Electric vehicles are certainly not a new idea.
There were electric vehicles in use before gasoline vehicles became popular.
|Wood Electric Truck, Ford Transportation Museum|
This delivery truck from 1900, built by the Wood automotive company in the states is a good example.
It was used to make stock runs between a warehouse and distribution center for B. Altman & Company in New York City. Altman owned 12 such vehicles. This truck had a 20-30 mile recharge range and could travel at 10 mph, which made it able to compete with horse-drawn wagons.
These vehicles saved the not inconsiderable expense of maintaining teams of horses.
From History of Electric Vehicles at About.com
The years 1899 and 1900 were the high point of electric cars in America, as they outsold all other types of cars. One example was the 1902 Phaeton built by the Woods Motor Vehicle Company of Chicago, which had a range of 18 miles, a top speed of 14 mph and cost $2,000. Later in 1916, Woods invented a hybrid car that had both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.Mrs Ford actually drove this electric car designed and built by a Ford competitor, the Detroit Electric Company, precisely because it didn't need to be cranked to start or have gears changed while driving.
Electric vehicles had many advantages over their competitors in the early 1900s. They did not have the vibration, smell, and noise associated with gasoline cars. Changing gears on gasoline cars was the most difficult part of driving, while electric vehicles did not require gear changes. While steam-powered cars also had no gear shifting, they suffered from long start-up times of up to 45 minutes on cold mornings. The steam cars had less range before needing water than an electric's range on a single charge. The only good roads of the period were in town, causing most travel to be local commuting, a perfect situation for electric vehicles, since their range was limited. The electric vehicle was the preferred choice of many because it did not require the manual effort to start, as with the hand crank on gasoline vehicles, and there was no wrestling with a gear shifter.
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.