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Electric vehicle gets a jumpstart— again

Solarizing By Jeffrey Voacolo

More than a hundred years ago, the electric vehicle was a more popular transportation vehicle.

Across the globe in the 1800s, there were many inventors building different types of electric vehicles with different battery technologies.

In the United States, the first successful electric car made its debut around 1890, thanks to William Morrison, a chemist who lived in Des Moines, Iowa. His six-passenger vehicle capable of a top speed of 14mph was little more than an electrified wagon. It helped spark interest in electric vehicles.

Over the next few years, electric vehicles from different automakers began popping up across the United States. New York City even had a fleet of more than 60 electric taxis.

By 1900, electric cars were at their heyday, accounting for around a third of all vehicles on the road. During the next 10 years, they continued to show strong sales.

Thomas Edison, the master inventor who at the time was developing the submarine battery for the military, teamed up with Henry Ford. The pair came up with a very competent vehicle in 1914. This car was soon parked in a barn, never to be tinkered with.

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The final death blow for the electric vehicle came with Henry Ford’s Model T, which had an internal combustion engine. A very different type of gasoline, a derivative of oil, was in full production in 1914.


In the 1970s, due to the oil embargo and America’s dependence on foreign oil, the electric vehicle had a reprieve with General Motors toying with research and development. But the plan soon disappeared—until now. Its rebirth was triggered by the dire need to change our lifestyle due to environmental concerns—climate change is killing our planet— and the volatility of oil.

The electric vehicle is finally having its time in history and it couldn’t have come sooner. We live on an island that has long been at the mercy of rising oil prices. Even when stateside gasoline was $2.50 a gallon, it was a dollar more in Guam.

As with all our energy needs, we have suffered from the global instability of fuel for way too long.

I believe desperation and inspiration are the driving forces of change. These fit well in our world today. We are desperate to pay less for energy. We are inspired to save our planet from the devasting effects of burning oil for the generation of electricity, and burning gasoline for transportation.

With advancements in solar technology coupled with battery storage, having an electric vehicle can literally mean free transportation. Can you imagine never having to pay for fuel again and freeing yourself from the claws of the oil cartel?


The energy shift has finally come for transportation with every carmaker and motorcycle company shifting their development to electric vehicles.

Some automakers will have at least 50 percent of their models all-electric by 2025. It’s just a few years away.

We had this technology over a hundred years ago. It is a shame that we have put so much stress on our planet by picking the wrong technology to fuel our vehicles.

No army in the world can stop an idea whose time has come; thankfully the electric vehicle’s time has come.

Jeffrey Voacolo is the vice president and chief operations officer of Generation Renewable Inc. Send feedback to

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