A timeline for electrics and hybrids

Electric car history

March 04, 2011

Electric car history:

1900: First electric wagon built in Baltimore by the Schaum Automobile and Manufacturing Co.

1906: Baltimore Bargain House, a dry-goods wholesaler, bought an electric truck, the first of its kind used for heavy hauling in the city. It could carry 10,000 pounds with a top speed of 5 mph, and could go 40 miles before needing to be recharged.

1911: Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.'s predecessor bought 10 electric wagons for its use and became a vendor and servicer of electric vehicles. Owners could recharge them nightly at its garage in downtown Baltimore.

1914: The Maryland Electric Vehicle and Manufacturing Co. on Smallwood Street advertised electric cars for sale to businesses.

1920: Steinmetz Electric Motor Car Corp. of New York prepares to open a Baltimore office to build electric trucks with 1.5-ton capacity and a price of about $1,600. Steinmetz sold trucks to Hutzler's department store, BGE and Urban Laundry.

1934: General Motors builds plant on Broening Highway to mass-produce gasoline vehicles.

1966: Bills introduced in Congress for the first time supporting electric vehicle usage to reduce air pollution.

1973: The Mideast oil embargo sends gasoline prices soaring, renewing interest in electric cars. A growing environmental movement takes shape to push for alternative-fuel vehicles.

1974: The CitiCar debuts at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Washington. It has a top speed of 30 mph and a range of 40 miles. The company would go out of business a few years later.

1976: Congress passed the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development, and Demonstration Act, which gave the U.S. Department of Energy authority to research and develop electric and hybrid vehicles.

1988: General Motors begins to develop experimental vehicles, including the EV1, an electric car that it distributed in the late 1990s through a lease program to about 800 consumers. GM later killed the program and reclaimed the vehicles.

1997: The Toyota Prius debuts, the world's first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid.

2006: Tesla Motors unveils a sporty electric roadster. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Price: More than $100,000.

2009: The federal government offers more than $2.4 billion in subsidies to automakers and other manufacturers to encourage growth of electric vehicle industry.

2010: The debut of the Nissan Leaf, an electric vehicle priced at $33,000, and Chevrolet Volt, a $41,000 electric vehicle with a gasoline "range extender" engine. In Maryland, buyers can receive almost $10,000 in tax credits for buying electric vehicles.

2011: Department of Energy and public-private partnerships are spending millions of dollars to install electric charging stations at thousands of locations across the country.

Sources: Baltimore Sun archives and reporting

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