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10

A Brief History of the Electric Vehicle

Electric vehicles first appeared in the mid-19th century. An electric vehicle held the vehicular land speed record until around 1900. The high cost, low top speed, and short-range of battery electric vehicles, compared to 20th century internal combustion engine vehicles, led to a worldwide decline in their use as private motor vehicles until a resurgence of research and investment in the 21st century

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The First

What is likely the first human-carrying electric vehicle with its own power source was tested along a Paris street in April 1881 by French inventor Gustave Trouvé. In 1880 Trouvé improved the efficiency of a small electric motor developed by Siemens (from a design purchased from Johann Kravogl in 1867) and using the recently developed rechargeable battery, fitted it to an English James Starley tricycle, so inventing the world's first electric vehicle.

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1920s-1950s

After enjoying success at the beginning of the 20th century, the electric car began to lose its position in the automobile market. By the 1920s an improved road infrastructure improved travel times, creating a need for vehicles with a greater range than that offered by electric cars. Worldwide discoveries of large petroleum reserves led to the wide availability of affordable petrol, making petrol-powered cars cheaper to operate over long distances.

Most electric car makers stopped production at some point in the 1910s. Electric vehicles became popular for certain applications where their limited range did not pose major problems. Forklift trucks were electrically powered when they were introduced by Yale in 1923. In Europe, especially the UK, milk floats were powered by electricity, and for most of the 20th century the majority of the world's battery electric road vehicles were British milk floats.

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The Future is Electric

Our experts at WMG look at the benefits of Electric Vehicles, whilst considering the challenges for industry and science, and predicting what the future of transport will look like.

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1965

In the mid 1960s a few battery-electric concept cars appeared, such as the Scottish Aviation Scamp.

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MOSFET

The emergence of metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) technology led to the development of modern electric road vehicles. The MOSFET (MOS field-effect transistor, or MOS transistor), invented by Mohamed M. Atalla and Dawon Kahng at Bell Labs in 1959, led to the development of the power MOSFET by Hitachi in 1969. The power MOSFET and the microcontroller, a type of single-chip microprocessor, led to significant advances in electric vehicle technology. MOSFET power converters allowed operation at much higher switching frequencies, made it easier to drive, reduced power losses, and significantly reduced prices, while single-chip microcontrollers could manage all aspects of the drive control and had the capacity for battery management.

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Over the Moon with Electric Vehicles

1971 : The first manned vehicle drives on the moon. NASA's Lunar rover runs on electricity, helping to raise the profile of electric vehicles.

The Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) was a battery-powered four-wheeled rover used on the Moon during the last three missions of the American Apollo program (15, 16, and 17) during 1971 and 1972. The LRV could carry one or two astronauts, their equipment, and lunar samples.

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Battery Materials and Sustainability

Our experts at WMG look at the benefits of Electric Vehicles, whilst considering the challenges for industry and science, and predicting what the future of transport will look like.

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Li-ion

Another important technology that enabled modern highway-capable electric cars is the lithium-ion battery. It was invented by John Goodenough, Rachid Yazami and Akira Yoshino in the 1980s, and commercialized by Sony and Asahi Kasei in 1991. The lithium-ion battery was responsible for the development of electric vehicles capable of long-distance travel.

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The Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf, introduced in Japan and the United States in December 2010, became the first modern all-electric, zero tailpipe emission five door family hatchback to be produced for the mass market from a major manufacturer. As of January 2013, the Leaf is also available in Australia, Canada and 17 European countries.

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Tesla

California electric car maker Tesla Motors began development in 2004 on the Tesla Roadster, which was first delivered to customers in 2008. The Roadster was the first serial production all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells, and the first production all-electric car to travel more than 320 km (200 miles) per charge.

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Powering Electric Vehicles

Our experts at WMG look at the benefits of Electric Vehicles, whilst considering the challenges for industry and science, and predicting what the future of transport will look like.

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Go Norway!

In September 2018, the Norwegian market share of all-electric cars reached 45.3% and plug-in hybrids 14.9%, for a combined market share of the plug-in car segment of 60.2% of new car registrations that month, becoming the world's highest-ever monthly market share for the plug-in electric passenger segment in Norway and in any country. Accounting for conventional hybrids, the electrified segment achieved an all-time record 71.5% market share in September 2018. In October 2018, Norway became the first country where 1 in every 10 passenger cars registered is a plug-in electric vehicle. Norway ended 2018 with plug-in market share of 49.1%, meaning that every second new passenger car sold in the country in 2018 was a plug-in electric. The market share for the all-electric segment was 31.2% in 2018.

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