February 11, 1847 – Thomas Edison, electric car pioneer (and inventor of other stuff, I guess), is born

Sometimes I write a lot, sometimes not so much. Today is the latter because someone else wrote something you need to read if you’re a transportation history buff. In honor of Thomas Edison’s birthday, check out this article about the cheap EV from him and Henry Ford that nearly was. Edison, born on this day in 1847, gets a lot of credit for things he may or may not have invented. Light bulbs, anyone? One thing he doesn’t get credit for that he also didn’t invent is the electric car. However, he invested plenty of time and resources into electric car technology of the era, particularly batteries.

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Those batteries are what Ford wanted to power a new electric vehicle in the mid 1910s. Ford even told the press it was coming, and he wasn’t often one to speak of future plans. Despite building at least two prototypes, the first pictured above in front of Ford’s Highland Park plant, and a second based on a Model T chassis, the affordable, high range EV never transpired. What could have changed automotive history simply faded from the chalk board. Alas, Tesla ended up with his name on a car, probably because people think Edison electrocuted an elephant, but he didn’t actually do that either. Happy birthday, Tom.

Edison, left, with electric car powered equipped with his batteries.

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