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A Look at the Surprisingly Long History of the Electric Car for Students in Mechanic Training

Published on May 9, 2019 by in Blog

training for mechanics

To many, electric cars seem like a relatively recent concept. While it’s true that demand and public interest in electric vehicles (EVs) has risen in the last few decades, the history of the electric car is actually far older than you may think.

The dedication of innovators and inventers helped take the idea of an electric vehicle from dream to reality. Although the prototypes and earlier versions of electric cars look far different from the ones you might see in a garage today, the same ideas and concepts are still operating underneath the hood.

If you’re interested in a career as an auto mechanic, read on to learn about the interesting history behind the electric car.

Mechanics May Be Surprised by EV’S Early Beginnings

The history of the electric car actually began over two centuries ago. A series of inventions in the 1800s, like the battery and the electric motor, created the technology that EVs today still rely on. It was in the 1800s, in fact, that the electric car hit the road for the first time, although the models looked quite different from what you might work on in car repair training today.

Inventors at the time experimented with different versions of horseless carriages, wagons, and even bicycles that were all powered by electric motors. These creations helped spark public interest in electric transportation, and were so popular that by the 1900s electric cars accounted for around one-third of all vehicles in America!

The 20th Century Was an Evolutionary Rollercoaster for the Electric Car

Despite its popularity, the electric car faced opposition from steam and gasoline-powered vehicles. Although early electric cars ran quieter and were easier to handle than their competitors, Henry Ford’s introduction of the Model-T put a quick end to the first generation of EVs. Despite their advantages, those EVs couldn’t compete with the low-cost production and affordability of Ford’s new mass-produced model.

A shaky beginning meant electric cars weren’t widely adopted until fairly recently

A shaky beginning meant electric cars weren’t widely adopted until fairly recently

Electric vehicles faded in and out of popularity until the late 1960s. At that point, skyrocketing oil prices combined with gasoline shortages led to a growing demand for cars that consumed less oil, which jumpstarted new research into electric models. Auto makers also became more interested in exploring alternative options. General Motors, for instance, developed a prototype for an urban electric car in 1973.

Despite this promising development, electric vehicles lacked the technology to match the performance of gasoline-powered cars, and they soon fell to the wayside until the beginning of the 21st century.

Mechanic Training Can Help Prepare You for the Electric Cars of Tomorrow

Environmental concerns and stricter emissions regulations brought the electric car back into public discussion in the 1990s. Auto manufacturers once more began to experiment with going electric, including modifying popular vehicles with new electric technology.

Students at CATI can expect to see more electric cars, including the popular Tesla models

Students at CATI can expect to see more electric cars, including the popular Tesla models

The release of the Toyota Pruis in 1997 and other EVs in the early 2000s helped usher in the hybrid and electric models commonly seen today, and also paved the way for companies like Tesla. Today, the electric car continues to race forward, with major companies like Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen continuing to release new, more efficient models. Although EVs may not be in every garage, you will more than likely see your share after mechanic training.

Are you interested in finding out more about training for mechanics?

Contact CATI today for more information about our programs!

 
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