The golden age of the Hummingbirds
The first on-board battery came to be in 1859. Soon after, interest in electric vehicles increased and we started to see electric cabs in major developed cities of the time. London lead the way in the early 1900 with Walter C. Bersey's fleet of what later came to be knows as the "hummingbirds" due to the idiosyncratically humming noise generated by the vehicles. Meanwhile in New York City, the Samuel's Electric Carriage & Wagon Company also started to operate and grow the electric vehicle footprint.
The 1920 Decline
During the 1920's, roadways improved and this allowed vehicles to drive further. During this time there were worldwide discoveries of oil reserves. Combustion engines had a longer reach the the range offered by electric vehicles. Developing a large network of oil based filling stations was far more cost effective than building an electrical grid that could support the electric vehicle. Electric vehicles of the time were extremely limited in how far they could run without a charge and they took too long to recharge relative the time it took to refill a combustion vehicle.
Revival & Second Coming
In the 1990's and after being out of the limelight, new found interest in the electric car re-surfaced. A hydro carbon energy crisis was to blame. the EV1 Electric Car by General Motors was produced and leased out to the public. The California Air Resources Board (CARB), began pushing for more electric vehicles under a "clean air" agenda. And while the EV1 ultimately did not survive, it did spring into existence the widely accepted Hybrid vehicle we see today. The rest of History is here and now. Tesla came into the picture and has lead the way in ensuring the electric car is here to stay and this time, for good.