I was looking for articles in The Hood River Glacier about early automobiles. The earliest one, shown above, was from February 1899. I was surprised to see the concept of an electric car charging network across a country was being discussed back then, but the reality is that whatever was to power automobiles at their advent would have required a massive new infrastructure. Electricity, gasoline, alcohol, and kerosene all fought fought for market share with gasoline becoming the first to establish a wide distribution network.
The first account I could find of an automobile in Hood River wasn't until May, 1906. According to The Hood River Glacier
W. D. Rogers, the photographer, has purchased an automobile, the first one to be owned in Hood River. There was one here for a short time last summer, but was shipped out again.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
This article is not surprising to see due to the large number of electric vehicles being sold. In the US, model year 1900, for the top selling name plates, Columbia and Stearns electrics dominated the market, followed by Locomobile and Stanley with steam followed Winton, Packard, Knox and Oldsmobile with gasoline.
Three years later, 90% were gas and 10% were steam. Electric sales was just a just a fraction of the sales.
As a good benchmark for model year 1914, Ford sold over 300,000 Model-T's, while Detroit Electric sold fewer than 600 vehicles. Steam vehicle sales were minuscule too.
Dale Nicol on 4th January 2019 @ 7:31am
Some good electric vehicles are being produced today. But my guess is it will be a few more decades before the infrastructure is in place for the majority of people to feel comfortable setting out on a cross country trip.
Buzz on 4th January 2019 @ 8:10am
You can see two of the early Detroit Electric cars at WAAAM. Pretty classy vehicles!
Kevin on 4th January 2019 @ 9:01am
The electric and steam vehicles at WAAAM are among my favorites. Make sure you check out the “new” Detroit Electric Dale and company are restoring right now.
ArthurB on 4th January 2019 @ 9:39am
With a steam powered car would you have to go out and fire up some wood until you could get a head of steam, and then carry more fuel?
nels on 4th January 2019 @ 10:26pm
The steam automobiles I have seen generate steam by burning liquid fuels. I haven't seen any that burned wood, though WAAAM does have a tractor that burns wood or coal. You are correct it takes a little time to get the boiler up to temperature. You would need to add more water as well as fuel on a longer trip.
i got to ride in a Stanley Steamer at WAAAM last year. Very quiet acceleration like an electric car, with a "humid" smell.
Arthur on 5th January 2019 @ 9:57am
Eric Gleason who owns the 1918 Stanley Steamer on display at WAAAM ,uses a 50-50 mixture of gas and kerosene to heat the water for steam generation.
I have seen the boiler come up to pressure in 35 minutes and sometimes more than 2 hours. As Arthur noted above, the car is silent and its quite fast.
Dale Nicol on 7th January 2019 @ 7:13am