The Studebaker Electric was an automobile produced by the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company of South Bend, Indiana, a forerunner of the Studebaker Corporation. The battery-powered cars were sold from 1902 to 1912.
Studebaker entered into the automobile manufacturing field in 1898 when Frederick S. Fish, as chairman of the executive committee, p.66 persuaded the board to supply $4,000, or $118200 today, for the development of an electric vehicle. However, lacking the board’s full support, the project yielded one car. The company did, however, enter into the field of producing bodies for electric taxis through Albert Augustus Pope’s Electric Vehicle Company.:
Studebaker formally began production in earnest in 1902, and the company chose battery-powered electric vehicles because they were clean, easily recharged, and worked well in urban centers without need of refueling depots (gas stations).
Studebaker Electrics were available in a variety of body styles, many of which mimicked the bodies that it had long produced for its lucrative passenger carriage line. These included the Stanhope, Victoria, and Surrey. A four-passenger model was introduced in 1904.
Fish realized early on that Studebaker’s future did not rest in the limited electric car, but in the gasoline-powered automobile. Studebaker’s field of expertise was in body building and product distribution, not engine building. This realization led to the creation of the Studebaker-Garford automobile in 1904. The joint agreement worked well until 1909-1910 when Garford attempted to divert chassis to its own brand of automobile, and Studebaker, looking for an affordable car to sell entered into an agreement with the E-M-F Company of Detroit. E-M-F would build the entire car, which would then be distributed through Studebaker wagon dealers.
Still, Studebaker continued to build electric vehicles until Fish decided to begin the process of seizing control of E-M-F in 1909, which Studebaker completed by 1910. p.70:
By 1912, it became conventional wisdom that the future lay in gasoline-powered engines rather than heavy, sluggish electrics, and the limited production of electric cars stopped. An official announcement from the newly re-incorporated Studebaker Corporation stated:
Studebaker was an American wagon and automobile manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. Founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1868 as the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, the firm was originally a coachbuilder, manufacturing wagons, buggies, carriages and harnesses.
The E-M-F Company was an early American automobile manufacturer that produced automobiles from 1909 to 1912. The name E-M-F was gleaned from the initials of the three company founders: Barney Everitt, William Metzger, and Walter Flanders.
L'Aster, Aster, Ateliers de Construction Mecanique l'Aster, was a French manufacturer of automobiles and the leading supplier of engines to other manufacturers from the late 1890s until circa 1910/12. Although primarily known as an engine mass manufacturer the company also produced chassis for coach-works and a complete range of components.
Superior Coach was a coachbuilder in the American automotive industry. Founded in 1909 as the Garford Motor Truck Company, Superior is best known for constructing bodies for professional cars (hearses) and school buses. Following major downturns in both segments in the late 1970s, Superior was liquidated by its parent company in 1980. From 1925 to 1980, the company was based in Lima, Ohio.
Baker Motor Vehicle Company was an American manufacturer of Brass Era electric automobiles in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1899 to 1914.
Northern Manufacturing Company was a manufacturer of Brass Era automobiles in Detroit, Michigan, automobiles designed by Charles Brady King.
Stevens-Duryea was an American manufacturer of automobiles in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, between 1901 and 1915 and from 1919 to 1927.
Woods Motor Vehicle Company was an American manufacturer of electric automobiles in Chicago, Illinois, between 1899 and 1916. In 1915 they produced the Dual Power with both electric and internal combustion engines and this continued until 1918.
Development started as early as the 17th century with the invention of the first steam-powered vehicle, which led to the creation of the first steam-powered automobile capable of human transportation, built by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot in 1769. Inventors began to branch out at the start of the 19th century, creating the de Rivas engine, one of the first internal combustion engines, and an early electric motor. Samuel Brown later tested the first industrially applied internal combustion engine in 1826.
As of 2013, there were a wide variety of propulsion systems available or potentially available for automobiles and other vehicles. Options included internal combustion engines fueled by petrol, diesel, propane, or natural gas; hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids, fuel cell vehicles fueled by hydrogen and all electric cars. Fueled vehicles seem to have the advantage due to the limited range and high cost of batteries. Some options required construction of a network of fueling or charging stations. With no compelling advantage for any particular option car makers pursued parallel development tracks using a variety of options. Reducing the weight of vehicles was one strategy being employed.
Columbia was an American brand of automobiles produced by a group of companies in the United States. They included the Pope Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut, the Electric Vehicle Company, and an entity of brief existence in 1899, the Columbia Automobile Company.
Studebaker-Garford was an automobile produced and distributed jointly by the Garford Company of Elyria, Ohio, and the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, from 1904 through 1911. During its production, the car was sold as a Studebaker, per the marketing agreement between the two firms, but Studebaker collectors break the vehicles out under the Studebaker-Garford name because of the extent of Garford components.
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Frederick Samuel "Fred" Fish, born in Newark, New Jersey, was an American lawyer, politician and automotive manufacturing executive. Originally a successful corporation lawyer, he entered the Studebaker corporation through marriage and became the corporation's president in 1909 and chairman of the board from 1915 to 1935. He is credited with introducing the manufacture of Studebaker cars, first electric, then gasoline-powered.
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