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

Marc Dijk*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)147-168
    JournalInternational Journal of Automotive Technology and Management
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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