In 1900 electric cars made up to 40% of total traffic in New York. Their low volume and ease of use as opposed to the coughing, spitting, smoking and noisy gasoline-powered competitors motor that needed to be started using a strenuous operable crank was perceived as more elegant.
Also, gasoline was regarded as quite dangerous and was only available at pharmacies. The simple elegance of the electric cars that possessed some amenities such as electrical interior lighting, headlights and even underfloor heating stood in stark contrast. The electric car pictured above, that is designed to resemble a gentlemen’s shoe, was one of the fastest cars of its time. Ferdinand Porsche built the “shoe car” on behalf of a well-known battery manufacturer. It’s battery alone weighed 850kg.
The decline of the electric car was incidentally kicked off by a small and simple patent by an American named Charles Kettering: The electric starter.