Electromobility: I see the future repeating the past

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Embraer revealed and TecMundo published last week the first images of an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft prototype (eVTOL), which is being developed by Eve, EmbraerX’s urban mobility sector (innovation arm of the company based in São José dos Campos, in the interior of São Paulo). Still without an official name, the futuristic-looking machine appears as an alternative to traditional helicopters and air taxis for individual transportation for people in large cities.

Expected to operate without a pilot, the prototype has ten propellers powered by electric motors. As much as the prototype is called a “flying car”, it looks more like an amplified drone, especially due to the location of the propellers (eight horizontally and two vertically).

 

More than an “aperitif” of what our electromobility can become in a few years, projects like this end up rescuing aspects that have been around for centuries on modals and electrical devices developed by humanity.

Trams have been around for over 100 years

Many places have had electric transport for more than 100 years, before being abandoned and replaced by gasoline or diesel vehicles (either for individual or passenger transport). The image that illustrates this column retrieves a record of a woman getting on an electric scooter in 1916! But why was electromobility neglected in the early 20th century, and in the decades that followed, and is now seen as futurism?

The issue is complex, but, in general, we can highlight two fundamental points: the lack of incentive, at the time, to develop large-scale electric mobility projects for the growing consumer market; and the promotion of the fossil fuel exploration and sale industry, boosted after the two Great World Wars, a watershed in that period.

Thus, it was not economically interesting to invest in cars, bicycles, buses and other electric vehicles, since the fossil fuel sector (before the spread of environmental and sustainable planetary awareness as we see in the last 30 years) was on the rise across the world.