While modern electric vehicles are just coming around, just seeing decent sales, many probably don’t realize that electric vehicles were extremely popular back at the beginning of the 1900s. The first car dealer in the US only sold electric cars. That was 1896. That was not long after the first known auto race, which was won by an electric car in 1895. The first car built by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche (yes, that Porsche), when he was 23 years old, was an electric car. In 1900, 38% of US cars were powered by electricity (40% by steam and 22% by gasoline). By 1912, 38,843 electric vehicles were on US roads.
For a few reasons — primarily, early battery technology being inadequate for the purposes of a car — gasoline cars took over and electric cars all but disappeared. A resurgence seemed to come in the 1960s, 1970s, and then 1990s, but never really worked out, for one reason or another. Then lithium-ion battery technology and a Silicon Valley called Tesla Motors (heard of it?) broke the gates open again.
Found via the Tesla Motors Club forum, here’s a cool picture that captures electric vehicle evolution from the early 1900s to today: