Electric revenge after 100 years? Comparing car market patterns around 1900 and 2000

Type de publication:

Journal Article


Dijk, M.


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Volume 16, Number 2, p.147-168 (2016)




During the closing years of the nineteenth century electric vehicles (EV) outsold every other type of vehicle. Yet within ten years the electric automobile was no more and the internal combustion engined car predominated. Could EVs have succeeded or was the technology-in particular the batteries-simply not good enough? As EVs make a comeback in the early 21st century some of the same problems persist. Only one manufacturer (Tesla) has built an electric automobile capable of approaching the range of an internal combustion engined vehicle. Most modern EVs have a range of approximately 160 kilometres, which decreases their usability in longer trips. This paper compares the introduction of electric vehicles in the USA in the late 19th century with the early 21st century from a socio-technical transition perspective. It discusses similarities and differences in market innovation patterns and concludes on the chances for a successful revenge today. © 2016 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

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