Electric vehicles (EVs) were first developed in the late 1800s, originally little more than electrified horseless carriages. They were appealing because they lacked the vibration, smell and noise of gasoline cars and did not require difficult gear changes. Gasoline cars improved and electrics all but disappeared by 1935. The next three decades were dead for EVs, until the '60s and '70s saw a need for alternative fueled vehicles to reduce the problems of exhaust emissions and to reduce the dependency on imported foreign crude oil. Many attempts to produce practical electric vehicles have occurred from 1960 to the present.
Several legislative and regulatory actions have renewed electric vehicle development efforts. Primary among these is the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment, the 1992 Energy Policy Act and regulations issued by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). In addition to more stringent air emissions requirements and regulations requiring reductions in gasoline use, several states have issued Zero Emission Vehicle requirements. Thanks to these improvements, EVs are well favored by environmentalists because of their relatively low environmental impact. Extensive research and development in recent years have been devoted to EVs to make them more accessible and prominent for common use.