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Many people know that there was a turn-of-the-century battle between electric, internal combustion, and steam-powered cars, and that electric vehicles were once a greater part of the automotive market for the United States. A public panel of Society for the History of Technology's annual meeting in October 1997 examined some of this history of first-generation electric vehicles, and the proceedings of that panel will soon be available on this site. Some of the progenitors of today's historians include these people:

John B. Rae: was the leading automotive historian of the twentieth century. This 1955 article from the Business History Review was the first mainstream academic treatment of the electric vehicle and emphasizes the technological liabilities of electric vehicles as the source of their early failure to capture the American automotive market.
Schallenberg: Richard H. Schallenberg's work really concerned the history of energy storage, but his article on the prospect of the electric vehicle discusses how early electric vehicle battery research benfited from the search for more efficient electric streetcars.
Kirsch: He may be the principal investigator on the EV Online research project, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't know his electric vehicles. This article, reprinted from the journal Business and Economic History, outlines the problems Professor Kirsch tackled in his dissertation, which questioned many widespread assumptions about the failure of the early electric vehicle to catch on.

This site is dedicated to using the World Wide Web to record recent events in the history of technology and to make this history available to the wider public. Please address comments, criticism, and contributions to <evonline@ ucla.edu >.