Nearly every major car manufacture produces an electric vehicle today.

Can you imagine a world where electric vehicles (EVs) dominate the roads? Too far-fetched? Just look at the late 1890s, when EVs were the car to have, outselling gasoline cars 10 to one! EVs were so popular that the first car dealerships were exclusively for electric cars.

Starting in 1910, Fordism and motorized assembly lines allowed gasoline fueled vehicles to be mass produced and take over the automotive industry. By the end of World War I, production of EVs stopped and soon became a rare commodity.

Riker Electric First EV

Thomas Parker built the first practical production EV in London in 1884.

Prompted by concerns of air pollution and the OPEC oil embargo, EVs regained popularity in the late 1960s. As the 1990s approached, along with California’s landmark Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate, a few major automakers resumed EV production in limited quantities. As the ZEV mandate weakened, automakers abandon EVs once again.


The AMC Amitron (left) and GM EV1 (right) were the hot EVs of the 1960s and 1990s, respectively.

Recently, EVs have started their comeback with new, modern and efficient designs. Concerns for the environment, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution have prompted individuals to go green. Big automakers such as Toyota, Ford, GM, and newcomer, Telsa, all offer EVs aiming to please customers as well as decrease the negative environmental impacts caused by gasoline fueled cars and motorcycles.


Today's Tesla (left) and Nissan Leaf (right) were in the top-three selling EVs for 2014.


Will EVs ever rule the road as they did 100 years ago or are their glory days behind them?

Electric Vehicle History. Retrieved from
Electric Auto Association