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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Electric Vehicle Company


The New York Times
May 14, 1900

For some weeks past there has been much inquiry about the reasons for the low price at which the stocks of the Electric Vehicle Company have been selling.  In many quarters it has been said that there is something at fault in the condition of the company's property or that otherwise the common stock of this company, which last Spring sold as high as 150, would not now be selling at about one-sixth of that price.  Others—and they are closer to the management of the company—have all along maintained that the seeming slowness with which the company's business is being developed was the result of practical difficulties that could not be immediately overcome, and also to the necessities of the business, which was one that required careful development.  When the dividends on the common stock were suspended, after having been paid for one year at the rate of 8 per cent., there was some selling of the stock, seemingly on the belief that dividends were suspended for the reason that the company's business was not in good condition.  These rumors have been oftentimes repeated and have resulted in the low price at which the stocks of the Electric Vehicle Company are now selling, and also in heavy declines in the securities of all of its subsidiary companies.  The stocks were for a long time the object of much interest in the market for outside securities, and the condition which they have now reached is the subject of much comment.  Inquiry among those whose opinion of the matter is entitled to consideration points to the conclusion that there has been no undue delay in the development of the business which this company has undertaken, and also to the fact that much more progress has been made than is generally supposed among those trading in the stocks.

In explanation of the long time that it has taken to introduce a reasonable number of electric vehicles, it is said that one of the principal difficulties in the way of a more rapid development of the business, was the impossibility of securing properly trained employes for the various departments, in view of the fact that the undertaking is a new one.  The Electric Vehicle Company has established subsidiary companies in many large cities, and has devoted much attention to this preliminary work, requiring much time and producing results which are not at first fully apparent.  The officer of the company quoted, stated that the company has of late made much progress, and that during the coming Summer a large number of vehicles will be in operation in several cities.  Thus far the field in New York, it is said, has been only very partially developed, but it is said that the New York Transportation Company is now covering more mileage than any other livery company in the city.  The New England Transportation Company is reported to be doing a large business in Boston, and it is about to extend its operations to Newport, where a hundred vehicles or more will be in operation during the coming Summer.

The Electric Vehicle Company itself is now manufacturing many more vehicles than it was a short while ago, and it is expected that its output this year will not be less than 2,000 vehicles, and may run as high as 3,000 or 4.000.  This is said to be in excess of the output of all the other automobile companies in this country combined.  The Electric Vehicle Company has also extended its operations to some extent in foreign countries, and has already established a station in Paris and is regularly operating vehicles in that city.  These statements, from an officer of the company, will be of much interest to those who have supposed of late that the business of the company was less than it was a short while ago.  The present financial condition of the company is said to be excellent.  Its cash assets are stated to amount to $5,000,000.  This, officers of the company claim, places the company in a position to do a very large business, insuring reasonable profits.  Moreover, the company has invested in real estate and plants over $2,000,000.

During the past week nearly every one of the electric stocks sold at lower figures than have been recorded at any time since they have been out on the market, a fact which stimulated inquiry concerning them, and made them the subject of much talk among those interested in the outside market.  So many unfavorable rumors have of late been circulated in regard to these companies that the statement of this officer of the company denying them has particular interest.

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