Electric vehicles have been a mainstay of the modern age, since their furtive invention in the late 1800s. Besides some small, anomalous booms at the turn of the 20th century and again in the late 1970s, EVs have long been a footnote of history, beneath the behemoths of the petroleum-driven market.
But as petrol prices continue to soar, technology continues to exponentially improve and the price of air pollution begins to make itself fully known, electric-powered vehicles are poised not only to make a comeback but to replace the combustion engine near-entirely. And here’s why.
From Novelty to Necessity
Despite electric vehicles having been developed and commercially available since the emergence of horseless carriages, they never found long-lasting mainstream appeal. Various events led to the early success and continued proliferation of petroleum-powered cars over the last 150 years, starting in the 1920s with the discovery of an abundance of crude oil in the southern United States.
Prior, electric cars were gaining popularity in cities owing to their ease of use and lack of exhaust fumes – but as petroleum became cheaper and inter-city infrastructures grew, so too did the prevalence of cars using combustion engines.
Electric cars would once again become a point of public interest in the late 20th century, as car manufacturers began to experiment with smaller-form vehicles for city traversal – but their popularity quickly waned, as issues with range and speed began to put off consumers. It wouldn’t be until research and development allowed the creation of viable roadworthy electric cars that consumers would take notice – and with a climate crisis looming, this eventuality was not far off.
In recent years, the development of electric vehicles has come leaps and bounds – to the point that even major mainstream manufacturers either have electric cars in active development or commercially available. Nowadays it is no strange sight to see Peugeot electric cars on the streets, and their number is ever increasing. With sales in EVs quintupled since 2018, it’s clear to see which way the wind is blowing.
So what’s next for the electric vehicle industry? Sales are set to increase tenfold in the next five years, and British car manufacturer Jaguar has pledged only to sell electric vehicles from 2025 onwards.
The UK government has also announced initiatives to curb the number of gas-guzzling vehicles on the road, while incentives for businesses to go net-zero emissions have meant pledges to replace company vehicles with electric alternatives.
Electric vehicles are set to dominate the car market in the coming years; as cutting-edge solutions get quicker and cheaper to develop, and as public opinion leans towards the adoption of green tech, the uptake of EVs can only increase. A green revolution is at hand, and the combustion engine may well be the first victim.
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