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What were the reasons for the failure of electric vehicles in the 1990s?

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Are you surprised? Wondering…. In the 1990s, Electric vehicles. Well, you might have heard recently from Elon Musk and his ambitious project, electric vehicle laying the core foundation for Tesla.

However, the saga is not something new, it’s got a brief history (you can read it here). 

In short, to counteract the smog and pollution problem in California, electric vehicles were manufactured in California. The major production of EVs available to consumers was GM EV1, the Toyota RAV4, and the Ford Ranger. 

The reason for the EV industry to fail were: – 

  • The launch of EV with limited range i.e. maximum up to 100 miles, more than eight hours of charging time, the cost is higher than the gasoline cars, and cargo space is limited in EVs. 
  • The operating cost of gasoline cars is insignificant as compared to the EV’s investment by any owner. 
  • SUVs and pickup trucks were more preferred vehicles than the small efficient vehicles due to low gasoline prices. 
  • The EVs needed additional investment in the maintenance and servicing and was an additional burden for the car dealership. Billions of dollars are spent on the research, development, and deployment of EVs but the major concern was the liability. 
  • The threat to gas and oil companies led to the conclusion of being lobbied by the respective sectors to protect their concerns resulted in support by the federal government and the California government to drop the mandate. 
  • At the last moment, the California Air Resources Board decided to switch to hydrogen vehicles from electric vehicles. 
  • Lead-acid batteries were used in an inappropriate shape. It was large, heavy, took a long-time to recharge. 
  • The recharging infrastructure for electric vehicle batteries was limited. 

Source:- Hybrid electric vehicles by Chris Mi and M.Abul Masrur, History of electric car

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