5 facts about electric vehicles. | Mercedes-Benz Vans
The NECAR 1 on display in the Mercedes-Benz-Museum

5 things you didn't know about electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles are the talk of the town as the main protagonist in sustainable mobility. And perhaps you have the feeling that you have already heard everything there is to know about this topic. What's the betting the following things will surprise you?

1. There were already electric vehicles at the start of the 20th century.

You think that electrically powered vehicles are a modern phenomenon? In fact, electric vehicles were already popular and very widespread at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1907, for example, the "Mercedes-Electrique" was out on the roads. These pioneering vehicles were powered by electric wheel hub motors in the front wheels. It was not until the 1920s that the popularity of the electric vehicles waned, as the demand for a greater range grew, and much lower priced, mass-produced combustion-engined vehicles came onto the market.

2. 130 km range as early as 25 years ago.

In April 1994 Mercedes-Benz wanted to present an extended research centre to the international press. The company included a surprise in the form of a totally new kind of research vehicle: the NECAR 1 – an acronym for "New Electric Car" – was the first fuel cell vehicle in the world. So in combination with the fuel cell technology, in those days there was already a vehicle that achieved a range of up to 130 km and a top speed of up to 90 km/h with its innovative electric drive system. The base vehicle used for the research vehicle was a Mercedes-Benz MB 100 van. The only candidate suitable as a test vehicle back then was a Mercedes-Benz van, as the major assemblies and fuel tanks were still very large and required a lot of space. In the NECAR 1, for instance, they took up virtually the entire load compartment.

3. There are more charging stations around than conventional filling stations.

For decades there has been a continual decline in conventional filling stations. In Germany the number of filling stations in the third quarter of 2020 is approx. 14,400. On the other hand, where the number of charging stations for electric cars is concerned, a record figure has been reached: there are now around 19,700 of them dotted around. As the number of electric vehicles registered continues to grow, this progressive expansion of the charging infrastructure is essential for the future success of e-mobility.

Increase in e-filling stations.

The increasing number of charging options secures the success of e-mobility.

4. China has the most electric vehicles in the world.

China's roads count the highest number of electric vehicles. In total, the country reported 3,180,000 units at the end of 2019. Closely followed by the USA with 1,452,900 electric vehicles. Norway was in third place with 370,800 units, making it the front-runner in Europe.

5. Upcoming: the graphene battery.

Starter batteries are subject to continuous advancement, as are the components of combustion engines. Long before the lithium-ion technology that is now common, the focus was, for example, on lead batteries or nickel-iron batteries. In order to conserve raw materials and reduce the use of rare metals, developers are already working on a new option: graphene batteries. At the centre of this new technology is graphene, a material artificially produced from carbon, which has particularly high conductivity. This type of battery would facilitate rapid charging of a vehicle within a few minutes and mean a manifold increase in the service life of the vehicle battery. However it will still take several years before series-production readiness.

New type of battery technology: graphene.

Researchers constantly work on the development of alternative energy storage units.


Daimler Global Media

More links to discover:

The Mercedes-Benz eVan eco-system.