Green Cars 1973

by Michael Satterfield

The oil crisis began in October 1973 when the members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries proclaimed an oil embargo, overnight automotive manufacturers and the US Government were forced to look at alternative fuel solutions. Many of the concepts were already being tested as a way to reduce smog, as air pollution in major cities like Los Angeles was becoming a major health and environmental concern.

The result was the First Symposium on Low Pollution Power Systems Development, which was un unceremoniously held at the Marriott Motor Inn, in Ann Arbor Michigan. The symposium featured vehicles and concepts that had been developed at the Environmental Protection Agency's Ann Arbor Laboratory and included several electric car concepts, gas turbine engines, modified gasoline and diesel engines, and even a steam-powered bus.

While most of these concepts would never see use on public streets, some made their way into production mostly via small independent companies like Sebring-Vanguard who introduced their electric Citicar in 1974.

Photographs by Frank Lodge courtesy U.S. National Archives.