Electric Vehicle Company

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Electric Vehicle Company was an American automobile holding company and early pioneering manufacturer of automobiles.


The Electric Vehicle Company was founded as a holding company of battery-powered electric automobile manufacturers made up of several car companies assembled by Isaac Rice beginning in 1897.[1] It was taken over in 1899 by William C. Whitney and P. A. B. Widener's, thus forming the so-called "Lead Cab Trust," which hoped to develop a monopoly by placing electric cabs on the streets of major American cities.

The firm actually made and sold about two thousand electric cars (based on the Electrobat and Riker Electric cabs) as taxis to several American cities, but fell into hard times in 1900 after facing competition from gas-powered cars and legal problems stemming from monopolistic practices, as well as scandal surrounding the poor performance of its vehicles.

After the collapse of the trust, Electric Vehicle's chief asset was the holding of the Selden Patent which established a right to royalties from all manufacturers of internal combustion engine vehicles. While this was initially lucrative, it led inevitably to opposition from the other manufacturers and expensive lawsuits, which ended with bankruptcy in 1907 and the patent being overthrown in 1911.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Columbia Car: Reliable, Simple to Operate and Ready for Action". http://www.secondchancegarage.com. Retrieved 16 December 2013.  External link in |work= (help)
  • James J. Flink, The Automobile Age (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1988).

External links[edit]

  • The Selden Motor Wagon Photos of the vehicle, plus articles about the gestation of the patent and the lengthy lawsuit which followed