Taking Charge: The Electric Automobile in America (Paperback)

The Electric Automobile in America

By Michael Schiffer

Smithsonian Books, 9781588340764, 240pp.

Publication Date: June 22, 2010



The tumultuous history of inventors and corporations who have tried to bring the electric car to the market.

Amazingly, in 1900 28 percent of all cars were electric. By 1920 the electric car had all but vanished and gas-powered cars dominated the market. In Taking Charge, Schiffer deftly explores how cultural factors, not technological ones, explain the rise of gas-guzzling cars. Schiffer brings the history of the electric car into the present, arguing that despite the Detroit Big Three's reluctance to make electric cars, their time has finally arrived.

About the Author

Michael Brian Schiffer is professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson and the author of seven books, including The Portable Radio in American Life (1991).