Explore the Fascinating History of Electric Vehicles, From Their Early Experiments to the Modern Sustainable Transport Revolution

Remarkably, electric vehicles aren’t a recent innovation; they have a century-long history and are still evolving today. The history of electric cars is a fascinating journey marked by a series of breakthroughs in the 1800s. Although the invention can't be attributed to one inventor or country, significant progress occurred during this era.

Inventors in the Netherlands, Hungary, the UK, and the US had been collaborating on merging technology for motorised vehicles in the 1830’s. At an industry event in 1835, British Inventor Robert Anderson unveiled what’s believed to be the first electric vehicle. His car’s wheels were powered by a disposable battery fuelled by crude oil. In the same period, Dutch professor Sibrandus Stratingh and Hungarian scientist Nyos Jedlik also pursued electric mobility.

So, what was the electric vehicle and what did it look like? In the United States, chemist William Morrison of Des Moines, Iowa, introduced the first "practical" American electric vehicle. Morrison's innovation involved adapting a conventional 19th-century horse-drawn Surrey carriage to accommodate a battery. This electric carriage could carry up to 12 passengers and reach speeds of up to 32 km/h (20 mph) and this is what it looked like: