Did you know electric cars predate gasoline-powered cars? Thomas Davenport built the first practical car with an electric motor in the 1830s. Why did gas guzzlers take over? There are two big reasons: range and production costs. Gas-powered vehicles could travel farther than their electric counterparts. And Henry Ford's work on mass production for the Model T made gas-powered cars cheaper to produce. The combo nearly wiped out electric cars for nearly 100 years.