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A timeline of transportation from walking, to horse carriage, to diesel car, to electric car.

History of Electric Vehicles

February 23rd, 2023 | E-Mobility

Thomas Edison. Nikola Tesla. James Watt. Names intrinsically linked with electricity and the modern world. Noodoe focuses on electric vehicle innovations and how to support EV drivers and charging site providers. But today, we want to look back to see where EVs started and how far they have come.

Vehicles Powered by Electricity

If you were to guess the year the first electric-powered vehicle was created, is number 19 at the front? It may surprise you to learn EVs have been around since 1835! At first, there was a preference for electricity to power vehicle propulsion. The first mass-produced electric vehicles were used as public transportation solutions like rail cars and trams. But the potential was there and would soon expand.

The First Electric Car

While battery-powered vehicles were present through the 1800s, there are debates over the world’s first electric car. Several inventors in Europe had project breakthroughs around the same time. However, we do know who was first in the United States. The year was 1890, and William Morrison reached 14 miles per hour (23 km/h) with his battery-powered six-person carriage. The first EV craze began with his success with this electric carriage, and he later shortened the name to electric car.
noodoe blog - history of electric vehicles - electric cars - An electric carriage from 1895 with four men in top hats.
1895 Morrison-Sturgis electric carriage

Early Excitement

The early 20th Century was a significant turning point for technology. Personal transport no longer meant a temperamental horse. Instead, for people living in metropolitan areas, one could explore cities via electric-powered vehicles. They were a smooth ride, easy to recharge around the town, and didn’t smell like the new gasoline-powered cars on the market. They were also faster to start up, with no hand cranking necessary on cold mornings to start the engine.
noodoe blog - A black and white photo shows a thick power panel charger connected to a 1910s automobile.
Early EV Charger

The First Chargers

So where did these early electric vehicles charge up? Restoring the power wasn’t possible initially; the batteries were drained and replaced as needed. After rechargeable batteries were invented, public electric “stables” were available to drivers as many homes didn’t have electricity yet. New York City installed street charging stations called “Electrants.” They looked like a cross between modern AC chargers and telephone boxes. Plugging and charging were much more awkward than today; the bulky and inaccessible hardware has evolved considerably. But this was in the early 1900s; what happened next?

Trucking Along

The next few decades didn’t prioritize EV innovation or deployment. Highways connected people and communities across massive distances, which the early EV range could not cross. Following the invention of electric starters for diesel engines and the mass production of gas-powered vehicles, drivers no longer considered EVs for personal use. Despite this change, they did not go gently into the night. There were still some industries that needed EVs. For example, quiet electric milk floats (milk delivery trucks) provided European homes with morning milk without disturbing sleepers. The first vehicles to explore the moon were electric; the Lunar Rovers needed to be reliable and robust rather than speedy.

The EV Revival

Electric vehicles never disappeared, but it took a few decades before they became viable choices for modern driving standards. With the turn of the millennium came the worldwide release of the Toyota Prius, the first hybrid vehicle. Then, in 2006 the startup Tesla Motors announced a luxury electric sports car that could travel over 200 miles on a single battery charge. The Nissan LEAF followed in 2010 as the first all-electric commercial vehicle, and many automakers followed. The rest is future.


As the number of electric vehicles rises, charging networks must also be developed. Government investments to support EV infrastructure have only become a priority in recent years, otherwise leaving the responsibility to drivers and private companies.
Today charging networks provide businesses with extra revenue and increase customer interest, workplaces boost EV-driving employee satisfaction, and home stations guarantee overnight battery charging. Tax credits and incentive programs such as NEVI are just the beginning. 
DC60P Dual CCs - EV charger
Noodoe DC60P Charger

Reliable and accessible charging networks are crucial for a sustainable future, and Noodoe wants to provide the best charging experience. One hundred ninety-three countries committed to low-emission goals by 2030, and many auto manufacturers announced fully-electric productions within the next decade.

Further Reading


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