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EV Online is the first online archive of the recent history of electric vehicle drivers and owners. What is an archive? An archive is a collection of primary historical documents gathered in one place. What is a primary source? It's an original artifact from whatever period of history you're studying, something that is a physical part of history. It can be anything from the original manuscript of the Magna Carta to the receipt you kept from your first set of batteries. It's called a primary source to distinguish it from secondary sources-which include written work based on primary sources, or what we usually know as historical writing. We are making these documents available to the general electronic community so that people will begin to rethink their own history and contribute to its documentation and writing.

This website is just one part of a larger Web-based project called Perpetuum Mobile: A Network for the Study of High Technology. Perpetuum Mobile aims to document five studies of complex socio-technical systems, with a the dual purposes of fostering new historical practices, and of building a network of information using digital media and methods. Perpetuum Mobile and EV Online have been sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic non-profit organization which funds research in the study of technology. You can visit the Perpetuum Mobile website or the Sloan Foundation webpage, but if you do, remember that you'll be leaving this site and may need to log in again when you return.

Who is behind EV Online? Primary investigator for this project is Professor David A. Kirsch of UCLA's Anderson Graduate School of Management. Kirsch received his Ph.D. in 1996 from Stanford University. His dissertation, "The Electric Car and the Burden of History: Studies in Automotive Systems Rivalry in America, 1890-1996," examines a number of turning points in American history where the electric vehicle might have been able to become the American automotive standard. He is often ashamed of driving a Volvo. Research assistant Shauna Mulvihill is a Ph.D. student in American history at UCLA studying post World War II suburbanization in southern California. She does not own any kind of car. Research assistant Dan Wong is a sophomore at UCLA studying economics and Chinese. He is not fond of 1970s automotive design.

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 >.