Article ID: CBB001180141

Visions of transportation: The EVC and the transition from service-to product-based mobility (2002)


Kirsch, David A. (Author)
Mom, Gijs (Author)

Business History Review
Volume: 76, no. 1
Issue: 1
Pages: 75-110

Description Winner of the 2003 IEEE life members' prize in Electrical history presented by the Society for the History of Technology. Abstract: The Electric Vehicle Company (EVC) and its affiliated operating entities (1897-1912), along with similar electric taxicab ventures in London and Paris, figured prominently in the early history of the automobile industry. Long dismissed as a quintessential instance of business failure resulting from the choice of inferior technology, the picture of EVC that emerges from new archival evidence suggests a different view. Seen within the continuing electrification of urban transit, traditional centralized approaches to transportation management, and genuine uncertainty about future automotive technology, EVC constituted a significant, if incremental, extension of traditional, service-based concepts of transportation. The goal of the owners of EVC was to offer an integrated, all-electric urban transportation service that included road- and rail-based components. The failure of EVC represented not simply the victory of internal combustion over electric propulsion but also the triumph of a decentralized, product-centered view of mobility, in which individuals owned and operated their own vehicles. (from

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Authors & Contributors
Schwartz, Robert M.
Olson, Kory
Backhouse, Roger E.
Twiss, Travers
Dyer, Louis
Bonar, James
Pharmacy in History
Journal Electronique d'Histoire des Probabilités et de la Statistique
Journal of Evolutionary Economics
Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
Social Science History
Oxford University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
MIT Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Éditions du Seuil
Urban history
Automobile industry
Technology and society
Cross-national interaction
Cross-national comparison
Le Corbusier
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
18th century
20th century, late
Great Britain
United States
Paris (France)
Statistical Society of London
Société de Statistique de Paris
Rolls-Royce, Ltd.

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