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9 Electric Cars 100 Years Old or More

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Posted by jolly on July 16, 2009, 10:19 am
9 Electric Cars 100 Years Old or More

Posted by Mr. G on July 16, 2009, 11:58 pm
In article <b1b97143-c8a9-4546-bf97-0e846bc4ea49
@y10g2000prg.googlegroups.com>, jolly (freedatingsites@gmail.com)

That's an interesting site, though the link to it is:

(the original link is to a blog post that just has the second link)

The reason that electric cars faded-away 100 years ago wasn't because
they weren't viable.  At the time gasoline was such an abundant, and
cheap, fuel source that electrics couldn't compete.  But even though oil
has been expensive and increasingly more scarce (not to mention dirty),
it's amazing that it's taken this long for electrics to be taken
seriously again.

Posted by DA on July 24, 2009, 8:34 pm
 Mr. G wrote:

I'd say there are many, many reasons why electric cars "faded away". They
were pretty viable else they would not have been produced in thousands per
year as they were at the turn of the XXth century. They were actually
competing pretty well at the turn of the century and the first car
produced at a factory in US was actually electric.

Also, gasoline was neither cheap nor abundant, either. At 15-16 cents per
gallon in 1910s it would have been $/gallon today if adjusted for
inflation. Besides, a factory worker would be earning something like
$00-$000 per YEAR back then, so I was so much less affordable than it is
now.  It BECAME cheap and abundant because of the gasoline car and it
still very affordable today.

Gasoline provided a very nice convenience feature that electrics could
not: you could refuel in minutes and be back on your way whereas you'd
have to wait 6-12 hours for electric car to recharge.  Given the lack of
infrastructure for either type of the car in the beginning, it was a great
advantage for the gasoline car because you could pack your energy with you
and go touring the country which is what was driving the demand back then.
You did not need a car to commute because there were very extensive
trolley systems in most metropolitan areas.

Another interesting twist in the history of electric cars was the poor
advertising tactics. Electrics being very clean and silent vehicles were
very desirable replacements of the horse-drawn carriage for the wealthy
and the turn of the century Madison avenue advertising gurus thought that
the top 1% of population would provide enough market for the electric
vehicles. Most electric car ads featured a very well dressed lady on her
way to a social gathering that most people could not afford to be at, and
that image sure did a lot to alienate "normal" people from the car of "the
wealthy". Even thought gasoline cars before Ford were also toys for the
wealthy (and mostly men), their ads featured adventures, fun and outdoor
activities that most people, even if they could not immediately afford a
car, could relate to.
This makes me gag when I see Tesla Roadster being
shameless-plug-advertised in the "Royal Pains" TV series, which is, of
course, a show about insanely grotesque rich people which no one in their
right mind can relate to.

So, yeah, electric cars have faded away and were not privileged to have
100 years of DEVELOPMENT history and therefore have to catch up now. But
it seems to me that the reasons are mostly of social, not technical nature.

Oh, and there was a great book on the subject a long time ago called
"Taking Charge" by Michael Brian Schiffer. It was published in 1994 and I
don't know if there are more recent releases. If you can get your hands on
it, it's a great read about the early history of electrics.


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