How Cell Phones Enabled The EV Revolution

As many of you know, I enjoy looking back at electric car history. Electric cars, technically, date back to the early 1800s. It is expected the first land vehicle steered using a wheel was an electric car (in 1890–1891). Regenerative braking was invented and implemented before 1900! In the first known auto race, an electric car won (in 1895). The first US car dealer only sold electric cars (again, in 1895). The first car with power steering was an electric car (built in 1897). Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s first car was an electric car (built in 1898 when he was 23 years old and Porsche definitely was not a household name). In 1900, 38% of US automobiles were electric.

But then things changed… gasoline cars got better (for example, through the use of an electric starter) and battery technology remained limiting — preventing electric cars from developing very good driving range, charging quickly, etc. As we all know, gasoline cars took over. It wasn’t really until the late 1900s/early 2000s that the development of lithium-ion battery technology enabled the current EV revolution. Tesla Motors CTO JB Straubel recently discussed this (and plenty of other matters) during a presentation at the University of Nevada. It’s a pretty fascinating presentation, and I learned a few things, so I encourage you to watch it:

In 2014, the electric car market reached 740,000 units sold. This year (2015), it has passed 1 million. The market is maturing quickly, but it is still a tiny portion of the overall car market. That is expected to change as more and more people become aware that electric cars are more convenient and more fun than gasoline cars, while also having several other benefits. I’m convinced they are the future… and for some of us, the present! JB clearly is as well. We’ll see.

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  • john

    According to one set of figures automobile sales in the USA were 17 million in 2015
    Last year BEV sales were 71000.
    If BEV cars have exponential sales growth they are only 8 doublings away from 100% of 2015 market.
    Realistically 7 doublings is 50% of 2015 vehicle sales, however a close look at the actual segment for small to medium cars the number of doublings to achieve 50% i feel would be significantly lower in the 4,000,000 area which will come relatively early after 2020.
    I have assumed 4 million do not have the data.
    So my summation is that in their segment pure electric cars are going to dominate.
    Tesla will be one of many, and for every remembered, as the company that awoke a sleeping giant.
    As a side note I ordered the Leaf in Australia by ringing the national sales manager of Nisson and told him to put my name down for a Leaf. His reply to me was ” What is a Leaf I have never heard of it”.
    About 12 months later i received my conformation email with the offered price of $54,000 AU at the time the $AU was near parity to the $US i replied to old mate the National Sales Manager in person “Why would i pay $54 K when i can buy it for $32,000 AU in the USA in Europe or Japan”.
    They front end loaded the sales price and lost the first sale from the bloke, who told them they were going to sell it.
    However the $20 K BEV vehicle is slotted in to be under my house post 2020.