One of the best kept secrets of the electric car revolution is the presence of the" 1968 ads" in Dodge’s newspaper ads section. These ads gave a detailed rundown of all sorts of information on conversion kits for cars, including the electric car kit. The ad featured the first electric conversion done by an individual (it had been done by B.J. Pollack), and it featured an ad for the Electric Car Association, a non-profit organization devoted to the electric car movement.
The ads were published in the "Day-Star" section of the paper, so it was actually just over two months before the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Many marchers stopped in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and many cars (and vans) were "perked up" with solar panels and other electricity generating accessories. This gave a perfect opportunity for owners of electric cars to expose their cars to the "poles out there," as one car salesman told the newspaper reporter.
The" 1968 ads" in Dodge’s paper included a very intriguing ad for a device called the Auto Charger. This was an incredibly advance and helpful device. The ads had described how the device worked, and it was explained that it worked by using a series of wires that connected a battery to the electric motor. The battery fed the motor with a small amount of charge, and this charge would allow the motor to start the car immediately, and it would then go on and run all night.
There were many positive reviews of the Auto Charger. It was sold off for six hundred dollars (including shipping) and was a real boon to those who wanted an extremely speedy and efficient vehicle. The ads were ecstatic about its ability to run the car without fuel.
There were, however, some problems with the Auto Charger. One reviewer wrote that the paper "makes fun of the Auto Charger by saying that it takes nine hours to recharge a battery. This is actually true. The battery does not go completely dead, like it says it will." Another wrote that, while the ad was funny, he felt the intended meaning was lost in the humor of the ad. He wrote, "I guess the joke of the ad was that you could charge your battery in nine hours flat. Which, I think is pretty funny considering it’s a battery charger."
The ads do contain one genuine complaint about the Electric Car. It appears that some people read the ads and assumed that they were actually referring to the real electric car, when they were in fact referring to the Auto Charger. Although these were only the first advertisements for the electric car, they did set the tone for many of the ads in the future. Many more followed suit, including the" 1968 ads" that were published in Dodge’s paper. Even though it has been almost fifty years since the ads were printed, there are still numerous examples of ads for electric cars that are being published today in automotive trade journals, specialty papers, as well as online.