Electric cars were once the favorite of society. It’s a shame that he then seemed lost to the times. What is the development of a car that uses this electric energy source?
Electric Car Dynamics
In general, existing cars use gasoline and other fossil fuels as a power source. But actually, long before that, electric cars had appeared first.
An electric car is a car that is driven by an electric motor, using electrical energy stored in batteries or other energy storage places.
Electric cars had their heyday in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but then their popularity waned due to advances in internal combustion engine technology and lower prices for gasoline-fueled vehicles.
But then, the energy crisis that hit the world in the 1970s and 1980s had sparked little interest in electric cars, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that new vehicle manufacturers paid serious attention to electric vehicles.
This is because oil prices soared in the 2000s and many people in the world are already aware of the bad impact of greenhouse gas emissions.
As of November 2011, the electric car models available and sold in the markets of several countries are Tesla Roadster, Nissan Leaf, Smart ED, Wheego Whip LiFe, electric Mia, REVAi, Renault Fluence ZE, Buddy, Mitsubishi I MiEV, Tazzari Zero, and BYD e6. The Nissan Leaf, with sales of over 20,000 units worldwide (as of November 2011), and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, with global sales of over 17,000 units (as of October 2011), are the world’s two best-selling electric cars.
Actually, electric cars have several potential advantages when compared to ordinary internal combustion engine cars. The main thing is that electric cars do not produce motor vehicle emissions. In addition, this type of car also reduces greenhouse gas emissions because it does not require fossil fuels as the main driver.
In the end, dependence on oil from abroad is reduced, because, for some developed countries such as the United States and many European countries, rising oil prices can hit their economies.
For developing countries, high oil prices weigh even more on their balance of payments, hampering their economic growth.
Although basically electric cars have several potential advantages as mentioned above, the widespread use of electric cars has many obstacles and drawbacks.
The facts prove that until 2011, the price of electric cars was still much more expensive when compared to ordinary internal combustion engine cars and hybrid electric vehicles due to the expensive price of lithium-ion batteries.
Even so, currently, battery prices are starting to fall because they are starting to be produced in large quantities. Another factor that hinders the growth of the use of electric cars is the lack of charging stations for electric cars, plus the fear of motorists that the car’s battery will run out before they reach their destination.
Several governments in several countries around the world have issued several incentives and regulations to tackle this problem, with the aim of increasing sales of electric cars, to finance the development of electric car technology so that the price of batteries and car components can be more efficient.
History of Electric Cars
History proves electric cars were popular in the mid-19th century and early 20th century when electricity was still chosen as the main driving force in vehicles. This is because electric cars offer convenience and easy operation that cannot be achieved by gasoline-powered vehicles at that time.
In the 18th century, many scientists or innovators from Europe and America began to focus on the concept of battery-powered vehicles and created several small-scale electric cars.
The development of increasingly advanced internal combustion technology, especially in electric starters, has gradually reduced the popularity of electric cars.
Coupled with the ability of gasoline cars to cover longer distances, faster filling of gas, and a growing filling infrastructure, coupled with the mass production system implemented by the Ford Motor Company, the price of gasoline cars fell drastically to half the price of electric cars.
The electric car became more and more submerged and completely disappeared from the market, especially in fat markets like the United States, in the 1930s.
However, in recent years, more and more people are becoming aware of the environmental impact of gasoline-powered cars.
Plus the price of gasoline is expensive and continues to rise, making electric cars back in demand.
Electric cars are much more environmentally friendly than gasoline cars, maintenance costs are cheaper, plus battery technology is increasingly advanced.
The drawback is that the price of electric cars is still expensive. Electric cars are now starting to gain popularity again in several countries of the world after a long absence from civilization.
The 1890s to 1900s: The beginning of history
An important point in the history of electric cars was in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The first modern car was made by Karl Benz in 1885, but decades earlier the concept of electric cars had started to exist.
Before the time of the internal combustion engine, electric cars had held many speed and distance records.
Among these records, one of the most famous is the record-breaking 100 km/h (62 mph) speed record by Camille Jenatzy on April 29, 1899.
Jenatzy uses his vehicle in the form of a Jamais Content rocket, with a maximum speed of 105.88 km/h (65.79 mph). Prior to the 1920s, electric cars competed fiercely with gasoline-fueled cars.
History and Development of Electric Cars in the United States
Talking about the history of electric cars must also mention the United States. In that country, the development of electric cars really experienced its peak. Started in 1896 to address the problem of poor charging infrastructure, a battery replacement service was started by the Hartford Electric Light Company for electric trucks.
Vehicle owners purchase their vehicles from the General Electric Company (GEC) without batteries and purchase their batteries at Hartford Electric with a replaceable battery system.
The vehicle owner will be charged a monthly service fee and a per-mile trip fee for the maintenance costs of his truck.
This service was available from 1910 to 1924 and covered a total distance of about 6 million miles. In 1917, a company in Chicago ran a similar service for owners of Milburn Light Electric cars who also purchased their vehicles without the batteries.
In 1897, electric cars began to be used as commercial vehicles in the United States as New York City’s electric taxi fleet, these taxis were made by the Electric Carriage and the Philadelphia Wagon Company.
Electric cars in the United States were produced by Anthony Electric, Baker, Columbia, Anderson, Fritchle, Studebaker, Riker, Milburn, and several other companies in the early 20th century.
Despite their low speed, electric cars had many advantages over their competitors in the early 1900s.
Electric cars do not cause vibrations, electric cars also do not emit smelly exhaust gases, and are not noisy when compared to gasoline cars.
In addition, electric cars do not require gear shifting, which in gasoline cars is a big obstacle in driving them.
Electric cars at that time were also used by rich people who used them as city cars, so distance limitations were not a big obstacle.
Another plus, electric cars also don’t require a lot of effort to turn on, unlike gasoline cars which require a hand lever to start the car.
Electric cars at that time were considered suitable cars for female drivers because of the ease of operation.
In 1911, the New York Times declared that the electric car was the “ideal” vehicle because it was cleaner, quieter, and more economical than gasoline cars.
The 1990s to present: Getting Popular
One of the leading inventors who took part in the development of electric cars was Thomas Alva Edison.
He even teamed up with Henry Ford to develop a low-cost electric car in 1914.
However, Henry’s T model car made electric cars less ogled. This is one of the most iconic episodes in the history of electric cars.
The Model T car that was fueled by gasoline was widely produced and had an affordable price at that time.
In 1912, the price of a gasoline-powered car was 650 dollars while an electric car was selling for around 1,750 dollars.
Gasoline-fueled cars are increasingly in demand when in the same year Charles Kettering introduced electric starters to gasoline-fueled vehicles.
The rapid increase in gasoline-powered cars and the construction of highways connecting various states in America and the discovery of crude oil in Texas made electric vehicles finally stop being developed in 1935.
Over the next decades, the abundance of gasoline and the increasing technology of the internal combustion system in vehicles have made electric vehicle technology enter a dark era.
Electric cars began to be glimpsed again in 1973. Along with car manufacturers who began to develop alternative fuel vehicles such as electric cars.
For example, General Motors made a prototype of an electric car which was then exhibited at the Environmental Symposium.
The American Motor Company then produced electric jeeps used by the United States post office in 1975.
NASA itself developed an electric vehicle that they used to cruise on the moon in 1971.
A few years later, in 1988, General Motors led by Roger Smith began building electric cars in collaboration with AeroVironment California.
The result is an electric car called the EV1 but its production only started in 1996 to 1999.
In 1997, a Japanese car manufacturer, Toyota introduced the Toyota Prius, which was called a mass-produced hybrid car and sold up to 18,000 vehicles.
In that same year, many major car manufacturers issued electric cars but they were not released to the market.
The energy crisis of the 1970s and 1980s brought back public interest in electric cars.
In the early 1990s, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) began pressuring auto manufacturers to start building fuel-efficient, low-emission cars, with the ultimate goal of producing zero-emission vehicles such as electric vehicles.
In response, several manufacturers are trying to make their own electric cars, such as the Chrysler TEVan, Ford Ranger EV pickup truck, GM EV1, S10 EV pickup, Honda EV Plus hatchback, Altra EV miniwagon, and Toyota RAV4 EV. These cars were eventually withdrawn from circulation in the United States market.
The global economic recession at the end of the 2000s forced many of the world’s automakers to abandon big and extravagant SUVs and switch to smaller cars, hybrids, and electric cars.
In 2003, General Motors made a statement that it would no longer produce the EV1 electric car. But a few years later, Tesla Motor under the leadership of Elon Musk introduced an electric sports car with the name Tesla Roadster at the International Auto Show exhibition in November in San Francisco with prices starting at $98,950.
Since then, countries in the world have started to support the use of environmentally-friendly electric cars and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
For example, Israel began to provide electric charging stations for electric cars on the streets of Tel Aviv, following the United States.
In the following year, 2009, the United States Department of Energy provided loans worth 8 billion dollars to Ford, Nissan, and Tesla Motors for the development of environmentally-friendly vehicles.
Nissan then introduced its electric car called the LEAF which is capable of running up to 114 km/h. In that year, there were many electric cars on the market.
Electric cars then began to experience rapid development following the rapid increase in technology and government support from countries in the world for environmentally friendly cars.
California-based automotive company Tesla Motors began the development of the Tesla Roadster in 2004 and then launched it to the public in 2008. As of January 2011, Tesla has sold 1,500 Roadsters in 31 countries.
The Mitsubishi I MiEV was launched for fleet use in Japan in July 2009 and went on sale to individuals in April 2010. The I-Miev went on sale in Hong Kong in May 2010, and Australia from July 2010.
Sales of the Nissan Leaf in Japan and the United States began in December 2010, although initially, it was only available in a limited number of regions.
As of September 2011, the electric cars sold in the market were REVAi, Buddy, Citroën C1 evil, Transit Connect Electric, Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell, Smart ED, and Wheego Whip LiFe.
At present, the most important target of electric vehicles is to overcome the problems in their development, production, and operation which are high when compared to similar internal combustion engine cars.
The United States government has provided a US$2.4 billion grant for the development of electric cars and batteries.
The PRC government announced that it would provide US$15 billion to start the electric car industry in the communist country.
In addition, several local and national governments in many countries have issued tax credits, subsidies, and many other incentives to reduce the price of electric cars and plug-in cars.
In Indonesia alone, on April 1, 2012, the government disbursed 100 billion rupiahs for electric car research. Then on June 10, 2013, the government affirmed that electric vehicles are tax-free.
And then on June 12, 2013, Zbee from Sweden officially opened an electric vehicle factory under the name PT Lundin Industry, which is located in Banyuwangi City, East Java, with a production target of at least 100,000 units per year.
Electric Cars In Indonesia
Then what about the development of electric cars in Indonesia. In Indonesia itself, the development of electric cars has been started in 2012 since the era of the SBY administration.
At that time, the development was initiated by the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, Dahlan Iskan, who was known to like fresh breakthroughs.
Dahlan Iskan then asked Ricky Elson, a young Indonesian who is an expert in the field of electric motors, to develop an electric car made in Indonesia.
His work resulted in an electric car called the Selo which was exhibited at the APEC Summit in Bali in 2013. Besides the Selo, the Tucuxi car was also successfully made.
Ricky Elson’s hard work has made him considered a National Electric Car Pioneer. This is the beginning of the revival of the development of electric cars in Indonesia.
But then this development noticeably slowed down. Not long after that, the development of electric cars in Indonesia experienced problems and was stopped because they were accused of harming the state.
Now under President Joko Widodo, the development of electric cars has begun to be encouraged again. We really hope that Indonesia will not only be a spectator.
In the ASEAN region, Malaysia has started to focus on this. Indonesia with abundant human resources should be able to play a significant role.
Hopefully, in the future, Indonesian children will be able to talk more about the development of this environmentally friendly car.
Hopefully, by reading this we can all better understand the development and history of electric cars from time to time.