EV Timeline


To build a timeline of electric vehicles to understand the timing of electrification disruption.

Early Findings

  • According to the US Energy Department, the first (primitive) electric vehicles were developed in the late 1820s. In 1898, they first debuted in the US.
  • These early electric cars were quite popular for the first two decades of the 20th century, especially as Thomas Edison worked to build better batteries.
  • The first hybrid car was made by Porsche in 1901.
  • However, when Ford introduced the Model T, electric vehicles began to decline. When gas prices rose astronomincally in the 1960s-70s, interested was renewed in electric vehicles and manufacturers began to build prototypes and small-scale releases of certain EVs.
  • This was also influenced by the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development, and Demonstration Act, which funded research on EVs.
  • In 1980, the cobalt-oxide cathode is invented. This is the main component for lithium-ion batteries, which enabled all sorts of consumer electronics (including EVs).
  • Interest waned again as gas price fell, but it was renewed again in the 1990s as new federal and state regulations on emissions incentivized their creation and adoption. For example, California passed the Zero Emissions Vehicles Mandate, requiring automakers to sell a certain number of ZEVs each year.
  • Toyota made the first modern mass-produced hybird, the Prius, in 2000.
  • The first major release of a modern electric car was Tesla in 2006.
  • Between 2009-2013, US infrastructure changed drastically to encourage the adoption of EVs. Over 18,000 new residential and commercial charge points were installed.
  • McKinsey predicts that, "total charging-energy demand for the EV vehicle population across China, Europe, and the United States could grow dramatically from 2020 to 2030, increasing from roughly 20 billion kilowatt-hours to about 280 billion kilowatt-hours."

Proposed next steps:

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