The framing of your question assumes something that makes it difficult to answer.
In the early days of the automobile, it was impossible to put enough electricity in a car to make it effective anywhere except a few major cities. For people in small towns or cities across the United State — the majority of the people — there was no option, it was gas-driven cars and trucks or nothing.
Very much later, electric cars became practical in more places, but by that time there was an enormous infrastructure of oil drilling, refining, and selling. Gasoline engines had millions upon millons of dollars invested in development, and so they were very advanced technically.
It wasn’t until recent years that the electric car really had a chance, partly because internal combustion design had a decades leap head start.
Also note that although electric cars are the best alternative to gas cars right at this moment, technology advances, and there’s nothing to say that natural gas or some other method might surge ahead with new technology. People are always coming up with hopefuls, and at the moment the Shock Wave Engine looks promising. It is 3.5 times more fuel efficient, and runs on almost any fuel. If that was to become practical, say in five years, electric cars might almost disappear.
So the simple answer to the question is: There never was, and perhaps never will be a time that electric cars were cheap and practical for general use.
If the electric car had not been killed, there would definitely be a lot more of them on the road today. I don’t think that internal combustion engine vehicles would disappear completely; they would have a cult following. The electric car has been a completely viable option for all people since the 1990’s, and should have been made available to consumers. However, most of the models that were put on the road in the 1990’s were pulled back off the road. That is why many people chose to convert their own cars instead of waiting around for the big auto manufacturers to make them. If the average Joe (In this case, Gordon and my dad, who also made one in 2007) can do it in his back yard, it is absolutely ludicrous that the big auto manufacturers would withhold electric cars from consumers. Of course, big companies will do anything to increase their profits. Since electric motors don’t break down the way internal combustion engines do, the big auto manufacturers held off on selling electric cars as long as they possibly could.
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