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Timeline: History of the Electric Car1832-1839
Scottish inventor Robert Anderson invents the first crude electric carriage powered by non-rechargeable primary cells.
American Thomas Davenport is credited with building the first practical electric vehicle -- a small locomotive.
French physicist Gaston Planté invents the rechargeable lead-acid storage battery. In 1881, his countryman Camille Faure will improve the storage battery's ability to supply current and invent the basic lead-acid battery used in automobiles.
William Morrison of Des Moines, Iowa builds the first successful electric automobile in the United States.
A handful of different makes and models of electric cars are exhibited in Chicago.
The first electric taxis hit the streets of New York City early in the year. The Pope Manufacturing Company of Connecticut becomes the first large-scale American electric automobile manufacturer.
Believing that electricity will run autos in the future, Thomas Alva Edison begins his mission to create a long-lasting, powerful battery for commercial automobiles. Though his research yields some improvements to the alkaline battery, he ultimately abandons his quest a decade later.
The electric automobile is in its heyday. Of the 4,192 cars produced in the United States 28 percent are powered by electricity, and electric autos represent about one-third of all cars found on the roads of New York City, Boston, and Chicago.
Henry Ford introduces the mass-produced and gasoline-powered Model T, which will have a profound effect on the U.S. automobile market.
Charles Kettering invents the first practical electric automobile starter. Kettering's invention makes gasoline-powered autos more alluring to consumers by eliminating the unwieldy hand crank starter and ultimately helps pave the way for the electric car's demise.
During the 1920s the electric car ceases to be a viable commercial product. The electric car's downfall is attributable to a number of factors, including the desire for longer distance vehicles, their lack of horsepower, and the ready availability of gasoline.
Congress introduces the earliest bills recommending use of electric vehicles as a means of reducing air pollution. A Gallup poll indicates that 33 million Americans are interested in electric vehicles.
Concerns about the soaring price of oil -- peaking with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 -- and a growing environmental movement result in renewed interests in electric cars from both consumers and producers.
Victor Wouk, the "Godfather of the Hybrid," builds the first full-powered, full-size hybrid vehicle out of a 1972 Buick Skylark provided by General Motors (G.M.) for the 1970 Federal Clean Car Incentive Program. The Environmental Protection Association later kills the program in 1976.
Vanguard-Sebring's CitiCar makes its debut at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Washington, D.C. The CitiCar has a top speed of over 30 mph and a reliable warm-weather range of 40 miles. By 1975 the company is the sixth largest automaker in the U.S. but is dissolved only a few years later.
The U.S. Postal Service purchases 350 electric delivery jeeps from AM General, a division of AMC, to be used in a test program.
Congress passes the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development, and Demonstration Act. The law is intended to spur the development of new technologies including improved batteries, motors, and other hybrid-electric components.
Roger Smith, CEO of G.M. , agrees to fund research efforts to build a practical consumer electric car. G.M. teams up with California's AeroVironment to design what would become the EV1, which one employee called "the world's most efficient production vehicle." Some electric vehicle enthusiasts have speculated that the EV1 was never undertaken as a serious commercial venture by the large automaker.
California passes its Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate, which requires two percent of the state's vehicles to have no emissions by 1998 and 10 percent by 2003. The law is repeatedly weakened over the next decade to reduce the number of pure ZEVs it requires.
Toyota unveils the Prius -- the world's first commercially mass-produced and marketed hybrid car -- in Japan. Nearly 18,000 units are sold during the first production year.
1997 - 2000
A few thousand all-electric cars (such as Honda's EV Plus, G.M.'s EV1, Ford's Ranger pickup EV, Nissan's Altra EV, Chevy's S-10 EV, and Toyota's RAV4 EV) are produced by big car manufacturers, but most of them are available for lease only. All of the major automakers' advanced all-electric production programs will be discontinued by the early 2000s.
G.M. and DaimlerChrysler sue the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to repeal the ZEV mandate first passed in 1990. The Bush Administration joins that suit.
G.M. announces that it will not renew leases on its EV1 cars saying it can no longer supply parts to repair the vehicles and that it plans to reclaim the cars by the end of 2004.
On February 16, electric vehicle enthusiasts begin a "Don't Crush" vigil to stop G.M. from demolishing 78 impounded EV1s in Burbank, California. The vigil ends twenty-eight days later when G.M. removes the cars from the facility. In the film "Who Killed the Electric Car" G.M. spokesman Dave Barthmuss states that the EV1s are to be recycled, not just crushed.
Tesla Motors publicly unveils the ultra-sporty Tesla Roadster at the San Francisco International Auto Show in November. The first production Roadsters will be sold in 2008 with a base price listing of $98,950.
Gas prices reach record highs of more than $4 a gallon and car sales drop to their lowest levels in a decade. American automakers begin to shift their production lines away from SUVs and other large vehicles toward smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.
On the campaign trail, presidential candidate Barack Obama says he will push to have one million plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on America's roads by 2015.
Struggling to remain profitable during the economic downturn, executives from the Big Three American automakers go to Washington to make the case for a $25 billion Federal bailout of the U.S. automotive industry.
BYD, a Chinese battery manufacturer turned automaker, releases the F3DM, the world's first mass produced plug-in hybrid compact sedan. Though they pack less energy than more conventional lithium ion batteries, BYD opts to power the F3DM with a more stable lithium iron phosphate battery. BYD plans to release the F3DM in the U.S. in 2011, but some industry insiders have doubts about whether the car is ready for the U.S. market. Though sales of the car remain sluggish, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway purchases a 10% stake in the company.
The National Bureau of Economic Research states officially that the U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007. The economic downturn is global in scope and will continue to exert financial pressures on the already battered U.S. auto industry.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allocates $2 billion for development of electric vehicle batteries and related technologies. The Department of Energy adds another $400 million to fund building the infrastructure necessary to support plug-in electric vehicles.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown announces that the British government will promote the use of electric vehicles in the U.K. by offering a £2,000 subsidy to purchasers. A high-ranking government official estimates that 40% of all cars in Britain will need to be electric or hybrid for the country to reach it's goal of cutting 80% of its CO2 emissions by 2050.
Chrysler files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. As part of its restructuring, Chrysler forms a partnership with the Italian car maker Fiat.
President Obama announces a new gas-mileage policy that will require automakers to meet a minimum fuel-efficiency standard of 35.5 miles a gallon by 2016.
General Motors, the leading producer of automobiles for most of the 20th Century, files for bankruptcy protection. While strong GM brands such as Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC are slated to continue, smaller names like Saturn, Hummer and Pontiac will be sold or closed. The federal government will hold a 61 percent stake in the reborn General Motors.
Nissan unveils its new electric car, called the LEAF ("Leading, Environmentally Friendly, Affordable, Family Car"). The LEAF is capable of a maximum speed of more than 90 mph, can travel 100 miles on a full charge, and has a battery that can be recharged to 80% of its capacity in 30 minutes. Similar to the Better Place initiative in Israel, Nissan plans to work with the Japanese government and private companies to set up charging station networks across several countries. The first production LEAFs are scheduled to go on sale in Japan, Europe, and the U.S. in the fall of 2010.
Though a few electric cars and plug-in hybrids are currently available on the market, several new models including the Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Volt, and Mitsubishi i MiEV are scheduled to hit the streets in the near future. Toyota, creator of the popular Prius hybrid, has thus far declined to deliver a fully electric car.
Despite promising signs, the electric car will need to navigate a bumpy road before it can become a viable option for many drivers. Challenges to mass adoption include high sticker prices, limited battery life and travel range, and building charging stations and other infrastructure to support electric vehicles.
Sources:Hybridcars.com: History, Electric Auto Association: Electric Vehicle History, IEEE Power Engineering Society: "Electric Vehicles In The Early Years Of The Automobile" by Carl Sulzberger, About.com: The History of Electric Vehicles, Econogics: EV History, Smithsonian Institution: Edison After Forty, Who Killed the Electric Car?
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Watch two movies and make a research paper | Assignment Writing Service
Here is a sample of a custom research paper on two movies. It deals specifically with an electric car an if the electric car is coming back. We at Assignment Writing Service offer all type of custom writing services for your help. Professional writers, cheap prices and confidentiality guarantee.
In the 90s, California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed the landmark the Zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate that required car companies to offer electric vehicles to their customers. The companies complied with the order and created more than 5000 electric vehicles. However, the same companies destroyed the cars or donated them to universities for research or display in museums after a decade or so citing lack of market demand. According to the documentary, “who killed the electric car,” the death of the electric car was due to sabotage. The parties involved colluded due to a combination of factors worked in their favor hence crossed ranks to kill the product. They used suits, adverts, lobbying, and similar strategies. Despite what happened, two decades down, electric cars are once again attracting attention and might replace gasoline cars within a decade from now or so.
Who killed the electric car?
The first class of people who were responsible for the death of the electric car is the consumers. In California, the demand for the electric car in the 90s did not seem to exist. The price of fuel was at an all-time low, and most users loved their sports utility vehicles for its luxury and comfort. It was not possible at that time for users to think about the merits of an electric car. Besides, the idea of global warming or pollution was still new. The first climate agreements were signed during that time, and it was against a background of general skepticism. Climate change science appeared shaky then. That skepticism is still evident today, especially among the Republicans. Therefore, selling an electric car on the basis that pollutes less did not make sense. Also, the range problem of electric vehicles was a major issue compared to the gasoline car that gives users the freedom to roam. According to the dealers and people involved in the production and selling of the cars, the demand was not therefore for reasons explained above. However, customers themselves say in the documentary that they were not aware of electric vehicles, suggesting that the industry as a whole did not market the cars in an attempt to undermine the entire project.
The movie talks of the battery. The issue of the battery is a serious problem and is the main bottleneck in the production, and adoption after manufacture of electric, cars. In the 90s, the batteries used were rudimentary in technical sophistication as they were the regular lead acid battery with a range of only 60 miles. The second generation of electric cars produced toward the end of the decade was using nickel-metal or even lithium batteries, which are more powerful with a range of more than 100 miles per charge. However, according to the film, the newly improved batteries did not get the attention they deserved as part of a plan to kill electric cars. According to one engineer, Alan Cocconi, working with lithium ion batteries could have increased the range of electric vehicles to more than 300 miles per charge, making them a superior alternative to the traditional gasoline cars.
Oil companies engaged in cynical marketing of the electric vehicles. Their goal was to kill the car, as it was a threat to their business. These companies used its associations that posed as consumer-based to undermine electric cars via advertising and other forms of subterfuge. Mobil is one of the firms that placed adverts to incite people against electric vehicles. Chevron also bought controlling stakes in one of the companies innovating to produce superior batteries for electric cars. The move killed further innovation in the production of car batteries that would cover perhaps more than a thousand mile per charge. Also, the movie makes reference to the activities of oil companies that kept oil prices low to kill any incentive towards the adoption of electric cars. Such manipulation appeared to have worked because in the 90s people were buying fuel-guzzling sports utility cars as they could afford with the prices of gasoline at an all-time low. Electric cars started to gain attention more than a decade later when oil prices skyrocketed, making it expensive to maintain large vehicles. Smaller and fuel-efficient cars are preferred rather than the large and inefficient vehicles.
Car companies, such as the GM, for instance, ran commercials that highlighted the drawbacks of electric autos with the intention of killing any interest in the cars. The companies also sponsored surveys that showed that the demand for electric cars did not exist. According to the CARB, it removed the mandate based on the strength of such studies, which were apparently misleading.
Electric cars are coming back
After vested interests killed the electric cars in the 90s in the United States, the situation is changing, and electric cars are coming back in a major way. The rebound is mainly due to the economics of the gasoline versus the electric car. The gasoline car has hundreds of moving parts, making maintenance a headache. The electric car, in contrast, has around 20 moving parts, and so maintenance is simple. Tesla gives its buyers an unlimited warranty. If the car malfunctions, Tesla fixes the car free. Gasoline cars require constant maintenance, and automobile companies make trillions in profit via servicing and selling spare parts. Therefore, from the perspective of these companies, gas cars are the better deal.
Another benefit of electric cars is the cost of gas. Before 2014, the price of gas was very high. Consequently, many families in the United States discarded their fuel guzzling cars in preference for fuel-efficient ones. Even now, there is a clear demand for cars such as the electric car that is easier and cheaper to maintain.
The battery technology is improving. Tesla uses lithium-ion batteries, and its cars have a range of more than 300 miles. New developments emerging are making the batteries better. Soon, cars will be able to travel for more than 1000 miles on a single charge.
All the leading carmakers are also developing their electric cars, and soon an electric car will be as cheaper as the ordinary gasoline cars. The charging stations are increasing, and they are free in the majority of cases.
The only disadvantage of an electric car is the range and cost, but with the innovations taking place around battery issue, range anxiety when driving an electric car will end. The best electric car, perhaps, is Nissan Leaf because it is significantly cheaper than Tesla models. Mass adoption of electric cars will occur only with such models.
Electric cars are now in vogue once more after they were killed in the 90s. With global warming driven by the use of fossil fuel such as gasoline with powers conventional cars, there is a powerful incentive to shift to electric cars. Moreover, customers are looking for cost-effective options to the gas car, and the electric car is the perfect alternative.