Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Jason writes: I’m always fascinated with your approach to topics and how you can see everything “through the windshield”. I ran into an article the other day and would be interested in getting your thoughts. I didn’t realize that electric vehicles pre-dated gasoline engines. I’ve realized in the past that this country was built on cheap fuel and is very much susceptible to high gas prices because of the distance between our centers of trade. I’ve never heard of the GM and Rockefeller’s putting an end to the electric cars. If you have an article you written that addresses this topic please point me to it. If not, I’d be curious to know what you think?
My reply: I’ll tell you what I know!
Electric cars were very competitive with internal combustion-engined cars at the turn of the last century (early 1900s) because they were simple, easier to use (for women, especially) and cost-competitive.
But EVs lost both advantages as cars powered by internal combustion engines were refined – and mass produced. The introduction of the Ford Model T is what killed the first electric cars – not any conspiracy by GM and Rockefeller.
The T made ownership of a car feasible for almost anyone. It was the first inexpensive car – and became less so with each model year; it was also very rugged and versatile. It was particularly useful to people who lived outside the city (e.g., rural people) who didn’t have convenient access to electricity. Gas being a much more portable/storable/versatile fuel than electricity.
You could gas up easily and almost anywhere.
It’s interesting that more than 100 years later, the electric car’s main problems persist – not because of some conspiracy against them but rather because of the limitations (and expenses) of battery-powered vehicles.
. . .
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