top of page

Fun Fact: The First Electric Car was Invented in the 1830s

The modern electric car is often thought of as a recent invention by most consumers. Indeed, electric vehicles (EVs) have only become widely used in the last few decades, largely due to the innovations of manufacturers like Tesla and others. However, the journey towards electrifying the vehicles on our roads began almost two centuries ago and has been a long and challenging one.

-Robert Anderson


Robert Anderson, a 19th-century Scottish inventor, is credited with creating the first crude electric vehicle sometime in the 1830s. More a carriage than a car, Anderson’s creation was powered by non-rechargeable primary power cells. Ambitious as it was, Anderson’s electric carriage didn’t make it very far due to the poor-quality battery on which it relied. It was no match for the steam-powered cars of its day.

-Robert Anderson’s Electric Carriage

“All glory comes from daring to begin.”   -Robert Anderson


Some years later, with the emergence of rechargeable batteries, inventors once again invested their efforts into building a practical electric car. In 1897, the Electric Carriage and Wagon Company assembled a fleet of electric taxis to serve New York City. Pope Manufacturing and Studebaker followed suit with their own lines of electric cars around the turn of the century.


-Electric Carriage and Wagon Company Electric Taxi

-Studebaker Electric Car


The electric vehicles of that time were quieter and handled more smoothly than their gas-powered counterparts, but they had one major drawback: They couldn’t go very far without a recharge. Car manufacturers are still toiling away at this challenge today.

"You have to match the convenience of the gasoline car in order for people to buy an electric car."  -Elon Musk


Alas, the early electric vehicles of the 1800s and 1900s weren’t quite ready for prime time, and gas-powered cars have ruled the roost the world over ever since. Only in recent years has technology begun to match the vision of the early electric vehicle pioneers.

34 views0 comments


bottom of page