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Transportation: Electric Past, Electric Future

In the first decade of the twentieth century, there were literally hundreds of companies trying to make automobiles. And because there was no firm definition of what a car should look like, or what kind of engine it should have, those companies offered a bewildering variety of vehicles, including steamers and battery-powered cars. The victory of the gasoline-powered engine was not a foregone conclusion. Thomas Edison, for instance, had designed a battery-powered vehicle and in 1899 one sage had offered the prediction that “the whole of the United States will be sprinkled with electric charging stations.” At one point, a third of all the cars on US roads were electric powered.
From: The Wisdom of Crowds: why the many are smarter than the few, by James Surowiecki, Abacus, 2005

Time for a return to the future?

See also this interesting weblink at

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