“In the US, 38% of all vehicles run on electricity alone.” It sounds like a report from the future, but it’s actually a snapshot from the past. In around 1900, 40% of all vehicles in the United States were steam-powered, 22% ran on gasoline and 38% were electric. In New York the ratio was even higher with one in two cars being all-electric during this time. It’s astounding to learn that the past was, in some ways, a step ahead of us today.
What we’re trying to say is: electromobility is anything but new. Back in 1881, French electrical engineer Gustave Trouvé unveiled a tricycle with a rechargeable battery and electric engine, which reached speeds of 12 km per hour (roughly 7 mph), at the International Exposition of Electricity in Paris. Electric cars were bang on trend between 1896 and 1912. Numerous tinkerers were fine-tuning batteries and engines – just like they are now. With remarkable results: the electric cars back then already had a range of around 100 kilometres (62 miles). In around 1900, tens of thousands of electric cars came off the production line. The first motorised taxis in New York, for example, were electric. Even the Walt Disney character Grandma Duck moved with the times by driving around in an electric car.
Grand Central Terminal Station, New York City