It was just announced by Toyota that they would be marketing a plug-in electric automobile in 2010, that is, a car that can be plugged into an electrical outlet for re-charging when not in use. Great ideabut it was done more than 100 years ago! At the turn of the century there were three types of horseless carriagescars powered by steam, electricity and the internal combustion engine. Steam was the proven power source. Electricity was all the rage, thanks, in part, to Thomas Edison. And while the internal combustion engine was getting better it was still smelly, erratic, noisy and hard to start. The electric car proved to be popular with women drivers in cities. They could drive the cars from their homes to downtown department stores or clubs, where charging stations had been installed; their cars' batteries could be charged while they did their business. Women loved electrics because they were easy to start, quiet and easy to operate. The last electric car was built in the U. S. in the early 1930's. Steam had proved to be too complicated. And the internal combustion engine jumped to number one with the invention of the self-starter. Several electric cars were manufactured in Cleveland for many years, including the Baker and the Rauch & Lang.
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