The 18 Most Suppressed Inventions of All Time

1. The Original Electric Car: Unplugged? Perhaps the most notorious suppressed invention is the General Motors EV1, subject of the 2006 documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car? The EV1 was the world’s first mass-produced electric car, with 800 of them up for lease from GM in the late ’90s. GM ended the EV1 line in 1999, stating that consumers weren’t happy with the limited driving range of the car’s batteries, making it unprofitable to continue production. Many skeptics, however, believe GM killed the EV1 under pressure from oil companies, who stand to lose the most if high-efficiency vehicles conquer the market. It didn’t help that GM hunted down and destroyed every last EV1, ensuring the technology would die out. 2. The Death of the American Streetcar In 1921, if the streetcar industry wasn’t actually naming streetcars Desire, it was certainly desiring more streetcars. They netted $1 billion, causing General Motors to hemorrhage $65 million in the face of a thriving industry. GM retaliated by buying and closing hundreds of independent railway companies, boosting the market for gas-guzzling GM buses and cars. While a recent urban movement to rescue mass transit has been underway, it is unlikely we’ll ever see streetcars return to their former glory. 3. The 99-MPG Car The holy grail of automotive technology is the 99-mpg car. Although the technology has been available for years, automakers have deliberately withheld it from the U.S. market. In 2000, the New York Times reported a little-known fact, at least to most: A diesel-powered dynamo called the Volkswagen Lupo had driven around the world averaging higher than 99 mpg. The Lupo was sold in Europe from 1998 to 2005 but, once again, automakers prevented it from coming to market; they claimed Americans had no interest in small, fuel-efficient cars. 4. Free Energy Nikola Tesla was more than just the inspiration for a hair metal band, he was also an undisputed genius. In 1899, he figured out a way to bypass fossil-fuel-burning power plants and power lines, proving that “free energy” could be harnessed using ionization in the upper atmosphere to produce electrical vibrations. J.P. Morgan, who had been funding Tesla’s research, had a bit of buyer’s remorse when he realized that free energy for all wasn’t as profitable as, say, actually charging people for every watt of energy use. Morgan then drove another nail in free energy’s coffin by chasing away other investors, ensuring Tesla’s dream would die. 5. Miracle Cancer Cure In 2001, Nova Scotian Rick Simpson discovered that a cancerous spot on his skin disappeared within a few days of applying an essential oil made from marijuana. Since then, Simpson and others have treated thousands of cancer patients with incredible success. Researchers in Spain have confirmed that THC, an active compound in marijuana, kills brain-tumor cells in human subjects and shows promise with breast, pancreatic and liver tumors. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has no accepted medical use, unlike […]

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