Progress With Electric Cars

In 1900, electric cars had problems with range, recharge time, cost, battery life and a lack of recharge stations along the road.


“the machine may stop in ten instead of twenty miles, as had been counted on. Again, if the power gives out between stations, it is impossible to replenish. At the present time, charging stations are few and far be- tween. In the near future, there will undoubtedly be more of them, but at present they are scarce. Another bad point in the system is the fact that it takes from two to three hours to charge a machine properly. The battery must gradually absorb the fluid electricity. It cannot be forced upon it, any more than a man can be forced to eat a square meal in two seconds. It takes time, and sometimes time !s precious. Furthermore, the deterioration of a battery is much  more rapid than the deterioration of any other system of machines.

In this case, the inventor will have many hard knots to untie. First, he must construct a stowage battery, which will carry a larger supply of the fluid. Second, the battery must not deteriorate so rapidly. Third, some attachment must be devised for re- charging more rapidly. This might be done if all stations were supplied with some quick charging device, or if the manufacturers would agree upon a standard battery which could be interchanged at the station for one already charged.”

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct 28, 1900, p. 20

In 1900, 38% of American cars were electric, and now it is less than 1%.

38% Of American Cars Were Electric In 1900 – CleanTechnica

The New York Times says electric vehicles are selling at a record pace of 5.6%.

Electric Car Sales Climb Sharply Despite Shortages – The New York Times

“The storage battery is, in my opinion, a catchpenny, a sensation, a mechanism for swindling the public by stock companies. The storage battery is one of those peculiar things which appeals to the imagination, and no more perfect thing could be desired by stock swindlers than that very selfsame thing. … Just as soon as a man gets working on the secondary battery it brings out his latent capacity for lying.”

  • Thomas Edison in The Electrician (London) Feb. 17, 1883, p. 329,

The Electrical Journal – Google Books


Edison’s New Storage Battery is Cause of Revolution.


Removes Last Objection to Electric Car Used by Advocates of Gas.

In the perfection of his new storage battery, Thomas A, Edison has inaugurated a new era in electric locomotion. The successful efforts of the electrical wizard will revolutionize the commercial adaption of vehicles propelled by their own power. The new batteries supply a long felt want In the electrical world and remove all objections to the electric automobile.”

09 May 1910, 4 – Des Moines Tribune at

TimesMachine: January 20, 1911 –

TimesMachine: November 12, 1911 –

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9 Responses to Progress With Electric Cars

  1. arn says:

    Now we just need to take a look by how much the battery capacity has increased in the last 120 years .
    Using this as base we may realise that it will take at least another 50 years until batteries can replace standard car engines,150 years for trucks and the real heavy mining vehicles probably not before the year 2500.

    So far this is just a show off toy for upper class socialists to carbon shame the rest.

    • Eli the Pit Bulldog says:

      And that’s if the raw materials needed for batteries even exist to meet the 2030 goals. Ford admits this is a huge problem for the lithium ion batteries, and is considering the much less effective Lithium Phosphate batteries for the lightning truck.

      • arn says:

        Iirc Bolivia is said to have about 1/4 of all globalLithium,
        and it is an estimated 22mio tons.

        80 mio vehicles are produced per year.
        One ton Lithium can supply 3 cars with energy.
        How far can we get? = 3 years.

        Just like everything else green this is absolutely impracticable and only works on a tiny scale and as long as there is enough traditional stuff to compensate the shortcomings.

  2. Douglas Hoyt says:

    They used to call electric cars “town cars”, because they were OK to use for short trips about town, but not for long trips.

  3. The Dark Lord says:

    120 year technology … as the saying goes what did people drive before ICE cars … electric cars …

  4. Eli the Pit Bulldog says:

    These people are so out of touch. Most EVs are exempt from the $7,500 tax credit because of where the battery is made, or more importantly, where the raw materials come from to make the battery (China, Russia)
    If you think the environmentalist are going to allow the scarring of the earth to look for the materials in North America, think again. And that’s if the raw materials even exist. And now Ford just increased the price of the lightning truck $8,500.00
    So where’s the savings from the tax credit? And as I mentioned earlier, American auto manufacturers can’t even get their hands on the raw materials needed for the lithium ion batteries, so instead they will have to settle for the much less efficient lithium phosphate batteries.
    The people that make these laws have no idea what they are talking about.
    What a disaster

  5. Joe says:

    “In 1900, 38% of American cars were electric, and now it is less than 1%”
    Good point, but how many cars did 38% equate to in 1900, vs. 1% in 2022?

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