in)famously, all were recalled by GM to be scrapped.

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