Artspace Buffalo: A Community Revitalization Project

A century after they enjoyed their first wave of popularity, electric vehicles are back. Advances in technology sparked car makers to reintroduce “E-Vs” to the market in 2011, with seven new models to choose from.

     But electric vehicles actually have been around since the 1830s, when Dutch inventor Sibrandus Stratingh created an electromagnetic cart. From Stratingh's invention evolved cars that were manufactured in Buffalo in the early 1900s. President William McKinley was even whisked away in an electric ambulance to the hospital after being shot at the 1901 Pan-Am Exposition.

     David Torke, a local activist and blogger who has led historic tours for Preservation Buffalo Niagara, said the Mid-town section of Main Street was full of automobile production at the time. Electric cars were manufactured by the Buffalo Electric Carriage Company, which struggled through merger and ownership changes to become the Babcock Electric Carriage Company, then the Buffalo Electric Vehicle Company. 

     Torke said, although Buffalo was the City of Light, the company suffered from many of the same challenges that still impede the industry today. READ MORE...