While bumbling around the internet looking for something else, I came across this:
Further searching turned up an old forum thread from nine years ago on it but it quickly turned political and weird (and gave irrefutable evidence that Tesla Motors would be gone within a couple months) and really I'm more interested in the old car than people's theories on why we shouldn't have electric cars now.
So what all is really known about these early Ford electrics? I've always thought it would be neat to have a very early electric car but after looking at the prices for even a basket case I figured my best bet would be to eventually do a replica using T parts where appropriate. Now I see Ford beat me to it by well over a century so I'm interested in how he did it.
Is much more known about the project outside of what's in the article? Are there more pictures or drawings of where they were headed?
The hard part to get handle on with electric cars is the indirect cost. Kind of like the 10 year old that says when asked where does hot water come from? out of the tap. The environmental costs, and infrastructure costs go unmentioned when talking electric cars. Each time energy is converted from one form to another, some is lost. The internal combustion automobile is reported to be 45% efficient.
Can someone else tells how efficient an electric car is?
Come on Erik , you've already taken the thread away from the original question into the very area that Tim didn't want to go.
The question is ... What is known about the Edison/Ford electric vehicle design?
The article tells the background but is short on technical detail.
The second prototype EF (for Electric Ford) could be relatively simple to recreate, it seems to consist of a standard T frame and front axle, TT rear diff inverted, I'm almost tempted to start one, if i didn't have enough projects already..
I would really like to build a electric replica but as you said above Leo,we all have so many projects already.I don't think that worm drive is as heavy made as a TT.Also the front cross member does not look right for a T.
I noticed that the front spring clamps looked to be a set of rears installed upside down. Zooming in I noticed the whole front axle isn't T at all. Take a look at how the kingpins are designed on it.
Does anyone recognize any parts on the thing? Looks like a mostly standard T steering column and most of the frame appears to be T-based. Is that the seat from an open runabout?
Jalopnik ran a story about this project in 2010. The article was written by Daniel Strohl from the Hemmings Blog. The article says Eugene Farkas came up with the chassis and used many T parts.
There should be no surprise that Henry Ford was tinkering with an electric vehicle. A hazard guess - from about 1912 to 1917 there was interest in electric vehicles world wide. Why did not Mrs Ford drive an electric cat.
In the States the metropolitan area around New York City had a map prepared showing available charging stations for electric vehicles. And this was in 1913.
There was a publication from the Boston Motor Club entitled "Pastime Journeys for Electric Automobiles." Published by the Electric Motor Car Club. It listed the location of charging stations in the Boston area.
Horseless age for 1912 stated that a Flanders Electric pathfinder had a range of 75 miles on a full charge.
https://books.google.com/books?id=tylMAQAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA84&dq=electric+cars+1913 +motor&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjnzfzOueHXAhVGTSYKHU3CBvs4ChDoAQg2MAM#v=onepage&q=e lectric%20cars%201913%20motor&f=false
I believe at the turn of the last century, there was about a 1/3, 1/3 1/3 mix of electric, steam and internal combustion automobiles.
Henry Ford worked on alcohol, as well as other fuels, as early as 1906, responding to Standard Oil's stranglehold on gasoline prices and a change in ethanol rules by congress.
Henry Ford was an innovator, and I can see him taking interest in electric automobiles.
On another note, Baker made some of the most interesting, racey electrics before 1910 I've seen.
Bob .... the electric publication for 1917 discusses the conversion of gasoline vehicles to electric and there is a discussion of coal gasification for fuel as the price of gasoline is up.
Oh did I mention this was December 1917 --- nine months after the United States entered World War I. Another 100 year old Anniversary Date!
https://books.google.com/books?id=tylMAQAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA192&dq=edison+++%22+elec tric+vehicles%22+++++ford&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjo4uOpyuHXAhUG5yYKHfiZC8sQ6AEIXD AJ#v=snippet&q=ford&f=false
George, It was my understanding that Henry Ford purchased this Detroit Electric for Mrs. Ford.
Consider this, the time 1914, Ford Motor Company is interested in selling a new small ELECTRIC cyclecar, constructed by Ford and powered by an Edison storage battery. The cars to be on the market by 1914. The new company will be headed by Edsel Ford. The car to be available 2015 priced at $600.00.
(Accessory and Garage Journal page 7, February 1914.)
Which brings us to this found in Motor Age January 1914. Henry Ford was seen driving around in Detroit in a "miniature car of the cycle car type." Ford denies any story that the company will be manufacturing such a car to be sold for $350.00. Also in January an article about Ford and Edison manufacturing an electric vehicle. According to the article several test vehicles are on the road.
The "miniature car of the cycle car type" was this...
I had wondered when I was looking around for info on the electric Ford if it was in any way tied in with the development of the cyclecar. I know the little Ford shown above was its own project, right down to a unique miniature T engine that only used two main bearings on the crank shaft. I guess the question then might be whether the cyclecar could have been a way to possibly salvage a failed electric car project. I don't really know enough about either project to even speculate with confidence so I'll leave that up to someone better versed in Ford history.
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 above posts is covered in Chapter 11 of the book "Taking Charge: The Electric Automobile in America" by Michael Brian Schiffer and 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:
It was originally published in 1994 and re-printed in 2010.
After reading the book years ago, 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, for those who like early automotive history, the book dispels many myths that have circulated over the years regarding electric vehicles in general.
Interesting that Mrs. Ford had an electric car to drive herself.
Mrs. Edison also had an electric car.
I believe both had Detroit Electrics.
I'l try to post picture of the Detroit Electric at the Glenmont Garage that belonged to Mina Edison.
During this time, gasoline, steam, and electric powered cars were being produced, so it is plausible that anyone of means would have any combination of cars in their "stable"
Here is a video produced by the NPS,
Specific garage info at 15:05