Appeal of electric vehicles gaining momentum

September 30th, 2019 by Allie Bennett, Marketing and Communications Manager

The appeal of electric vehicles (EVs) is gaining momentum. The push for greater mileage in terms of miles per gallon (MPG) that began in the second half of the last century has been joined by the push for greater miles per charge. But before getting too far into this transportation evolution, a quick history lesson about EVs is in order.

The first known electric car was developed in 1837 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Early variants were powered by galvanic cells rather than rechargeable batteries. The lead-acid battery was invented in France in 1859 with further French development leading to manufacturing of these batteries on an industrial scale in the early 1880s. This allowed a rechargeable battery to be installed on the vehicle.

Soon manufacturers were selling a wide array of EVs ranging from trams to trolleys, to cars, and even locomotives. Interest in electric cars blossomed in the late 1890s and early 1900s. As roads improved and became more extensive, demand for greater range emerged. A variety of solutions were put forth including the first battery exchanges by an electric utility in Connecticut in 1910 and the first hybrid automobile in 1911. It would not be long until America led the world in number of EVs on the roads.

But the rapid expansion of the country and the limitation of electricity to major cities and towns spelled the end of the electric car. The world wanted to be mobile and EVs simply did not have the range required. Enter Henry Ford and the mass-produced, affordable internal combustion engine, and the EV’s fate was sealed.

Fast forward to modern times and EVs are dominating the automotive news. Thanks to the electric cooperative movement, electricity is available everywhere in the U.S., the majority of roads are paved and environmental concerns are increasing awareness.

While many drawbacks of EVs are gone, there is still a major concern limiting EV growth dubbed “range anxiety.” This stems from the perceived limited range of all EVs. While many manufacturer’s are offering over 350 miles on their standard models, that pales in comparison to most internal combustion cars. And, the lack of a rapid charging infrastructure is an ongoing impediment. Just like their 20th century predecessors, pure EVs are currently great “city cars.”

Fortunately, advances in battery technology are hammering away at the range issue. Range is steadily expanding and battery management systems are squeezing out more miles. At the same time, more companies and utilities are installing efficient charging stations at their places of business and in popular public locations, even in rural America.

Range anxiety notwithstanding, EVs have a bright future. Prices are dropping and range is expanding so owners can confidently drive nearly everywhere with a little bit of planning. Further, if you have never driven an electric vehicle, you are in for a treat. While an internal combustion engine must rev up to speed, an EV has full power at its disposal instantly. Of course, there are limits on this 0-60 mph capability to prevent inexperienced and over-eager drivers from launching themselves into accidents and speeding tickets. They are quiet, well-appointed inside and allow you to forever bypass the lines at the gas station––unless you are in need of some snacks and a slushy.

On a final note, Macon Electric Cooperative strives to be at the forefront of bringing this technology to our rural areas. MEC has just launched an interactive electric vehicle web page, where members can learn just what an EV would look like for them. You can explore what models would make the most sense for your needs, understand the savings that EVs will incur as compared to your gas vehicle, and even predict the savings that your daily commute would entail if you switched to EV! We encourage our members to visit this interactive tool to learn more:



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