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Prospects for the Electric Vehicle: A Historical Perspective

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1 Author(s)

The commercial failure of the electric vehicle in the first decades of this century was due to a number of factors, but one which has not yet been remarked upon by historians was the lack of interest of most electric utility companies in the vehicle charging business. Electric vehicle needed careful maintenance to presive their expensive and not very durable batteries, and in those businesses which were too small to use more than a few vehicles and which could not afford to operate charging and maintenance facilities, this was a serious drawback to their ability to use electric vehicles. In a few big cities in the period 1905-1920, a few utility companies aided the electric vehicle industry by setting up garages, giving specil chaging rates, making available technical serve, etc., but this was an uncommon phenomenon. Therefore, the use of commercial electric vehicles was usally restricted to those few large busineses which operated sizable fleets and their own prages. It is suggested that such lack of utility company support of the early electric vehicle may point up a lesson for the future acceptance of the electric vehicle in our own time.

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:23 ,  Issue: 3 )