Through the early period of the automotive industry until about 1920, electric automobiles were competitive with petroleum-fueled cars particularly as luxury cars for urban use and as trucks for deliveries at closely related points, for which the relatively low speed and limited range, until battery recharge, were not detrimental.
Electrics, many of which were steered with a tiller rather than a wheel, were especially popular for their quietness and low maintenance costs. Ironically, the death knell of the electric car was first tolled by the Kettering electrical self-starter, first used in 1912 Cadillacs and then increasingly in other gasoline-engine cars.
Mass production, led by Henry Ford, also reduced the cost of the nonelectrics. Electric trucks and buses survived into the 1920s, later than passenger cars, especially in Europe.Read Full Article