Did You Know?!
DID YOU KNOW? THAT THE ELECTRIC CAR HAD ITS HEYDAY IN 1900 WITH ONE THIRD OF ALL CARS PRODUCED IN THE U.S. POWERED BY ELECTRICITY?!
Did you also know that Scottish Inventor Robert Anderson invented the first crude electric carriage powered by non-rechargeable primary cells around 1835; or that in 1835 American Thomas Davenport is credited with building the first practical electric vehicle a small locomotive; or that in 1859 French physicist Gaston Plante invented the rechargeable lead-acid storage battery? Probably not right?
Then, in 1891, William Morrison of Des Moines, Iowa built the first successful electric automobile right here in the grand old US of A and in 1893 a handful of different makes and models of electric cars were exhibited in Chicago. The first electric taxis hit the streets of New York City in early 1897 and the Pope Manufacturing Company of Connecticut became the first large-scale American electric automobile manufacturer that very same year.
Then, in 1899, the renown Thomas Alva Edison began his mission to create a long-lasting battery for commercial automobiles and worked on improvements to the alkaline battery for the next decade!
By 1900 the electric car was in its heyday; of the 4,192 cars produced in the U.S. 28% are powered by electricity and electric autos represent about one third of all cars found on the roads of New York City, Boston and Chicago!
Then, in 1908, Henry Ford introduced the mass produced and gasoline powered Model T which would forever change the direction of the U.S and global auto market. In 1912 Charles Kettering invented the first practical electric automobile starter making gasoline powered autos more alluring to consumers by eliminating the unwieldy hand crank starter which along with other obvious factors including the ready availability of gasoline, helped pave the way for the electric cars demise by the 1920s.
Not until 1966 did Congress introduce the earliest bills recommending the use of electric vehicles as a means of reducing increasing levels of air pollution in U.S cities and a Gallup poll indicated that some 33 million Americans desired electric car and in the 1970s, with concerns about the soaring price of oil, peaking with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, renewed interest peaked.
In 1972 Victor Wouk, the Godfather of the Hybrid, built the first full-powered full size hybrid vehicle out of a 1972 Buick Skylark provided to him by General Motors for the 1970 Federal Clean Car Incentive Program. The Environmental Protection Association later killed the program in 1976. In 1974 Vanguard-Sebrings CitiCar made its debut at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Washington D.C. and by 1975 the company was the sixth largest automaker in the U.S., only to be dissolved a few years later.
Although the U.S Postal Service purchased 350 electric delivery Jeeps from AM General in 1975 and the following year Congress passed the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development and Demonstration Act intending to spur the development of new technologies related to Hybrid vehicles, until 1997, when Toyota unveiled the Prius, little progress was truly made.
Nearly 18,000 Priuss were sold during its first production year.
Sponsored and written by West Coast Classics where Rare & Classic Cars are bought & sold every day in sunny Santa Monica!