When you ask the question “When was the first electric car invented?”, what era comes to mind? The answer is more surprising than you might think!
Thomas Parker was born into humble beginnings in the county of Shropshire. Thomas worked in the ironworks as a child and soon started to discover his creative side, making such things as small steam engines and musical instruments.
In his early 20’s, Parker followed in the footsteps of his father by picking up work as a mouldmaker. It was around this time that his life took an exciting turn. He attended an International Exhibition event in London, as a rep of the Coalbrookdale Ironworks.
Parker’s first patented invention was a steam pump that he worked on with a machinist at Coalbrookdale – “Parker and Weston’s Patent Pump”.
After many years of working on different ideas and creations, Parker became involved with working on an electric tramway, based in Northern Ireland, it was the first of its kind in the world.
In 1882 Thomas, alongside Paul Bedford Elwell, set a company manufacturing electrical equipment. They began designing, building, and installing dynamos and electric lighting and were soon brought on to construct England’s first electric tramway.
Parker became increasingly interested in finding eco-friendly alternatives to travel and in 1884 he invented the first electric car. He went on to design several versions of his electrical vehicle that could be easily mass-produced.
Unfortunately for Thomas Parker his electric cars didn’t quite catch on, but that wasn’t the end of electric vehicles. In the early days of the automotive industry, electric cars enjoyed great success, but internal-combustion gasoline engines swiftly outshone the electric car.
Thankfully, we’re now at a stage in society where electric cars are becoming ever more commonplace, and we couldn’t be more grateful for those throughout history who have made it possible to get to where we are in 2020.