So That Was Progress?

The Roberts Electric Car was built in 1896, 13 years before even Henry Ford’s famous Model T, and it got, using only the lead-acid batteries of the late 19th century, 40 miles per charge. This is the same range as that which is advertised for Chevy’s $32,000 Volt which cost nearly $750 million for them to develop.

Roberts Electric Roadster
Roberts Electric Car Circa 1896 – 40 Mile Range

Slightly later, in 1914, the Anderson Electric Car Company in Detroit, MI was producing electric cars using Edison’s nickel-iron batteries with a confirmed range of 80 miles per charge, twice that of the car which GM Dan Akerson called “not a step forward, but a leap forward.”

Detroit Electric Car
Anderson Electric Car Circa 1914 – 80 Mile Range

So the Volt was progress? No. The abject and pathetic travesty that is the Obama-approved “Great Leap Forward” in green engineering, the now defunct Chevy Volt was not progress in anything other than gross stupidity compounded by government intervention.

2012 Chevrolet Volt Convertible
Chevy Volt Circa 2012 – 40 Mile Range

If one wants to look at progress in electric vehicles one might consider looking at Dave Cloud, an electric vehicle hobbyist who designed and built his Dolphin for just $3000 using reclaimed car parts and COTS equipment. His Dolphin has a range of 200 miles on a single charge with a speed of 60-65 mph for 85% of those miles.

Dave Cloud's Dolphin Electric Car
Dave Cloud’s Dolphin Circa 2004 – 200 Mile Range

Admittedly, Cloud’s Dolphin is not truly practical for normal driving. Yet, what could someone like Dave Cloud design and build if given a fraction of the $750 million that GM wasted on the Volt?

Of course, between the actions and demand of the UAW and the restrictive regulations of the federal government, even if Mr. Cloud got access to funding it’d be unlikely that he could bring anything to market that was anywhere near as good as what he’s already designed.

Related Reading:

How to Rebuild & Modify GM Turbo 400 Transmissions (Workbench How to Series)
Technology: A World History (New Oxford World History)
Chevy Chevelle Fifty Years
The Electric Vehicle Conversion Handbook: How to Convert Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles, and Bicycles --  Includes EV Components, Kits, and Project Vehicles
The Mysterious Benedict Society

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