In collaboration with leading industry partners, AICA is taking the renewable energy revolution to the next level.
Electrical Vehicle Charging will lead to better quality air in all our cities and reduce the significant health costs incurred by our current petrol-based fleet. From a strategic point of view, this is vital for Australians to reduce their dependence on the world’s diminishing oil reserves.
Introduced more than 100 years ago, electric cars are seeing a rise in popularity today for many of the same reasons they were first popular.
Whether it’s a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric, the demand for electric drive vehicles will continue to climb as prices drop and consumers look for ways to save money at the pump. Currently more than 3 percent of new vehicle sales, electric vehicles sales could to grow to nearly 7 percent -- or 6.6 million per year -- worldwide by 2020, according to a report by Navigant Research.
Not an invention of modern times, the electric car has a long and storied history. Travel back in time as we explore the history of the electric car.
Horse and buggies are the primary mode of transportation, but innovators in Hungary, the Netherlands and the U.S. think to the future, creating some of the first small-scale electric cars.
Around 1832, Robert Anderson develops the first crude electric vehicle, but it isn't until the 1870s or later that electric cars become practical. Pictured here is an electric vehicle built by an English inventor in 1884.
William Morrison, from Des Moines, Iowa, creates the first successful electric vehicle in the U.S. His car is little more than an electrified wagon, but it sparks an interest in electric vehicles. This 1896 advertisement shows how many early electric vehicles were not much different than carriages.
Compared to the gas- and steam-powered automobiles at the time, electric cars are quiet, easy to drive and didn't emit smelly pollutants -- quickly becoming popular with urban residents, especially women.
By the turn of the century, electric vehicles are all the rage in the U.S., accounting for around a third of all vehicles on the road. Pictured here is Fifth Avenue in New York City around this time, showing the range in vehicle options available.
Many innovators take note of the electric car’s high demand, exploring ways to improve the technology. For example, Thomas Edison thought electric vehicles were the superior mode of transportation and worked to build a better battery.
Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the sports car by the same name, creates the Lohner-Porsche Mixte -- the world's first hybrid electric car. The vehicle is powered by electricity stored in a battery and a gas engine.
The mass-produced Model T makes gas-powered cars widely available and affordable. In 1912, the electric starter is introduced, helping to increase gas-powered vehicle sales even more. Pictured here is Henry Ford with the first Model T and the 1 millionth.
Better roads and discovery of cheap Texas crude oil help contribute to the decline in electric vehicles. By 1935, they have all but disappeared. Pictured here is one of the gasoline filling stations that popped up across the U.S., making gas readily available for rural Americans and leading to the rise in popularity of gas-powered vehicles.
Over the next 30 years or so, cheap, abundant gasoline and continued improvement in the internal combustion engine created little need for alternative fuel vehicles. But in the 1960s and 1970s, gas prices soar through the roof, creating interest in electric vehicles again.
Around this same time, the first manned vehicle drives on the moon. NASA's Lunar rover runs on electricity, helping to raise the profile of electric vehicles.
Many big and small automakers begin exploring options for alternative fuel vehicles. For example, General Motors develops a prototype for an urban electric car, which the company displayed at the First Symposium on Low Pollution Power Systems Development in 1973.
One successful electric car at this time is Sebring-Vanguard's CitiCar. The company produces more than 2,000 CitiCars -- a wedge-shaped compact car that had a range of 50-60 miles. Its popularity makes Sebring-Vanguard the sixth largest U.S. automaker by 1975.
Compared to gas-powered cars, electric vehicles at this time have drawbacks, including limited performance and range, causing interest in electric cars to fade again.
New federal and state regulations create a renewed interest in electric vehicles. The result: Automakers begin modifying popular vehicle models into electric vehicles, enabling them to achieve speeds and performance much closer to gasoline-powered vehicles.
GM releases the EV1, an electric vehicle that was designed and developed from the ground up. The EV1 quickly gains a cult following.
Toyota introduces the first mass-produced hybrid, the Prius. In 2000, Toyota releases the Prius worldwide, and it becomes an instant success with celebrities, increasing its (and the electric vehicle's) profile.
Behind the scenes, scientists and engineers work to improve electric vehicles and their batteries. Pictured here is a researcher at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Lab testing electric vehicle batteries.
Tesla Motors, a Silicon Valley startup, announces it will produce a luxury electric sports car with a range of 200+ miles. Other automakers take note, accelerating work on their own electric vehicles.
To help consumers charge their vehicles on the go, the Energy Department invests in a nation-wide charging infrastructure, installing 18,000 residential, commercial and public chargers. Including chargers installed by automakers and other private companies, today there are 8,000 public charging locations in the U.S.
GM releases the Chevy Volt, making it the first commercially available plug-in hybrid. The Volt uses battery technology developed by the Energy Department.
In December 2010, Nissan releases the LEAF, an all-electric, zero tailpipe emissions car. In January 2013, Nissan begins assembling the LEAF in Tennessee for the North American market thanks to a loan from the Energy Department.
The battery is the most expensive part in an electric vehicle. Thanks to investments by the Energy Department, battery costs drop by 50 percent in just four years, helping make electric vehicles more affordable for consumers.
Consumers now have a multitude of choices when buying an electric vehicle, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric. Today, there are currently 23 plug-in electric vehicle and 36 hybrid models available.
Electric vehicles hold a lot of potential for helping the U.S. create a more sustainable future. If the U.S. transitioned all the light-duty vehicles to hybrids or plug-in electric vehicles, we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 30-60 percent, while lowering the carbon pollution from the transportation sector by as much as 20 percent.