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100 Years Later: The Roaring 20s of the 21st Century - Transportation, Innovation, Electrification.

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

The Roaring Twenties, a near-decade marked by curiosity and increased economic freedom for many, was a time of innovation. Endless advancements were made from art and entertainment to household appliances to medicine. However, this decade also goes by another nickname, "The Age of the Automobile." Once Henry Ford invented the Model T and assembly line, the "Big Three" (Ford, GM, Chrysler) were born and the automobile industry boomed, changing the lives of Americans forevermore.

As explained by Editors at, "the most important consumer product of the 1920s was the automobile. Low prices (the Ford Model T cost just $260 in 1924) and generous credit made cars affordable luxuries at the beginning of the decade; by the end, they were practically necessities. In 1929 there was one car on the road for every five Americans. Meanwhile, an economy of automobiles was born: Businesses like service stations and motels sprang up to meet drivers’ needs."

Today, the 2020s are shaping up to be a futuristic roaring decade of their own - mirroring advancements made 100 years ago with a twist: electricity.

Although scientists in the 1800s conducted experiments indicating the possibility of changes to the Earth's atmosphere due to human activity, it was not until the mid-20th century (~late 1950s) that atmospheric data substantiated some of the first claims of global warming. Since the development of these initial climate change theories, advancements in science and technology, in addition to copious amounts of factual data, have proven that anthropogenic (originating in human activity) climate change is a legitimate threat bearing a multitude of cataclysmic consequences.

A significant amount of irreparable damage that has been done to Earth is a direct result of pollution, specifically the production of greenhouse gases (GHGs) as a result of burning fossil fuels including gasoline, diesel, coal, and oil to support the transportation sector. As governments, corporations, organizations, and everyday people worldwide continue to make collective commitments to eliminate fossil fuels and vastly adopt alternative/renewable energy, the focus on transportation has been one of, if not the most, noticeable areas of change.

Once considered the more feasible choice in the earliest days of powered transit, electric transportation is not new. In fact, between 1828 and 1835, transportation pioneers in the United States, Hungary, and the Netherlands began developing various versions of small-scale electric vehicles (EV). Interestingly, EVs were admired in the 19th century for many of the same reasons we love them today – they are virtually noiseless, simple to operate, and do not emit toxic pollutants. So, what happened? Despite early innovation and admiration surrounding EVs, insufficient developments in battery technology were overcome by attractively cheap oil prices, and the electric vehicle concept remained virtually dormant for nearly a century. However, this is swiftly changing.

Notably, 2020 and 2021 have been peppered with commitments from major auto manufacturers to phase out the sale of vehicles powered by internal combustion engines (ICE), providing only electric options. Aside from founded on the concept of EVs such as Tesla, auto manufacturers that have pledged an all-electric future as soon as 2025 include General Motors (GM), Jaguar-Land Rover, Bentley, Lotus, BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo, Nissan, and Toyota, among a multitude of others.

The EV industry is quite literally rapidly evolving on a day-to-day basis. With momentous developments in battery technology, increased vehicle range and efficiency, decreasing vehicle costs, and significant expansions of charging infrastructure, 2021 is rapidly turning into a true turning point for EVs and the beginning of an ICE-free auto industry, presumably by 2040.

A responsible and well-devised rollout of electric vehicles represents a glimmer of hope on the road to building a more sustainable future. Aside from climate benefits, electrifying transportation presents many notable gains. Some of these include reducing the United States' dependency on foreign oil and generating hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans, thus stimulating the economy, improving public health, and saving drivers thousands on maintenance and fuel costs annually.


Thinking about going electric but don’t know where to start?

Check out Kelley Blue Book’s advice on all things EV!


If you are interested in installing EV charging stations and would like a free consultation to see if your municipality or property location qualifies for New York State's current funding programs, please reach out to Livingston Energy Group today!


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