Where did it all start for Electric cars?
Electric cars are a hot topic right now since the Government announced that the sale of cars powered only by petrol or diesel would end in 2030. But if you thought that EVs were a recent phenomenon, you might be surprised to learn their history dates back to the nineteenth century.
It was the early part of the 1800s that saw the development of rechargeable lead-acid batteries, and by 1884 Englishman, Thomas Parker, was driving around Wolverhampton in the first production electric car. Porsche’s first vehicle was electrified, too – the Lohner-Porsche appeared around 1900 – and in 1899 Camille Jenatzy and his ‘La Jamais Contente’ became the first road vehicle to exceed 62mph. And around the same time you could even hail an electric taxi cab in London.
But let’s fast forward a few decades, because from the 1970’s to the 1990’s a number of car makers began experimenting with their own electric cars. They never really took off, though, mainly thanks to the limitations in performance and range but in 1996 General Motors launched its EV1. Claimed to be the first mass-produced electric car it was leased to a number of drivers in the US although most examples were crushed amidst claims that oil companies didn’t like this new technology stealing their business.
Just a year later most people’s first taste of electric motoring came in the form of the Toyota Prius, albeit in petrol/electric hybrid form, but in 2010 it was Nissan’s turn to begin something of a revolution. The LEAF would become the world’s best-selling pure electric car, and in the decade since it was launched the popularity of the EV has grown in a way that few could have imagined. And there’s Tesla, of course, the brainchild of Elon Musk and making cars that demonstrate that buyers can enjoy stunning performance as well as efficiency.
And then there’s classic cars. Loved by their owners, it’s now possible to have all the style and character of a classic only one powered by batteries rather than an engine. That’s what we set out to achieve with the RBW Electric Roadster. We’ve attracted interest from across the world and hope to encourage many more enthusiasts to make the leap from internal combustion to electric power.
And not only is the RBW Roadster truly desirable but it also boasts an important point of difference compared to other classics that have been electrified. While the majority of those have been conversions of conventionally-powered vehicles, RBW’s car is fully designed and developed from the ground-up, so it is a pioneer in the field and the safest option in electric classic cars.
Let’s not forget the world of motorsport, either. Who would have imagined that the Formula E electric racing series launched in 2014 would become such a success, attracting the world’s best drivers and car makers? In fact, championship-winning cars have been engineered by Zytek Automotive, a part of Continental Engineering Services, who worked with RBW on the development of their classic EV.
So that’s some of the past, but let’s return to today. There’s never been a wider choice, with more models being announced almost every week, and no matter what sort of car you need, there’ll be one to suit your needs.
With cars powered solely by internal combustion coming to an end in 2030 the UK can look forward to a huge investment in EV engineering and infrastructure. Whether you want a modern car or one reflecting the very best of British classic motoring, the future looks very exciting indeed…
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