With cars like the Prius, the Leaf, and the full range of Tesla vehicles, the electric car is finally starting to gain a foothold in American society. It’s hard to imagine that we are still so much further behind where we were a hundred years ago, when nearly 40% of the cars on the road ran on electricity. Porsche’s first car in 1898 was electric. The world’s fastest car (65.79 MPH) was electric. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were even working together on an electric car! In fact, by the turn of the last century, 40% of cars were powered by steam, 38% by electricity, and only 22% ran on gas. All told, there were 39,000 electric cars on the road.
So, what happened? In two words: assembly line. Ford’s Model-T, the first mass-produced car was so affordable that it quickly took over the whole marketplace. Imagine how the would might have been different if Ford and Edison’s car made it out before the Model-T took hold.