The development of electrically powered cars was all but abandoned from that time until recent years. The rocketing price of oil, the steady depletion of the earth's oil reserves and concerns about global warming have led to a renewed interest in battery powered vehicles. There is also growing pressure to reduce air pollution, which is become critical in some of the larger cities around the world.
Many see the electrically powered car as the solution to these problems. The electric motors that propel these cars do not produce poisonous fumes as they run. This is a huge advantage - we cannot continue polluting the atmosphere at the rate of millions of tons of toxic gases per day.
To fully charge an electric car costs about one fifth of the cost to fill up a gasoline powered car. As the price of oil continues to rise, this difference will become greater. From this perspective, the electrical vehicle is looking more and more attractive.
Electric vehicles have very few moving parts that need to be maintained. They also do not depend on a series of controlled explosions to produce motive energy, so they are not subject to the strain and heat produced in an internal combustion engine. Their comparative simplicity means that less maintenance is required.
The major disadvantage at this stage is the limited range made possible by current battery technology. Battery powered cars typically have a range of around one or two hundred miles before needing to be recharged, and a typical charge takes several hours. As with any rechargeable battery, the car's batteries have a finite number of charge/discharge cycles and in time will need replacement.
The amount of maintenance required by a battery powered car is much less than the maintenance required by a gasoline powered car. Electrical cars have very few moving parts as opposed to the hundreds of parts in a gasoline engine. Gasoline engines are also subject to huge strain and heat as they rely on continuous, controlled explosions to run. This results in them needing regular oil changes and services to function optimally.
One thing that is clear is that within the next few decades we will have to free ourselves from our dependence on oil. As a fuel source it is becoming prohibitively expensive and we cannot afford to keep polluting our planet at the present rate. Electric vehicles are currently our best alternative.