Electric cars first appeared in the UK. In 1830, Scottish inventor Robert Anderson successfully installed an electric motor on a carriage, and subsequently collaborated with Thomas Davenport to create the world's first battery-powered electric vehicle . The car uses a non-rechargeable glass-encapsulated battery, which has since created a history of electric vehicle development and application. This predates the invention of gasoline-engined cars by the Germans Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz.

Batteries were the only energy storage devices in early electric vehicles. In the 19th century, the power batteries needed to develop electric vehicles were far from meeting the requirements of high-speed vehicles in terms of energy density, power density and service life. In 1860, French scientist Plant Gaston invented the reusable lead-acid battery. After more than 20 years of continuous improvement, lead-acid batteries have made great progress in system design and manufacturing process. , thus having commercial value. Subsequently, rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries and nickel-iron batteries also entered the market.

In 1881, the world's first electric car powered by a rechargeable battery appeared on the streets of Paris, France. It is a lead-acid battery-powered tricycle assembled by French engineer Gustave Trouve, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Electric tricycle powered by lead-acid battery

At the end of the 19th century, many American, British and French companies started producing electric vehicles. The earliest electric vehicle manufacturing plant was the Electric Bus and Truck Company owned by Morris and Salom. Another early producer of electric cars was the Pope Manufacturing Company, and by the end of 1898 Pope had built about 500 Columbia-type electric cars. The London Electric Taxi Company in England produced 15 electric taxis in 1897, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 Electric taxis at the end of the 19th century

The French company BGS also produced several different types of commercial electric vehicles from 1899 to 1906, including cars, vans, passenger cars and limousines.

In May 1899, the Belgian electric racing car "La jamais Contente" (Never Satisfied) set a speed record of 110km/h and was the first car in the world to exceed 100km/h.

Figure 3 The world's first car

In 1890, there were 4,200 cars in the world, of which 38% were electric cars, 40% were steam engine cars, and only 22% were internal combustion engine cars. In 1900, there were 15,755 electric cars, 1,684 steam-engine cars, and only 936 gasoline-engine cars. By 1912, the United States had at least 34,000 electric vehicles, and there were hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles around the world, which were widely used in taxis, delivery vehicles and buses.

Baker Electric Company (Baker) was the most important electric vehicle manufacturer in the United States at the time. Its electric vehicles used drive shafts instead of chains to transmit power, and the price was relatively low. Electric vehicles produced by Detroit Electric can reach a top speed of 40km/h and have a driving range of 129km. From 1901 to 1902, the London Electric Vehicle Company produced electric vehicles with rear wheel hub motor type, rear wheel drive, oblique wheel steering and pneumatic tires.

The late 19th century to the 1920s was one of the peak periods for the development of electric vehicles. Compared with vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, electric vehicles had obvious advantages such as odorless, noiseless and low price, so they became the dominant market at that time. However, due to the advancement of oil extraction technology and internal combustion engine technology, the performance of internal combustion engine vehicles has been improved by leaps and bounds, so they have developed rapidly and replaced electric vehicles and steam engine vehicles. The golden age of electric vehicles only lasted for more than 20 years. . Between 1890 and 1920, the world's oil production increased tenfold; in 1911, Charles Kettering invented the automatic start technology of internal combustion engines; in 1913, Ford established the production line of internal combustion engine vehicles, and internal combustion engine vehicles have since entered the market. Standardized and mass-produced. Figure 4 shows the Model T produced by Ford Motor Company, which is also the world's first car belonging to ordinary people - the Model T. Although the power battery technology for electric vehicles is also developing rapidly during the same period (for example, the energy stored in the battery has increased by 35%, the service life has increased by 300%, the mileage of electric vehicles has increased by 230%, and the price has been reduced by 63%, etc.), but The mass specific energy density of gasoline and other fossil fuels is 100 times that of batteries, and the volume specific energy density is 40 times that of batteries. The advantages of internal combustion engine vehicles in terms of performance are gradually emerging. In the next period, due to the demand for long-distance passenger and freight transportation due to economic development, the shortcomings of electric vehicles such as short driving range and long charging time are more obvious. The mass-produced internal combustion engine vehicles have completely ended the life of electric vehicles. By the 1930s, electric cars had all but disappeared.

Figure 4 Model T produced by Ford Motor Company