Always view it in English

18 January 2024

What was the first electric car on the market?

Spain has seen a 3% increase in interest in acquiring an electric vehicle in any of its three variants compared to 2022. Total sales of electric vehicles (whether fully electric or hybrid) are projected to exceed 100,000 units in 2023. This places Spain as one of the European countries with the greatest potential in the automotive industry, according to the most recent report by the EY Mobility Consumer Index.

In less than a decade, Europe has discovered a new reality and acknowledged the urgency of adopting new energy solutions in the transport sector. Although the number of electric vehicles on the road is not yet high, there has undoubtedly been a significant change from 2010 to today.

Measures have been implemented in the main European cities to promote the adoption of these types of vehicles. These actions are not necessarily drastic, but are part of the logic that an innovative market is opening up. It is essential to raise awareness of the advantages of electric vehicles and to stimulate their use and acquisition.

The presence of electric vehicles on the roads is currently becoming more and more widespread, as well as the addition of an increasing number of public transport vehicles with a view to achieving zero emissions. But what was the first electric car in history and when did it emerge?

 

First electric car

In the mid-19th century, the first electric cars emerged as an alternative to vehicles with internal combustion engines, which were noisy, polluting, and difficult to start. These early electric cars used rechargeable lead-acid batteries, developed in France by Gaston Planté in 1852 and later improved by Camille Faure in 1880.

Electric vehicles are characterized by their propulsion by a motor that obtains its energy from an electrical source, which is then converted into kinetic energy. The most commonly used technology currently for this purpose is lithium-ion batteries, although there are also other alternatives available.

The first electric vehicle appeared in Germany in 1888, it was the Flocken Elektrowagen, a car created by Andreas Flocken. It was designed as a buggy with a 0.7 kW motor, a 100 kg battery and could reach speeds approaching 15 km/h.

Following the introduction of the rechargeable battery, the electric car experienced a remarkable boom in theearly 20th century, especially in urban environments. The first prominent commercial users were New York taxi drivers. According to some historians, about one-third of vehicles on the road in the United States were electric in 1900. In addition, according to some sources, these electric vehicles outsold combustion vehicles in 1899 and 1900.

The challenge faced by the electric car, as it is today, lay in the lack of an adequate electrical infrastructure. This difficulty was compounded during the onset of World War I, when the internal combustion engine, which offered greater range, speed, and power, played a crucial role in the mechanization of warfare.

 

The first electric car in Spain 

In Spain, the first electric vehicle was built by Catalan engineer Emilio de la Cuadra in 1899. This pioneering automobile was a tricycle equipped with an electric motor powered by lead-acid batteries. In addition, it was capable of carrying two people and reached a top speed of 20 km/h.

The companies that invested in electric vehicles in this period include La Hispano-Suiza, La Cuadra, Castro and Electromecánica, all of which contributed to the manufacture of electric cars. These vehicles offered a range ranging from 60 to 100 km, with top speeds between 30 and 50 km/h.

Nonetheless, the progress of the internal combustion vehicle, driven by engine improvements, cost reductions, and the expansion of road and gas station networks, resulted in a loss of ground for the electric vehicle. There were also difficulties in the production of batteries due to a shortage of raw materials during the two world wars and this contributed to the decline.

In Spain, the Civil War dealt a significant blow to the automotive industry in general and in particular to the electric vehicle. The post-war period was characterised by economic isolation and a lack of technological innovation, which led to the electric vehicle being set aside for marginal uses, such as golf carts and industrial vehicles.

Interest in electric vehicles returned from the 1990s, with both public and private initiatives aimed at boosting research into and the development and implementation of this technology. Well-known companies, such as SEAT, Renault, Nissan, Peugeot and Citroën, have opted for electric vehicles. These cars incorporate lithium-ion batteries, which offer higher capacity, durability, and safety compared to lead-acid batteries.

The electric vehicle has now become established as an enduring reality. Its history in Spain and its evolution indicate that it is a technology adaptable to social, economic and environmental changes. Undoubtedly, it represents an opportunity to move towards cleaner, more efficient and smarter mobility.

Related content

advise icon go to the advise Facebook icon go to Facebook Twitter icon go to Twitter Youtube icon go to Youtube Messenger icon go to Messenger Linkedin icon go to Linkedin Instagram icon go to Instagram Shared Link icon Go to the shared link Checkmark Success icon Checkmark Success down arrow icon down arrow Previous Go to previous Next Go to the next close icon close add icon add up arrow icon up arrow oblique arrow icon look obliquely Arrow down icon Arrow down search engine icon search search engine icon search share icon share filter icon filter email icon send mail email icon email phone icon phone fax icon fac print icon print play icon play user icon go to the user section error icon an error has occurred info icon information thumb up icon like thumb up icon like thumb down icon don't like thumb down icon don't like clock icon Clock Lamp icon Lamp List icon List Map icon Go to the map Phone icon Phone Emergency icon Emergency Pause icon Pause Play icon Play Logout icon Sign off Phone icon Phone
go back icon go back in navigation number 50 icon go to product Tempo Happy 50 Horas calendar icon go to product Tempo Happy Día companies icon go to the business segment gas icon go to gas product catalog rising sun icon go to Tempo Verde-Renewable Energy product home icon go to the household segment 24 hours icon go to One Luz product electricity icon go to Luz's product catalog electricity and gas icon go to the Luz + Gas product catalog moon icon go to product One night light monkey wrench icon go to breakdowns and repairs sun icon go to Tempo Solar product clock icon go to Tempo Happy products 2 hour clock icon go to Tempo Happy 2 Hours product 24 hours icon go to product One Luz number 50 icon go to product Tempo Happy 50 Hours Medium Voltage power line See product catalog with electricity consumption from € 36,000 to € 360,000 / year High Voltage power line See catalog of products with electricity consumption more than € 360,000 / year company icon go to the business segment calendar icon go to product Tempo Happy Day Property management firms icon go to the Property management firms DarkSite icon DarkSite icon light bulb icon See product catalog with electricity consumption less than € 6,000 / year electricity and gas icon go to the Electricity+ Gas Products catalog electricity icon go to the electrical products catalog email icon email contact fax icon fax contact Low Pressure gas icon see catalog of gas products with consumption of less than € 6,000 / year High Pressure gas icon see catalog of gas products with consumption from € 6,000 to € 240,000 / year Medium Pressure gas icon see catalog of gas products with consumption of more than € 240,000 / year gas icon go to gas product catalog Enel icon go to the enel website heater icon heater maintenance service heater maintenance icon go to maintenance service OKGas Heater home icon go to the household segment pressure cooker icon pressure cooker monkey wrench icon go to breakdowns and repairs Medium Voltage power line icon see catalog of electricity products with consumption from € 6,000 to € 36,000 / year moon icon go to product One Night Light sphere icon go to personal website phone icon telephone contact rising sun icon go to Tempo Verde-Renewable Energy product solar panel icon go to photovoltaic solar energy clock icon go to Tempo Happy products black handyman icon with thumb down selected the reaction "I don't like it" little hand icon with thumb down select the reaction "I don't like it" black hand icon with thumb up selected the "like" reaction little hand icon with thumb up select the "like" reaction
Añadir otro equipo eléctrico Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Eliminar equipo eléctrico Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Aspiradora Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Horno Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Lavadora Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Lavavajillas Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Microondas Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Plancha Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Punto de recarga vehículo eléctrico Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Radiador eléctrico Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Secadora Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Split Aire Acondicionado Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Termo Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Tostador Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Vitrocerámica Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Power edit Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Map marker Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit.