Corporate PR departments have a habit of making bold statements that are historically inaccurate. General Motors, one of the leaders in fudging history, let out another one today.
The release’s headline was “GM To Be First Major U.S. Automaker to Manufacture Electric Motors”. Really? That’s actually somewhat whimsical, because by the time General Motors came into existence in 1908, electric car companies were already among the major US automakers. Baker Motor Vehicle Company started in Cleveland in 1899. Also based in Cleveland, Rauch & Lang began production of its own car in 1904 after selling Buffalo Electric carriages for two years. Detroit Electric, a product of Anderson Electric Car Company, formed in 1907 — ten years before Chevrolet joined GM.
Historical factoids aside, GM has to be applauded for bringing electric motor production — as well as leadership in plug-in hybrid technology back to the US. While we all know that had electric car development not been abandoned in the years after WWI we’d be far beyond the Volt’s technology, at this point we just need to be happy that the baby steps from tiny companies over the last eight decades have turned into a large jump under the power of a now stronger corporate giant…even one that doesn’t know (or is hoping we have all forgotten) history.