In the late 90’s, General Motors in the US built the first ever mainstream electric car, called the EV1.
Around 2,500 were built, and leased on 3-year contracts in California (none were sold).
By the early 2000’s, most of them had been destroyed.
The documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? probably covers most questions you'll have - it’s a fascinating watch - but the general consensus seems to be that oil companies got scared that they’d lose business, so they convinced GM to scrap the electric car program entirely.
Had they not, electric cars might have been further along today - infrastructure like electric charge points might be more common. Batteries might offer more distance (the EV1 had a range of around 150kms).
Tesla was started on the back of the “death” of the EV1.
Where some people just see costs and expenses and limitations, others see opportunities.
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