The Electric Car in America, 1890–1922

A Social History


In stock

Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist
SKU: 9781476676715 Categories: ,

About the Book

The electric vehicle seemed poised in 1900 to be a leader in automotive production. Clean, odorless, noiseless and mechanically simple, electrics rarely broke down and were easy to operate. An electric car could be started instantly from the driver’s seat; no other machine could claim that advantage.
But then it all went wrong. As this history details, the hope and confidence of 1900 collapsed and just two decades later electric cars were effectively dead. They had remained expensive even as gasoline cars saw dramatic price reductions, and the storage battery was an endless source of problems. An increasingly frantic public relations campaign of lies and deceptive advertising could not turn the tide.

About the Author(s)

Cultural historian Kerry Segrave is the author of dozens of books on such diverse topics as drive-in theaters, ticket-scalping, lie detectors, jukeboxes, smoking and shoplifting. He lives in British Columbia.

Bibliographic Details

Kerry Segrave
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 263
Bibliographic Info: 190 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7671-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3496-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
Part I: Pre-1895
1. Prior to 1890 5
2. The Years 1890–1894 9
Part II: 1895–1900, Electrics Show Great Promise
3. 1895–1900, the Overview 17
4. 1895–1900, the Cabs 27
5. 1895–1900, the Industry 39
6. 1895–1900, the Battery 64
7. 1895–1900, the Exhibitions 72
8. 1895–1900, the Motive Powers 79
9. 1895–1900, the Users 92
Part III: 1901–1913, Gasoline Cars Advance; Electrics Stagnate
10. 1901–1913, the Overview 105
11. 1901–1913, the Cabs 113
12. 1901–1913, the Industry 116
13. 1901–1913, the Battery 129
14. 1901–1913, the Exhibitions 160
15. 1901–1913, the Motive Powers 172
16. 1901–1913, the Users 179
Part IV: 1914–1922, End Times for Electrics
17. 1914–1922, the Crank Start 203
18. 1914–1922, the Industry 208
19. 1914–1922, the Battery 220
20. 1914–1922, the Users 228
Appendix: Statistics 235
Chapter Notes 237
Bibliography 245
Index 253

Book Reviews & Awards

• “The author skillfully connects the texts of hundreds of articles from online archival research to tell a detailed story of the electric car’s origins, peppering the pages with reproductions of advertisements and photographs….Segrave brings together a great deal of information about many short-lived electric car models…a substantial amount of archival research…recommended”—Choice

• “Fascinating reading”—Hemmings Daily

• “Extraordinary…will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library collections…a must read”—Midwest Book Review

• “The research is impressively meticulous… It’s a fine book to gain perspective on the subject”—SAH Journal