6 Electric Car Companies That Have Tried and Failed
Earlier in the week we introduced you to Faraday Future, a Californian startup hoping to take on Tesla with a whole brigade of proven talent. It sounds promising, but of course, we have to remain skeptical.
There have been plenty of upstart companies that have tried and failed—for one reason or another—to build the world’s next great electric vehicle. Let’s look back fondly on those who have come up short.
Around the same time Tesla and Fisker were getting together ideas for their electric cars, there was Aptera. The Calfornia-based company was founded in 2002, and created one of the first electric vehicles with an impressive range of 300 miles. It was dubbed the Typ-1 and featured a radical space ship-like styling. By 2008, the company was struggling, funneling through a number of different CEOs. And by 2011, they closed their doors altogether due to lack of funding.
Oh, Fisker. Where do we start. Granted, the former American automaker never did produce a purely electric vehicle in the Karma (that's what the asterisk is for). But at a time where Tesla was coming into the limelight, Fisker was the closest thing to competition in terms of powertrain and design. In 2007, Fisker began producing the Karma hybrid sedan out of its Orange County, California facility. From the gate, it was met with criticism. Fisker was sued by Tesla claiming they stole technology, though, they won the lawsuit forcing Tesla to pay $1.1M in legal fees.
Then in 2012, Fisker shut down all production and searched feverishly for new investors. It wasn’t until two years later that Chinese investors Wanxiang agreed to buy the former automaker. Fisker hopes to be back on the road in the next few years.
While Tesla and Fisker were hot on the market producing sexy sedans, another small automaker out of California—Coda—was going in a whole different direction with its electric vehicles. The four-door sedan produced by Coda wasn’t sexy, but it was practical. It had an 88 mile range and an 85 mph top speed. Which, for the technology, wasn’t terrible at all. Alas, Coda only survived one year selling 117 cars. All of which were recalled.
You would have never guessed that in 1899, a company out of Cleveland, Ohio, was building some of the most advanced electric cars around. But Baker Motor Vehicle (aka Baker Electrics) was. The marque produced a number of electric ehicles in a respectable 15 year run, and even sold one to Thomas Edison, before officially closing its doors in 1914.
You may have heard the name Detroit Electric recently. The formerly defunct brand has been slated for a revival, ironically producing an electric sportscar out of a London facility. But before Detroit Electric was back in the modern world, the marque built an astounding 13,000 electric cars from 1907 until 1939. Even Henry Ford was an owner. Detroit Electric officially closed shop in 1939, but as mentioned, was revived again in 2008. Though we've seen images and even a show car of the new SP:01, we haven't seen any production models for
Since 1857, the Studebaker brand was a recognizable name in the horse and carriage business. But when horseless carriages started taking to the roads, the company had to adapt. And adapt they did. In 1897, they started production on a motor vehicle, and in 1902, it was finished. From 1902 to 1911, all Studebaker’s coming out of the South Bend, Indiana, plant were completely electric. They actually went by Studebaker Electric for the first nine years. The brand, as a whole though, went under in 1967, but the last electric Studebaker rolled off the assembly line in 1911. Photo Credit: Hemmings