Electric Vehicle Company
was a US automobile holding company and manufacturer.
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 L. Rice beginning in 1897. 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.
- James J. Flink, The Automobile Age......