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Quotations about
Electric Vehicles

Constantly increasing fuel costs are responsible for awakening an interest in electric vehicles again at this time. ~"Electric Automobiles," Cyclopedia of Automobile Engineering, 1915  [a little altered —tg]

      George J. Grossman of New York City will become identified with the automobile industry in company with his two sons, Mortimer and Wallace Grossman, to whom it is said he has given $100,000 to carry on experimental and manufacturing work in automobiles.
      "Yes, I think we are automobile cranks," says Mr. Grossman, "and I hope and believe that my boys will turn out the perfect car of the future, which will be an electric." ~"An Enthusiastic Auto Family," in The Automobile, February 1907  [a little altered —tg]

The history of the electromobile dates from 1832, but later in the nineteenth century certain mistakes and too limited experience led to the failure of its great early promise in the automobile family. Despite the elasticity of the electric motor, ease of control, silence, and absence of smell and vibration, the electric car would not be the touring car of the future without a suitable battery. Even if it improved fifty per cent, even if the country was studded with charging stations, it would not serve. Even with a featherweight battery an electrically-driven vehicle would not compare with one propelled by an explosion engine. ~T. G. Chambers, "The Future of the Electric Automobile," 1905  [a little altered —tg]

95% of electric vehicles are still on the road today — the other 5% made it all the way home. ~Internet meme, c.2022

Manufacturers of electric automobiles are often asked the question: "Will not a battery sometime be made to run a vehicle one hundred or more miles on one charge?" While this may be possible, the writer hardly thinks it will ever be probable, and his experience with the public is that it is wholly unnecessary, speaking generally and from a practical point of view. ~Clinton Edgar Woods, The Electric Automobile: Its Construction, Care and Operation, 1900

It is also necessary to supply conveniences for making these charges by the public lighting companies in every city... Electric station owners are now making a very important movement to popularize the electric vehicle by providing their plants with the apparatus necessary to charge a carriage, and this movement is doing more to invite public confidence in the use of the electric vehicle than any other single step that has ever been taken. Experiments are being made with an electric hydrant, as it is called, which will be situated at various streets and junctions where a proper meter system will be installed and where the owner of an electric automobile can stop, drop his ten cents into the slot and get his supply of current in a comparatively few moments' time. When such systems as this have been introduced in the cities, and extended out on to the country roads between one city and another, the electric vehicle may make any distance and travel on any journey; and this will come in time. ~Clinton Edgar Woods, The Electric Automobile: Its Construction, Care and Operation, 1900

      The power supply undertaking's contention is, that if only there were enough electric vehicles, they would lay themselves out to help in many ways; while the electric vehicle manufacturer's contention is, that if only the power station engineer would offer facilities there would be lots more electric vehicles, and so the vicious circle is complete.
      Our present object is to show that the future of electric vehicles, and the off-peak load they afford, is not only a possibility, not even a probability, but a certainty. It is only a question of time — that's just it — time — until it comes into its own. But why wait, when there is so much that can be done now to break the aforementioned circle away from its leisurely revolution?
      The electric vehicle is essentially a short-distance vehicle. It is also admirably suited for work entailing much stopping and starting, such as house-to-house delivery. It is far cleaner than either horses or petrol, and gives no worry or anxiety to its driver.
      Let us not rest content with our idealist dreams; let us get together right now — power suppliers, electric vehicle manufacturers, and battery manufacturers — and get a move on. ~Guy Durand Ozanne, "The Off-Peak Load; Active Cooperation Needed for the Future of Electric Vehicles," 1927  [a little altered —tg]

      Why is it that with an equal start in 1900 when it was problematical whether the car of the future would be propelled by electricity, steam, or gasoline, the latter type has grown to an annual product of a million cars, while the electric has never exceeded a total of 5,000 cars in any one year?
      Let us look this situation square in the face. Let us set aside those foolish dreams that "the car of the future is the electric;" that "a million a year is within reason;" that "shortly electrics will tour the country at will."
      The first big problem is the failure of the manufacturers to properly educate the general public regarding the wonderful utility of the electric. The second reason is the failure of the central station to make it easy to own and operate the electric, by an adequate distribution of charging and boosting stations.
      Unfortunately for the sale of electric vehicles, their few shortcomings are the very ones which psychologically produce the maximum adverse thought and criticism on the part of the purchasing public. The dread of being stranded and helpless while returning from a journey, or finishing the trip on the end of a tow rope; the nameless fear of battery trouble for which the remedy is unknown. These become indelibly stamped upon the mind, to be erased only by correcting the conditions which have caused them.
      The electric of to-day is a practical, economical, and efficient motor car. When the central stations make it as easy to obtain current as the Standard Oil Company has made it to obtain gasoline, the story of the electric vehicle will have a different telling. ~Edward Painter Chalfant (1867–1942), "Electric Passenger Vehicle Problems and Activities," read for the Electric Vehicle Day at the 39th convention of the National Electric Light Association, Chicago, 1916  [a little altered —tg]

Driving an SUV to work — Cost: $1 per mile
Driving a hybrid to work — Cost: $0.25 per mile
Driving a scooter to work — Cost: $0.10 per mile
Driving an electric car to work — Cost: $0.05 per mile
Driving a bicycle to work — Cost: $0.02 per mile
Staying in bed and not going to work — Cost: PRICELESS
~Tomislav Pivac and Zlatko Nalis, "Helou Helou," comic strip, 2013

      The future of automobiling belongs to the electric... The electric automobile is as equally capable of long distance touring as the gasoline car and even today you can make shift by getting charges. It is only a question of organizing a system of charging stations all over the country.
      The only car which will remain in general use for every-day affairs is the car which everybody can take care of because it does not require any care: that means electric, and the future of the automobile as a business vehicle, as a carriage, is the electric because it does not require any special knowledge — anybody can run it. ~Charles Proteus Steinmetz (1865–1923), address delivered before the Electric Vehicle Association of America, New York, 1914  [a little altered —tg]

      Though the gasoline-driven car was a reality and had given promise of great possibilities long before the advent of the electric vehicle, it is not generally known that that the latter was one of the first types of automobiles to be built and employed on a commercial scale...
      The electric automobile was the natural and logical outgrowth of the storage-battery street car, which, in the early 1890s, was looked upon as having a great future of commercial utility. That electric vehicles were being manufactured and marketed on as general a scale as the radical nature of the innovation would permit, as early as 1897, is accordingly not surprising. The first step away from the time-honored horse-drawn hack was the electric cab, a number of which were placed in service on the streets of New York City as early as 1899. As early as 1836, Davenport of Brandon, Vermont, built a model electric locomotive. Robert Davidson, a Scotchman, built a crude electric conveyance in Aberdeen in 1839; it had accommodations for two passengers. A year later, Uriah Clark built a 60-pound storage battery in England. Sir William Grove constructed his celebrated gas battery in 1842, and Gaston Planté began his researches in 1850, perfecting the first practical storage battery fifteen years later. Camille Faure was granted a patent on the pasted type of storage-battery plate in 1881. In the same year, Rafford (France) built what Hasluck credits with being the first electrically-driven road vehicle, and six months later G. Trouve developed another. The Ayrton (English) electric tricycle appeared in 1882. In 1888, Fred M. Kimball of Boston, built what was probably the first practical American electric car, and the first successful commercial electric, credited to A. L. Riker, now of the Locomobile Company, materialized in 1897.
      But storage battery and electric vehicle progress practically came to a halt about 1903. With the successful development of the gasoline car and its production on a large scale, it was more or less generally thought that the day of the electric vehicle had passed, and there are still some who are of this belief. ~"Electric Automobiles," Cyclopedia of Automobile Engineering, 1915  [a little altered —tg]

      A horse must be waited on; his endurance is limited; and he must be stabled, groomed, fed, and curried. A man must be employed to remove his excrements from the streets. He is subject to colds and almost as many diseases as man himself is.
      On the other hand, the electric vehicle starts out and is capable of covering three times the distance in the same length of time. It is fed (i.e., charged) at a fraction of the expense and with comparatively no attention. There is no dirt and refuse to be cleaned from the street, and no dust is thrown into the rider's eyes by its operation. Noiseless and odorless in its operation, it has at the same time the same flexibility of power application as is exercised by the horse, if not a greater one.
      While some of its first usages may be simply from curiosity, this will quickly lead into custom. ~Clinton Edgar Woods, The Electric Automobile: Its Construction, Care and Operation, 1900  [a little altered —tg]

Almost any speed desired can be obtained from an electric automobile. It is simply a question of power application and gearing... ~Clinton Edgar Woods, The Electric Automobile: Its Construction, Care and Operation, 1900

Dodge EV — the veggie burger of muscle cars  ~Internet meme, 2022

Electric cars won't do anything for climate emergency,
Unless all electricity comes from renewable energy.
~Abhijit Naskar, from "Sonnet of Renewable Energy," Giants in Jeans: 100 Sonnets of United Earth, 2021

      A certain "liveliness," as we used to have it put in war-time, is being evinced at the present time in the well-being of the electric vehicle, which for some little time now has been more or less marking time. Why? we may ask, as its inherent characteristics are such that fundamentally it cannot be surpassed by any other means of transport in its own sphere...
      Electric vehicles are admittedly not cheap to buy for various reasons, but the all-in running costs and other advantages make them an economically sound proposition, and first costs are now lower than they have been for some time...
      The electric car uses a home-produced fuel in an economical and desirable manner, so its use is of national significance. It also conduces to more hygienic and less noisy conditions on our streets. The increasing use of electricity and the increasing familiarity of the community with all things electric will make the path of progress ever easier...
      It would appear, then, when viewing the proposition from all angles, that the time is ripe for a new start to be made in the electric vehicle industry. ~C. G. Conradi, "The Electric Vehicle: Some Reflections on the Present Position," 1927  [a little altered —tg]

Camille Faure's improvement of the secondary battery was made last year, in 1881. I shall now take the liberty of transporting us one hundred years into the future, to the year 1982. Vastly better methods have been devised for storing electric power, so that we literally box up localized force and carry it off under our arms to use where and when we will... Electricity has also been applied to cars. These electric cars are capable of self-illumination, and are thus at night objects of great beauty, moving with colored lights. ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "New Year in 1982"  [a little altered —tg]

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published 2021 Jun 24
revised 2023 Oct 11
last saved 2023 Oct 13