The concept of the electric automobile--one powered by an electric motor powered by batteries--is not new. Battery technology was developed in the late-19th century, and many such cars were being manufactured by 1900. Although some models were able to obtain high speeds for that time, the electric automobile generally was relatively slow, heavy, and expensive to operate. Its range also was limited by its dependence on facilities to recharge the batteries. Use of the electric automobile was diminished by the second decade of this century. A major factor that caused the lessening of its use was the development of the self-starter for gasoline autos, which made it unnecessary to hand-crank such vehicles.