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  • The Electric Car Exacts Its Revenge. 

    Electromobility is taking the world by storm. We decided to do some research into the history of electromobility and stumbled upon a few surprising things along the way...

  • “In the US, 38% of all vehicles run on electricity alone.” It sounds like a report from the future, but it’s actually a snapshot from the past. In around 1900, 40% of all vehicles in the United States were steam-powered, 22% ran on gasoline and 38% were electric. In New York the ratio was even higher with one in two cars being all-electric during this time. It’s astounding to learn that the past was, in some ways, a step ahead of us today.

    What we’re trying to say is: electromobility is anything but new. Back in 1881, French electrical engineer Gustave Trouvé  unveiled a tricycle with a rechargeable battery and electric engine, which reached speeds of 12 km per hour (roughly 7 mph), at the International Exposition of Electricity in Paris. Electric cars were bang on trend between 1896 and 1912. Numerous tinkerers were fine-tuning batteries and engines – just like they are now. With remarkable results: the electric cars back then already had a range of around 100 kilometres (62 miles). In around 1900, tens of thousands of electric cars came off the production line. The first motorised taxis in New York, for example, were electric. Even the Walt Disney character Grandma Duck moved with the times by driving around in an electric car.

    Grand Central Terminal Station, New York City 
  • The triumph of the combustion engine. 

    Starting in 1910, electric cars slowly disappeared from the streetscape. 

    Cars with combustion engines went on sale from around 1910. They had a major advantage over electric cars in that they had a starting motor, so vehicles no longer had to be started with a hand crank – a laborious task. They were also much cheaper and had a better range. As a consequence, combustion engines triumphed and electric cars disappeared from the streets. They became quite niche and were mainly used in local transport. In the UK, for example, the milk floats that used to deliver glass milk bottles to homes were powered by electricity. Electric vehicles were also a popular choice for delivering fish to fish market auctions, as the exhaust gases from combustion engines were banned from the auction halls.

    But by and large, electric vehicles lived in the shadows. This only gradually started to change in the 1990s, when people generally became increasingly aware of issues such as air pollution, climate change and fossil fuels as a finite resource. But there was no breakthrough. Electric cars were only produced in low volumes – they weren’t that popular. 


  • The all-electric sports car for the motorway.  

    It wasn’t until 2006 that the electric car took one almighty leap forward with the Tesla Roadster. The sports car is the first electric vehicle designed for the motorway with a top speed that has been limited to 201 km per hour (125 mph) and for longer journeys with a range of 350 km (217 miles). It took the car industry by surprise: Tesla is based in California, a place not normally known for its car expertise. And yet the company has succeeded in launching a product that raised the bar.

    In 2009, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV was the first electric car to go into mass production. Other car brands followed. Driven by the need to curb dramatic climate change and protect the Earth for future generations, electromobility really picked up speed. Major car manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler or Renault-Nissan, are now focusing on producing electric engines. The Daimler brand Smart, for example, will be building every single new model with an electric engine from 1 January 2020. On a global level, the changeover is set to take many years and will be a slow-moving process. But it’s clear to see that the future moves electrically and with zero emissions. Cars with combustion engines once replaced electric vehicles – now this trend is reversing: electric engines are exacting their revenge.

    Tesla sets the milestone for the all-electric sports car in 2006. 
  • A filling station for your home. 

    With the charging station at home, nothing stands in the way of the electric future. 

    There are obstacles on the path towards an electric future, including the expensive purchase costs, the low range and the insufficient availability of charging stations. A new innovation is here to help with the latter, namely home charging, the filling station for your home. Webasto Live is a charging station that can simply charge your car overnight, whether it's parked in a carport or an underground car park. It is smart and fully networked via Wi-Fi. The user can conveniently access all the relevant data and even perform software updates on their tablet or smartphone.

    What will be next? We’re all charged up with anticipation.




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