Charging Up!  Jan 2023:  Electric Outnumbered Gas Vehicles in the Early 20th Century
GE electric vehicle and charger advertisement, 1912. Museum of Innovation & Science
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Charging Up! Jan 2023: Electric Outnumbered Gas Vehicles in the Early 20th Century

Charging Up!

January 2023 Newsletter

Electric Outnumbered Gas Vehicles in the Early 20th Century

The transportation industry today is changing at an exponential rate, and the speed of breakthroughs has no historical precedent. Electrification has reached beyond passenger vehicles, to heavy-duty trucks and buses, farm equipment, and even electric vertical and takeoff and landing vehicles (EVTOLs).But did you know that in the early 20th century, there were more electric vehicles, 38% than those gas-powered, 22%?Electric vehicles were even advertised in the Saturday Evening Post, at the time the most popular magazine in the world.To put its influence into perspective, the Saturday Evening Post published the works of world-renown authors, such as Joseph Conrad, O.Henry, Rudyard Kipling, and Jack London.It featured cover illustrations by artists whose work have stood the test of time, including Andrew Wyeth, and Norman Rockwell, who produced over 322 original cover illustrations.The Saturday Evening Post was the forum for America’s new manufacturing industry, and created the first advertising model:

Saturday Evening Post 1914 advertisement: Your electric vehicle choice should be guided by the greatest automobile manufacturer, Henry Ford and the greatest electrical authority, Thomas Edison, who have each owned three Detroit Electric vehicles.

Saturday Evening Post 1914 advertisement: Your electric vehicle choice should be guided by the greatest automobile manufacturer, Henry Ford and the greatest electrical authority, Thomas Edison, who have each owned three Detroit Electric vehicles. The other men of national prominence cited as owning Detroit Electric vehicles included top automobile executives of the Packard Motor, Cadillac, Chalmers, Stevens-Duryea, Nordyke & Marmom, Cole, Hupmobile, Lozier, and Morgan & Wright. Museum of Innovation & Science

What Factors Contributed to the Demise of Electric Vehicles?

In the early 20th century, electric vehicles were appealing to ladies. They were quiet, didn’t emit smelly pollutants, and didn’t require hand cranks, which could easily break a thumb or wrist.

The electric starter was introduced in 1912, and the introduction of Ford’s assembly line in 1913 made gas-powered cars widely available & affordable. They navigated almost exclusively on dirt or gravel roads.Motor vehicles played a major role during WWI and Ford delivered 390K trucks to the US Army in 1917. The 1921 crash consolidated the automobile industry into the Big Three, Ford, GM, and Chrysler. And, the depression years of the 1930s further increased their influence. By 1935, electric vehicles had disappeared.After WWII, the automobile industry became the largest industry segment in the US,many times larger than the automotive industries of the rest of the world combined, and helped shape the US into an economic superpower. The US emerged as a world leader in goods production and efficient transportation networks became a priority.Electric vehicles would briefly appear again from 1968-1973, when gas prices soared. But their real surge didn't occur until the 1990's.Curious about what happened? Subscribe and find out...Subscribe To Charging Up!

Listen to Our Recent Podcasts & Webinars

School Bus ElectrificationTune in to our interview withThe Bus Stop, the podcast of theNSTA, National School Transportation Association. Ninety-five percent of school buses, the nation’s largest transportation network, still run on diesel, which is especially harmful to young children.e-Boost runs on propane, a clean fuel under the 1990 Clean Air Act, and can utilize renewable propane, already available in CA, VT, ME and NH, soon followed by the CARB states with stricter low-carbon standards. e-Boost expedites the transition to electric by overcoming long lead times and construction typical of grid tied charging systems.These mobile units provide the flexibility that operators on leased properties or on year-to-year contracts need. Their mobility is especially useful for sporting and school events, whose mileage may be outside of an electric bus' range, which can fluctuate in hilly terrain or cold weather. Heavy-duty Electric Vehicle Charging Join the Clean Cities Northern Tier representing Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, and Pioneer Power Mobility's solutions for truck manufacturers and their dealerships, as well as state departments of transportation who relyon NEVI funding. Guests also include WAVE wireless charging formed ium and heavy-duty EVs during scheduled stops and natural dwell times-- Green Mountain Power whose energy supply is 100% carbon free (includes nuclear), 78% renewable, and serves 75% of Vermont, the cleanest grid in the country -- and Casella Waste Systems, a leader in recycling, the advancement of zero waste as well as the capture of landfill emissions. Vermont is an excellent proving ground for Casella's pilot fleet electrification, where the hills, mountains, andswingsin temperaturescan affect EV performance and range.

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