In Early 1900s, Electric Vehicle Market Share in US Was 37%; ICE Only 22%


Old EV Print Ad

Old EV Print Ad

Here’s your electric vehicle history facts of the day:

Electric Studebaker Ad

Electric Studebaker Ad

  • The first electric vehicles were invented in the mid-19th century
  • Electric vehicles held the land speed record until approximately 1900
  • At the turn of the century, electric vehicles held approximately 38% of US market share (whereas ICE had only 22%, but steam controlled 40%)
  • Sales of electric vehicles hit their early peak in 1912
  • The electric vehicles downfall was due to the rise of gas stations and the construction of actual roads, which allowed vehicles to travel more than a few miles per day.
  • Domestic oil findings further pushed ICE to the lead

Today, in this second coming of the electric vehicle, the scenario is widely different than it was back in the day.

Whereas ICE had to overcome electric back then, today EVs must rise up to overtake ICE.  We’re confident it’ll happen someday, but will we still be around to witness the great overtaking?

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11 Comments on "In Early 1900s, Electric Vehicle Market Share in US Was 37%; ICE Only 22%"

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“will we still be around to witness the great overtaking?”

I guess I don’t know how old you are, but I personally can’t imagine NOT seeing this happen, say in the next 40 years. By 2053 oil will be so scarce yet precious that nobody would think of burning the stuff.

It’s a shame really… the ICE apologists always claim things like “we’ve got years worth of crude oil in the ground, no worries… ahahahahaha”. Oil is a precious resource that has many applications beyond transportation. It is a valuable resource we should make use of, yes, but conserve. Climate issues aside, using it all up for inefficient, lone-passenger transportation to Taco Bell in our F-150 dual-axle mega-cab is about the stupidest things we could do with it.


1. We do have years of crude in the ground. Once more, we’ll never run out (it will just get too expensive to burn as a fuel).
2. Oil is not that precious yet. It costs less than milk, or even bottled water, yet we buy that every day without thinking about it.
3. We will not “use up” all our oil driving in our F-150s. Once it gets too expensive to do that, we won’t.

My father told me that went he was 7 years all (1938) the electric refrigerator did not exist and there was and “Ice Box” which was filled with Ice to keep the food cold. The blocks of ice were brought in a large “Electric Truck” once a week in Port of Spain, Trinidad where he was born and lived there until he was a teenager he had to go to College in Caracas, Venezuela.

Roberto, my grandfather was an ice cutter for a company called “Hometown Ice and Coal”. In fact, the business is still in existence to this day, except they mostly deal in oil nowadays.

Who is driving that thing? (in the ad)

It was also the world’s first autonomous car!

By all rights, propane/CNG should be taking over the car market now, and indeed, it stands a better chance of being the trucker and train fuel to watch. Its cheap, and plentiful.

As it stands, we are headed for a fleet of electric cars fed by power from NG power generation, since coal plants are not going to be built, and increasingly pressured to retire. I don’t think anyone could have predicted that outcome even 5 years ago.

I think natural gas could die out in ten to 20 years in that I remember reading several books that natural gas is one of those resources that can be drilled easily but the catch to it is that a natural gas well can stop producing natural gas very fast over a shorter time of time then a oil well would. Also right now a lot of the local power companies are going on a run away natural gas building boom that will help speed up the decline of natural gas production.

According to:


We have 348 trillion cubic feet of “proven reserves” of NG, and in 2010 we produced and marketed 25 trillion cubic feet of NG, leading to about 14 years to wipe out the proven reserves, just for the USA.

However, that does not factor any new discoveries, of which there have been a substantial number in the last 10 years or so.

This really sounds like that 1900’s battery tech destroyed these cars and cheap oil. Such as these 1900’s cars where a lot smaller then the cars we have today but they only maybe did 20 miles on a battery tops at 15 miles on hour. Think of what could have happened if someone had worked with nickle or lithium batteries back then giving a EV 120 mile range back then along with fast 60 mile highway speeds in the 1920’s it would have crushed ice back then.