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Alternative Energy Vehicles: Then And Now. How Much Has Changed?

The Toyota Prius, modern icon for low carbon travel, is the family car of choice for millions of people worldwide. (Others mock it). Its name ‘Prius’ is Latin and means ‘before’. The idea is, here’s an electric car that was launched before any other, that is ahead of its time. Yet its popularity suggests it is the product of its time – this is its time.

The first generation of electric cars were built in the 1890s

If you really want an example of a low carbon car built ahead of its time you need to look back to the 1890s, when electric cars were already being manufactured. At this early stage in automotive history electric cars were sophisticated vehicles. Alternatives to petrol powered cars, even.

Renault Twizy

image via Renault

Back then Roberts and Chevy were both making cars with a range of 40 miles from a single charge. Over a hundred years later the electric Renault Zoe only manages 80 miles from a single charge, which isn’t a million miles better. Roberts is known for its radios now.



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