Link to an interesting article about the electric car ford nearly produced way back before the T.
I had forgotten about this as it is not well published. Anyone else know some details?
I think the story is largely accurate, however it avoids mentioning the fact that electricity simply wasn't available anywhere outside of major cities in the pre - WWI era. As such, the infrastructure to recharge batteries was simply unavailable to more than 80% of the USA. Electrification of rural areas in the USA did not really get into gear until decades later.
Sort of mentioned is the fact that Edison's batteries were very heavy, very large, and not capable of storing very much energy. The same was true of any other kind of battery available then.
The electric car was a non issue by 1909. It remains a novelty today, suitable for short trips around town for people who don't care what it costs.
Edison built a front wheel drive electric vehicle in 1895? That's a new one on me. I don't believe that is true (I don't think Edison ever built an electric car). Henry Morris and Pedro Salmon built a front wheel drive electric in 1894 - the Electrobat. Maybe the author is confused.
To rehash what I've typed before in prior threads (and have now copied and pasted with some minor editing):
Henry Ford's experimentation and flirtation with the production of electric automobiles utilizing Edison nickel iron-batteries including the two experimental prototypes shown in the Wired article is covered in Chapter 11 of the book "Taking Charge: The Electric Automobile in America" by Michael Brian Schiffer, published by Smithsonian Institution Press. Henry Ford's early endeavors in gasoline automobiles is also covered in prior chapters and Thomas Edison and storage battery development and manufacture is covered extensively throughout the book.
It is a well researched, 225 page book with foot notes and an extensive bibliography to back-up the research. It can be purchased new or used via Amazon.com:
My take on the episode is that Henry Ford was not necessarily whole-heartedly interested in manufacturing electric automobiles, but was prodded by Thomas Edison and got involved in order to appease him.
(Also - Thomas Edison was notorious for over-promising and under-delivering in his PR and marketing regarding products that were still in the developmental stage. Edison would make statements about products that were still in the dream stage or developmental stage and were not yet even close to being perfected and many times did not actually reach the consumer market. )
Edison and Henry Ford aside, I recommend the book anyone who is truly interested in educating themselves on the early history of electric automobiles in the U.S..
The book also discusses how earliest electric automobiles were perfected before gasoline automobiles and that electrics were more viable, reliable and practical as commuter transportation in urban areas than gasoline automobiles. However, automobile marketing and ownership in the earliest days was not aimed at the aspects of practical, daily transportation but as playthings of the upper-middle class for pleasure and long-distance weekend touring. As a pleasure vehicle, electrics could not compete.
I have saw this picture several times over the years.But have never saw any specs as in operateing voltage,range of travel and so forth.
Erich and Erik,
Clara Ford's 1914 Detroit Electric:
According to the 1907 Review (Motor Magazine), there were 65 domestic automakers producing electric models. It seems I've heard or read that early on, possibly 1900-1902, the numbers were about the same for number of Steam, Electric and Gas autos manufactured.
There was a Detroit Electric at the Iola Old Car Show.......pretty thing too....... ....... http://www.oldcarsweekly.com/features/early_electrics
There was a Baker Electric runabout on the RM auction a year or two ago at Hershey. It was a stunning car. I think this is it.....
My dad is restoring a 1900 Waverley Electric so I've absorbed a lot via osmosis over the years (and one of the reasons I read the book mentioned in my prior post).
It was one of the first commercially built automobiles owned by a Minneapolis resident.
Swan Turnblad was the first Minneapolis resident to own a commercially built automobile. It was an 1899 Waverley Electric but he did not take delivery until early 1900.
Is it this model?
My dad's car is 1900 Model 8 "Dos a Dos." Driver and passenger in the front seat, two passengers in the back seat face the rear, back to back with the folks in the front seat.
The car in the ad is a 1899 Stanhope. One still survives - it's in the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, IN.
The 1899 and 1900 motors and running gears are essentially the same, but the 1900 is a huskier car.
1899 Waverley Stanhope in Auburn:
The car in the second photo would be fun and easy to make with the right T frame/chassis. And maybe cheap if you just used a set of wood wheels.
Are there more details on the electric motor hp? gearing? etc?
The pictured car that Mattthew G posted above, I believe was built around the early 1910s. Several pieces are similar to model T parts. I am not sure when the first posted car was built. It has been pictured on the forum before and discussed, with some conflicting information given and I do not know the right answer.
The one (again) by Mattthew G, has what appears to be a worm drive under the differential.
Electric cars and wagons go back to at least the 1840s. Andrew L Riker was one of the worlds leading electric car engineers during the 1890s and won one of the first AAA sanctioned races ever. It was held on Long Island. He beat some of the best gasoline and steam cars of the day. Although he had for years been one of the leading proponents of electric cars, only about two years later, he dropped them and became the chief engineer for Locomobile. They had been among the best of the steam cars since buying the Stanley patents in 1899. In about 1904, both had seen the "writing on the wall" and got together to build one of the best gasoline automobiles of the day.
So much amazing history!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I was searching information for electric cars and by coming here I got good information about these cars.
I believe that the car pictured below is Thomas Edison's Electric Car.
I took the photo on a recent visit at the Automobile Hall of Fame adjacent to The Henry Ford at 21400 Oakwood Blvd. Dearborn.
Thanks for the photo of Edison's car. I'd like to find out more information about this vehicle.
One Hemming blog says it was built in 1895, another says it dates to 1889. Elsewhere on the internet, it says it was built in 1898-99, the exact date being unknown.
I question those dates; however, 1899 seems more realistic. I also wonder if it was built under the Edison umbrella or if it was built by a third party and purchased by Edison.
The controller being out in the open is rather odd. They were typically mounted under the seat and hidden by the leather fall.
I wonder if the car had been part of the collection of the Henry Ford Museum at one time? (I'm jumping to conclusions but the black tires on the car are indicative of that.)
My dad is a member of the early electric vehicle registry - I'll see if the car is listed on the register.