As electric cars gain currency, Oregon charges ahead
‘Green’ state is working on plan for public charging stations; Nissan will debut its electric vehicles here.
(Page 4 of 4)
Ford’s revolutionary production line slashed the cost of the petrol-powered Model T.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Here’s a brief chronology of electric cars in America:
1830s: Robert Anderson of Scotland invents the first electric vehicle, which is a crudely built carriage. Sibrand Acker Stratingh of the Netherlands also designs a small electric car, which is then built by his assistant, Christopher Becker.
1842: American Thomas Davenport and Scotsmen Robert Davidson are the first to build electric road vehicles using nonrechargeable electric cells.
1865: Frenchmen Gaston Plante invents a better storage battery, which was further improved by Camille Faure in 1881.
1891: Americans A.L. Ryker and William Morrison jump-start the automobile industry with their electric tricycle and six-passenger electric wagon.
1897: The Electric Carriage and Wagon Company of Philadelphia builds an entire fleet of New York City taxis.
1902: The Woods Phaeton, which can go as fast as 14 m.p.h. and as far as 18 miles, costs $2,000 (nearly $55,000 today). Companies like Detroit Electric and Baker Motor Vehicle are producing the cars as luxury items, with makeup kits, cushions, and mirrors.
1912: An electric roadster sells for around $1,750, a gas-powered one for about $650. Electric car sales began to drop. Cheap oil from Texas, better roads (which beckon people to want to drive farther), and the invention of the electric starter accelerate the trend.
1916: Clinton Edgar Woods, of Phaeton fame (see 1902), invents a hybrid car that has both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.
1932: Electric vehicles have all but disappeared. From now until the 21st century, most electric vehicles in production are golf carts, US Postal Service delivery jeeps, and the occasional concept car.
Today: Dozens of automakers – big and small – are working on electric vehicles that range in price from a few thousand dollars to Tesla Motors’ $109,000 Roadster.