EV Timeline

of five

History of the Development of Zero-emission Vehicles

The history and development of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) is set out below. For continuity and easy reading, the chronological history is presented in list form.
  • In 1832, the first small electric car was developed by English inventor, Robert Anderson.
  • Fast-forward to the early 1891s. The US had its first electric car, thanks to William Morrison of Moines, Iowa. With a top speed of 14 mph, it was little more than an electrified wagon, but the car fueled the flame, and the popularity of electric cars gained momentum.
  • 1896, saw electrified buses gracing the streets of some US cities. Electric cars made up one-third of the vehicles in the US by the turn of the century. At one point, passengers were driven around New York and London in electric taxis.
  • Early in the twentieth century General Electric produced the "Electrant." which allowed people to charge on New York streets.
  • By 1901 Thomas Edison had gained interest, considering electric vehicles the superior form of transport. Edison began working on a battery.
  • It must pain Elon Musk to know the first hybrid electric car was invented by Ferdinand Porsche, sports car founder, in 1901. It was powered by a battery and gas tank.
  • Henry Ford took the sword to the aspirations of the electric car fraternity, increasing production on his gas car between 1908-1912. The invention of the electric starter in 1912 was the final blow for electric cars.
  • By the 1920s, cheap Texas crude oil, improving infrastructure and the railway expansion saw the popularity of the electric car tumble further.
  • Fast-forward again to 1968. For the next five years, skyrocketing gas prices started to give electric cars a second wind.
  • In 1971, the first manned vehicle drove on the moon. The Lunar Rover was an electric vehicle. This saw the public's interest further piqued toward electric vehicles.
  • Vehicle manufacturers started seriously looking at the options for alternative fuel vehicles. General Motors' prototype of an urban electric car was unveiled at the First Symposium on Low Pollution Power Systems Development in 1973.
  • Sebring-Vanguard was the leading manufacturer of electric cars, manufacturing over 2,000, Citicars. The popularity of the compact, wedge-shaped car was such that Sebring-Vanguard became the sixth largest vehicle manufacturer in the US in 1975. The car's range of 50-60 miles was soon to become an issue.
  • The range and limited performance compared to gas vehicles saw electric vehicles' popularity fade once again at the end of the 1970s.
  • Between 1990-1992, global warming was the hot topic on everyone's lips, with the enactment of the 1990 Clean Air Act in the US. This legislation created tighter controls around the emissions produced by vehicles. Vehicle manufacturers began modifying some of their popular models into electric vehicles, which put the issue around power and performance to bed.
  • GM introduced the EV1 in 1996, which quickly gathered a die-hard fan base. It was discontinued in 2002.
  • 1997 saw Toyota unveil the Prius, which was released globally in 2000. It became the vehicle of choice for green celebrities.
  • Inventors and manufacturers were convinced they could do better, and scientists continued to work to improve electric vehicles and their batteries.
  • 2006 saw a Silicon Valley startup take up the challenge. Tesla Motors announced it intended to produce a luxury electric car with a range of over 200 miles.
  • By 2008, the Silicon Valley startup had put its first luxury electric car on the road. Known as the Roadster, Tesla Motors' vehicle had a top speed of 245 miles per hour, going from 0-60 in less than 4 seconds. Despite the US government's $7,500 tax credit, the Roadster was a luxury vehicle.
  • Between 2009-2013 there was a realization these cars needed to be charged, and the Energy Department installed more than 18,000 residential, commercial, and public chargers across the US. (Today, the US has 8,000 public chargers.)
  • Using a battery developed by the Energy Department, GM introduced the first commercially available plug-in hybrid, the Chevy Volt, in 2010.
  • Nissan was quick to follow suit, with the Nissan Leaf, later the same year. The Leaf was a zero tailpipe emissions, all-electric car. Production of the Leaf began in Tennessee in 2013, after a loan from the Energy Department.
  • The Energy Department's investment in the electric car battery paid dividends in 2013, which saw the electric car battery fall by 50% in 4 years, making the vehicles more affordable to the average consumer.
  • By 2014, the choice for consumers included hybrid, all-electric, and plugin-hybrids.
  • There were 23 plug-in electric and 36 hybrid models available in 2015.
of five

History of the Development of the Physical Infrastructure for Zero-emission Vehicles

The future of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) and that of the charging infrastructure rely on each other. One will not survive without the other. From General Electric's Electrant, at the turn of the twentieth century, to Tesla's Supercharger, the charging infrastructure has always been a determinative factor in the success of the electric vehicle (EV). The charging infrastructure was developed from scratch in just over a century. A year ago, it boasted more than 68,000 connections, and it continues to grow daily, but with a $2.2 billion investment required to meet the growing demand, there are questions over how long the infrastructure will continue to cope.


  • With EVs on the rise, General Electric had the first crack at building a charging infrastructure, introducing the Electrant charger to the EV owners of New York, in the early 1900s. It was not successful, and any thoughts of infrastructure were put on hold with the decline in popularity of the EV. The reality was with no charging infrastructure; the popularity of EVs could not be maintained.
  • There is little information, and certainly no significant developments regarding the EV charging infrastructure until the mid-1990s. In 1995 the Department of Energy recorded there were 188 charging connections in the US. This increased slowly to 430 in 2008, when infrastructure development was stepped up.
  • Five curbside charging stations were rolled out in San Jose at the end of 2008. They were accessible via a prepaid plan that drivers signed up too. Further prepaid stations were planned for Las Vegas, New York, and Florida.
  • In 2008, Gilbarco Veeder-Root and Coulomb Technologies announced that they were working together to develop a charging infrastructure in the US. It was launched in 2010. A further 1,000 free public charging stations were added to the network at the end of 2010 by Coulomb Technologies.
  • Portland General Electric showed its commitment to EV installing charging stations throughout the major cities in Oregon in 2008, as part of a demonstration project around the development of the charging network. They continued installations into 2010.
  • The ChargePoint America program was started and began to gain momentum, thanks in part to a $15 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This enabled the charging infrastructure to be expanded further into Austin, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; Orlando, Florida; Sacramento, California; the San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area, California; Redmond, Washington; and Washington DC. Texas was added to the program soon after, in 2011.
  • Coulomb Technologies, in partnership with Smart USA, Ford, and Chevrolet, announced in 2010 it would provide a further 4,600 home and public charging stations throughout America as part of the ChargePoint program. These were to be installed by mid-2011.
  • The first milestone of the ChargePoint America Program was achieved in 2012 when Coulomb Technologies completed the installation of 2,400 public and commercial charging stations.
  • ECOtality launched its "EV Project" working with the Department of Energy to install charging stations in a further 11 US cities, Phoenix, Arizona; Tucson, Arizona; San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; Eugene, Oregon; Salem, Oregon; Corvallis, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Nashville, Tennessee; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  • NRG Energy began working with Texas to install further charging stations in the state under the EVgo brand. They expanded the project to California in 2012. By 2015, EVgo had established over 1,000 chargers in 25 different markets. They have continued to develop their infrastructure in partnership with Nissan, BMW, and Ford.
  • Initiatives in several cities and towns across the US continued over this period, with Virginia, South Carolina, and Texas all running their own programs.
  • 2017 saw the charging infrastructure hit 43,000 connectors at 16,000 charging stations.
  • The utility companies started to develop time-of-use (TOU) programs to encourage charging at times to reduce peak load and the resulting stress on the grid. These types of programs will become increasingly important in the future.
  • By 2018 there were 57,000 connectors at 20,000 charging stations. California accounted for 18,200 of the connectors, at 4,800 charging stations.
  • The charging infrastructure market was valued at $1 billion in 2018. It has an estimated CAGR of 39.3% and is expected to top $7 billion.
  • Figures released in 2019, announced that the US had more than 68,800 connectors. 10,680 or 16% were DC Fast Chargers. California continued to dominate with 22,260 connectors. Florida, Texas, and New York followed, but all with less than half California's tally. There is a stronger presence in commercial areas compared to residential.
  • GM is currently working with EVgo, ChargePoint, and Greenlots to create a further 31,000 connections across the US. They also announced in August 2019 that they were partnering with Qmerit and would be working to connect new Chevy Bolt owners with preapproved, experienced charging station installers.


  • One of the EV infrastructure development leaders, ChargePoint, has 66,200 charging stations throughout the US. Plugin is another of the industry leaders. Although this development is substantial, there is still a lack of infrastructure to accommodate all the electric cars expected to be on the road within the next few years.
  • Charging stations have three levels. AC 1 is 120V and delivers 3-5 miles per hour of charge. Less than 5% of US charging stations fall into this category. At the end of 2019, 80% of public charging stations were AC2. AC2 supplies 10-20 miles per hour of charge. By comparison, the DC Fast Charge goes from 0-80 (%) in just 30 minutes. It accounts for 15% of US public charge stations.
  • Superchargers, installed by Tesla, can add an extra 5 miles for each minute of charge. Like a secret society, charging at a Supercharger station requires a special handshake. The power connector is unique to Tesla, using an adapter to connect to a typical charging station.

And Future

  • Without a doubt, the continued deployment of EVs is dependent on a continued partnership with the utility industry. The utility industry must ensure the charging infrastructure is in place and can meet demand, which by 2050 will equate to 13-15% of the US electricity demand.
  • An investment of $2.2 billion is currently required if the charging infrastructure is to meet the demand in 2025. The infrastructure in many of the major cities stands to be inadequate.
  • Future developments will see integration between charging stations and the grid. There is already a standard in the pipeline, looking to achieve better AC charging rates using, European standard, 3 phase power. Currently, this power is only used in industrial and commercial areas.

of five

Predicted Development for Zero-emission Vehicles

To set a context for the developments predicted to advance zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), an electric vehicle (EV) market forecast predicts stocks in EV manufacturers to be on the up, with 125 million electric vehicles set to be on the roads by 2030. When vehicle manufacturers start slowing the production lines on gas vehicles, over the next few years, the EV will be on its way to global domination, providing it has the power. Despite California's ongoing championing and growing charging infrastructure, battery technology will be what makes or breaks the EV market's happily ever after.

EV Market Developments

  • Electric vehicle stocks will continue to rise, and by 2025, 30% of vehicles on the road will be electric vehicles or hybrid electric. By 2030, there will be 125 million electric vehicles on the road. In real terms, there would be enough cars for everyone in the eleventh most populated country, Japan, to have one of their own.
  • The global market for electric vehicles was $39.8 billion in 2018. By 2025 it will be nearly $1.5 trillion. 97 million vehicles will be sold globally by 2025.

California Will Continue to Lead the Way

  • California has a growing lead and will continue to head the pack on EV policy and deployment. Already, California makes up half the US market for EVs. External factors could limit market growth, and if the charging infrastructure cannot be rolled out in a timely manner, EV deployment will be suppressed, or at least slowed.
  • The supportive legislative environment the EV industry enjoys in California is set to be strengthened. In 2018, Californian Governor Jerry Brown signed an Executive Order reaffirming state commitment in this area. The Order increases California's goal to 5 million ZEV on the road and 250,000 chargers in the ground by 2030.
  • The Governor signed 6 additional pieces of legislation during the Global Climate Change Summit, which promote the use of EVS and electrification of heavy-duty vehicles. At least 13 other states have followed suit enacting legislative measures to encourage the use of EVs.
  • The Governor-elect Newsom had a strong record in this area during his time as Mayor of San Francisco and has indicated he will pick up where the last Governor left off. Part of this committeeman will be resuming the battle with the Federal government to maintain its clear air regulations, which are more restrictive than the Federal government's own regulations.
  • To support the growing charging infrastructure, the Californian Building Code has been amended, and the required number of electrified parking spaces in commercial and multi-level dwellings increased.

Transit Authorities Turn to Electric Vehicles

  • Transit Authorities will increasingly look to electrify their fleets and converting to electric buses. Once again, it will be California leading the way. The Californian Air Resources Board is driving this initiative with its Innovative Clean Transit Rules requiring the conversion of all state transit agency fleets to electricity by 2040.
  • 12 of the state transit authorities have already committed to this upgrade. San Francisco has committed to a completely electric fleet by 2035.
  • Several companies have emerged that specialize in retrofitting diesel buses, claiming the option is not only sustainable but represents a cost-effective investment. The conversion typically costs around $350,000, which is half the cost of a new electric bus.
  • Although the capital outlay in making this transition is large, the investment will be a cost-effective move, with the Chicago Transit Authority already saving $25,000 per year per bus.
  • US School Districts will save $2.9 billion annually if the entire school bus fleet is converted from diesel to electricity.
  • The impact of this transition is already paying dividends for the expansion and development of the EV market, with a number of new manufacturers and companies looking to capitalize. 80% of the buses used by transit authorities in the US are expected to be electric by 2040.

Slowing Production of Solely Gas Vehicles

  • In the not too distant future, vehicle manufacturers will start to slow production on solely gas cars, with continued pressure from governments attempting to tackle fuel emissions. It seems the internal combustion engine car is taking its last lap.
  • At this stage, it is only words, but 9 countries and several cities have indicated they will ban cars with internal combustion engines. Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City are among those that have signaled their intent.
  • Norway will phase out gas cars by 2025, France will follow suit by 2040, and the UK by 2050. Although the US has not indicated its intention, it is not a matter of if, but when. On average, it takes 18 years for half the cars on the road to comply with a law of this nature, so this is by no means something that will happen overnight.
  • While this is highly likely, it is dependent on the cost of an EV falling below the cost of a traditional vehicle, and that will only happen if the battery technology is improved and continues to result in lower battery costs.
  • When this transition is in full swing, the presence of ZEVs on the roads will multiply. EVs will be the world leader in vehicle transportation. This will create certainty in the market and should result in increased investment to optimize the charging infrastructure and the development of the next generation on ZEV.

Battery Technology

  • Battery technology is continuously advancing. Since 2010, battery prices have fallen 80%. It is expected that they will fall another 45% by 2021. With battery costs making up half the cost of an EV, if prices continue to drop, this could be the tipping point for gas-powered vehicles. If the battery is up to specs, then EVs will become cheaper than gas cars in the next decade.
  • The increasing range of new EV is also a positive sign that battery technology is advancing. Current research by the Department of Energy is using simulation and modeling software to improve batteries and electric drive systems. The goal is to reduce the cost of batteries to 80 kW/h while increasing the range to over 300 miles. Research is also underway to reduce the total charging time
  • For a full battery, even the newest EVs require overnight charging. The minimum current charging time is at least 1 hour. Charging time trauma from consumers may lead to questions about whether the EV is sustainable when time and convenience is added into the equation, to monopolize the vehicle industry.
  • Once EVs reduce the costs related to the battery, the cost of an EV will fall, and time will be up on the internal combustion engines. With EVs costing less than a traditional vehicle, consumers will have few excuses for not buying an EV, especially in light of the ongoing pressure around carbon emissions. Should battery technology not advance, the EV industry may be in a precarious position.
  • Global developments suggest that battery technology is advancing. Norway has announced the introduction the first wireless EV charging stations. Inductive equipment that costs the EV using electromagnetic fields to transfer the electricity rather than a plug is already being tested in the US.

of five

Zero-emission vehicles: Future Trends

Just as the days of the internal combustion engine are numbered, so to are the days of the hybrid. Expect the trend toward electric vehicle (EV) monopolization to continue into the future, with hybrids and gas-fueled vehicles slowly becoming more scarce on the roads. Battery development continues and there is an increasing trend toward wireless battery charging. This shows little sign of abating in light of the announcement from Norway that it was introducing the worlds first wireless charging station for Oslo's taxis.

EV Monopolization

  • The writing has been on the wall for the internal combustion engine for a while, but now there is an increasing move away from hybrid vehicles as well. The trend towards EV monopolization will continue into the future, and the reality is EVs will, in all likelihood, end up monopolizing the vehicle market.
  • By 2050, the EV will make up 60-75% of all new cars in the US. If technology continues to drive down the cost of the battery the cost of an EV will continue to decline, with the battery contributing to half the price of an EV. A need to mitigate the eventual fossil fuel depletion by car manufacturers, over the next 5-7 years, will add weight to a consumer trend away from hybrids and towards EVs.
  • The charging time seems to be the last roadblock for the EV. Consumers like the convenience of filling up in less than 5 minutes. The slow charging EV has lead to electric car range anxiety among consumers. This is a real thing, with apps being developed to help contain anxiety.
  • Car manufacturers are fighting back and, in the last two years, have unveiled a range of new technology around fuel efficiency for the internal combustion engine. There is a suggestion that fueled by the hype around Tesla; the market has over forecast the growth of EVs. The global forecast that 8% of all cars will be EVs by 2025 seems a long way off, given the current percentage is just 2.
  • At this stage, major car manufacturers have a foot in both camps, with Ford recently announcing it is increasing the development of EVs over the next few years with 40 new models planned. 16 will be EVs. Ford has also launched 2 new 3L internal combustion engines over the last couple of years and continues development in this area. The time frame for EVs to monopolize the market is still unclear, and until there is a definitive development, many will continue to hedge their bets.
  • There have been whispers about Tesla killing of the German car previously, but they are increasingly growing louder, and German car manufacturers are taking note. Volkswagen is one company not taking any chances; they have recently opened a new production facility, which they describe as the largest and most efficient in Europe. It will produce 1,500 EVs a day.
  • Unfortunately, with an increasing number of countries and cities signaling plans to ban gas vehicles within the next 20 years, it seems that the trend towards EV monopolization will continue for the foreseeable future.

Wireless Charging

  • Using electromagnetic fields to transfer electricity to an EV, without the need for a cord is known as induction. Inductive technology has been used for stoves, phone charging, and now seemingly EV charging. Soon people will have access to a wireless pad that will charge their EV. No plug required.
  • This technology will increasingly be called upon as consumers battle with the inconvenience of having to plugin. Already the trend is starting to gain momentum as consumers look for a more convenient charging option. This trend will build over the foreseeable future.
  • Currently, wireless technology of this nature is a luxury item. Porsche offers it as an add-on on their new Taycan model. The average cost for an EV is $2,500, as opposed to $300 for a plugin system.
  • Buses, in particular, could benefit from this technology, charging while parked for their breaks.
  • At the current time, it will remain a luxury, and perhaps fleet car option, but it is not affordable to the average consumer. The trend will continue as the price begins to decrease as technology improves. With 5.2 million charging points globally, up 44% from the previous year, and 90% of those installations private, sooner or later, more and more people will go wireless. At least that's what the trend suggests.
  • WiTricity is an example of a company that is backing the trend. They are currently developing affordable wireless EV charging stations, after recognizing the inconvenience created by the plug.
  • Despite being a small player, WiTricity has positioned itself ahead of the big companies after spending a decade in developing its own unique technology. WiTricity's technology has 245 patents. They won't make the hardware but will sell the recipe.

Research Strategy

To determine future trends around zero-emission vehicles, we reviewed a range of industry publications, government reports, vehicle manufacturer reports, and expert articles. We were able to identify several future trends. The trends were identified because they had generated considerable discussion within the industry; a number of experts were also discussing them, and there were also clear examples of companies responding to the trend. Once we had identified two trends, we researched each independently using the aforementioned sources.

of five

Regulations that Impacted the Development of Zero-emission vehicles

There was little government regulation relating to zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) before 1990. With concerns rising around carbon emissions and vehicles, one of the major contributing factors, it was inevitable some form of regulation would follow. The California Air Resources Board is considered a leader, due to the ZEV requirements it introduced to California. They have seen California leading the way in the adoption of electric vehicles. President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gave the industry a further leg up in 2009 when it provided funds to invest in the charging infrastructure and development of EV technology. All this being placed under threat by an increasing number of states imposing additional charges on EV owners to offset the lost revenue in gas taxes.

Zero Emission Vehicle Requirement — California Air Resources Board

  • Zero-Emission requirements were first put in place by the California Air Resources Board back in 1990, as part of the Low Vehicle Emission Regulations. The requirements have been modified in the subsequent 30 years to reflect the changing EV market.
  • The Advanced Clean Car Regulations accompanied the changes made in 2012. Together, they pointed California in the direction of ZEV commercialization, fueling a resurgence in the development of battery technology, which has resulted in the EV becoming more affordable to the average person.
  • The regulations require each vehicle manufacturer to produce a certain number of hybrid or EV annually, based on the number of cars the manufacturer sells in California. It is unclear exactly how many EVs have been manufactured due to the complicated tax credit system adopted. However, by 2025 8% of the new cars on the road in California will be EVs.
  • Vehicles were responsible for the emission of a significant proportion of California's carbon emissions. These regulations were considered essential due to declining air quality.
  • They have been successful and are one of the key reasons California leads the US in the development of charging infrastructure and numbers of EVs on the roads.

2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

  • The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), was President Obama's response to the 2008 recession that hit America. On the face of it, the Recovery Act does not appear to be of any relevance to the development of the EV, but it was a decisive piece of legislation.
  • With private investment down in previous years, the Recovery Act was designed to stimulate the economy, using increased government spending to replace what was lost due to private industry uncertainty.
  • Signing the Recovery Act was one of Obama's first actions as President. One of the key initiatives under the Recovery Act was the investment of $80 billion in infrastructure projects.
  • At that time, the future of the EV was finely balanced, expansion beyond its traditional demographic was largely dependent on the development of charging infrastructure. When the Recovery Act was introduced, a proportion of the infrastructure investment was allocated to the Department of Energy.
  • The Department of Energy used funding from the Recovery Act to partner with city, regional and state governments, utilities, and other organizations. Through these partnerships and with the funding allocated, 12,500 public and residential charging stations were created.
  • Another part of the funding was loaned to Nissan to enable them to develop a manufacturing facility in Tennessee for the Nissan Leaf. The Department of Energy also formed partnerships with GM. Over the period following the Recovery Act investment, the Department of Energy was able to demonstrate 8,650 plugin vehicles.
  • The investment by the Department of Energy pulled the EV industry back from the precipice, at a time when investment in infrastructure and vehicle development was wavering. It provided the kick start the EV industry needed to survive. The full details of the projects and cities receiving investment are available in the Clean Cities Projects Awards Report. In total, more than $400 million was invested in the EV industry and its infrastructure

2020 Regulations in Multiple States Increase Cost of Electric Vehicles

  • Several states have enacted legislation over the last year that will take effect in 2020. These regulations are an attempt to offset the reduced gas tax income as EV become more popular.
  • Hawaii has introduced a $50 charge, Kansas $100, and Alabama and Ohio $200, to name just a few of the states looking to cash in. Charges came into effect in 8 states at the start of 2020 and will be paid at the time the vehicle is registered. When added to the states that already impose this charge, it means that the majority of US states now impose an additional fee on drivers of EV.
  • Faced with a roading infrastructure in serious disrepair, many states have acted because they consider the charge to be the best way of addressing the reducing income from taxes on gas. With the number of EVs on the roads forecast to increase over the next few years, state officials are trying to adopt an equitable approach to fund the roading infrastructure.
  • This represents a double blow to the EV industry with the Federal government (and some states) set to cut the tax credit offered when purchasing an EV.
  • Several EV manufacturers have called the new charges, "a blanket penalty for anyone who chooses to go electric."
  • State officials see it differently. As Alabama state Rep. Bill Poole explains, "The fee is designed to bring "more than just a fairness relative to maintenance and construction of infrastructure."
  • It remains to be seen the impact these new regulations will have on the EV market.


From Part 02