Roadway-powered electric vehicles (RPEVs) are attractive candidates for future transportation because they do not rely on large and heavy batteries but directly and efficiently get power while moving along a road. The inductive power transfer systems (IPTSs) that have been widely used for the wireless powering of RPEVs are reviewed in this paper. The development history of the IPTS is tracked from the origin of the RPEV in the 1890s to the recent RPEV. Throughout its 100-year history, the size, weight, efficiency, air gap, lateral tolerance, electromagnetic force, and cost of the IPTS have been substantially improved, and now RPEVs are becoming more widely commercialized. Important milestones of the developments of the IPTS and RPEVs are summarized in this paper, focusing on recent developments of on-line electric vehicles that were first commercialized in 2013.