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One Hundred Years of False Hopes and Hype on Electric Cars

Almost everything that could go wrong with the electric vehicle market HAS gone wrong in the last 18 months. Batteries starting on fire; EVs stalling out in frigid winter months; chargers not working; rental car agencies selling off their EV fleets; Ford and others taking billion-dollar losses; and thousands of auto dealerships telling the factories to stop shipping EVs because nobody wants them. Steve Forbes has a nice summary of the problems in this piece below:

This hasn’t persuaded blue states and the Biden Administration to move forward with their plans to outlaw gas cars over the next decade or so.

But energy expert Robert Bryce — who publishes a must-read Substack column — tells us there is nothing new about all this hype about electric vehicles. Turns out these false promises are as old as Henry Ford’s Model T. We thought you’d get a chuckle out of some of these expert predictions:

      • In 1901 the Los Angeles Times declared, “The electric automobile will quickly and easily take precedence over all other” types of motor vehicles.
      • In 1911, the New York Times reported that the electric car “has long been recognized as the ideal solution” because it “is cleaner and quieter” and “much more economical.”
      • In 1915, the Washington Post wrote that “prices on electric cars will continue to drop until they are within reach of the average family.”
      • In 1959, the New York Times touted the “Old electric [vehicle]. May be the car of tomorrow.”
      • In 1967, the Los Angeles Times reported that American Motors Corporation was on the verge of producing an electric car, the Amitron, powered by lithium batteries. The story proclaimed: “We don’t see a major obstacle in technology. It’s just a matter of time.”
      • In 1979, the Washington Post claimed General Motors had achieved “a breakthrough in batteries” that “makes electric cars commercially practical.” The new batteries will provide the “100-mile range that General Motors executives believe is necessary to successfully sell electric vehicles to the public.”
      • In 1980, the Washington Post claimed “practical electric cars can be built in the near future.”

A skeptic might conclude that electric cars always have been and always will be the cars of the future.

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