Former Life of the Electric Car

A century ago taxicabs had batteries, not gas guzzlers, under their hoods
or subscribe to access the full article.

IN WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN THE FIRST attempt at an electric car, Scottish inventor Robert Anderson built a “crude electric carriage” in the mid- to late 1830s. It didn't get far. For one thing, its battery wasn't good enough. (Today's green car engineers can sympathize.) It also faced stiff competition from steam-powered cars.

When rechargable batteries started to appear in the mid-1800s, electric vehicles got a fillip. In 1897 the Electric Carriage and Wagon Company in Philadelphia assembled a fleet of electric-powered taxis for New York City. By 1902 the Pope Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Conn., had built around 900 electric vehicles, most of which were used as cabs. That same year Studebaker, which had gotten its start in horse-drawn wagons, entered the car market in Indiana with an electric model. Through the early 1900s electric vehicles ran smoother and quieter than their gas-guzzling, internal-combustion-engine-powered rivals.

or subscribe to access the full article.
Buy Digital Issue $7.99
Print + Digital
All Access
$99.99 Subscribe
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

The perfect movie companion to
Jurassic World

Add promo-code: Jurassic
to your cart and get this digital issue for just $7.99!

Hurry this sale ends soon >


Email this Article