Did You Know There Are Many Electric Vehicles Over 100 Years Old?

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The time is right for electric cars, in fact the time is critical. -Carlos Ghosn 
Over the past few years, there has been tremendous talk over the creation and sale of electric vehicles. As worries over global warming and an ever-increasing demand for oil rises, it was only a matter of time before public demand for electric vehicles rose as well. But what is interesting is that electric vehicles are nothing new, in fact they have been around since before the Wright brothers took flight.

It is also interesting to note that 100 years ago, there was the same debate over the best means to “fuel” a vehicle. The three best options of the time, two of which remain today, were steam, oil, and electric. Steam engines obviously didn’t keep pace, and at some point electric vehicles fell off as well. But that didn’t mean their creation simply ceased, but rather slowed down.
The following list is of nine different electric vehicles that were produced over 100 years ago, with a brief description of each. What should be remembered here is that electric vehicles are nothing new, and in all honesty, the EV cars being produced today are only marginally more efficient than those made over a century ago.

Many Electric Vehicles Over 100 Years Old?


Morrison 1891
William Morrison is arguably the creator of the first electric vehicle made in the U.S. The Morrison 1891 had a 4-horsepower engine, a top speed of 20 mph, could seat up to 12 passengers, and had a battery life of roughly 50 miles. Mind you, a modern day Chevrolet Volt is able to get around 40 miles per charge, thus making the Volt less capable than a vehicle a century older.

Electrobat 1894
The Electrobat was powered by an adapted ship motor, and weighed around, 4,400 pounds. It first hit the streets in Philidelphia, but had a difficult time dealing with a market that was evenly divided between gas, electric, and horse drawn vehicles. The intention was to produce a fleet of these to use as an electric cab service. But untrained drivers and a lack of maintenance on the vehicles meant that more money was lost in the end than made. The idea was eventually scrapped, as they were unable to recover after their initial folly.  

Roberts 1896
The Roberts electric car was developed in Chicago, and received roughly 40 miles to the charge. The current day owner, who remains anonymous, claims the vehicle still runs like a charm, and has even recently completed a 60-mile round trip from London to Brighton England.

Riker 1900
The Riker 1900 was the first electric vehicle that had comforting accommodations. It featured a voice tube so passengers could communicate with the driver, cabin windows that could be raised and lowered, and electric side lamps. There were a total of 48 battery cells onboard and two electric engines, one located near each rear wheel.

Riker Torpedo 1901
The Riker Torpedo looks like a go-cart rather than a car. But Andrew Riker created this vehicle to be the fastest car on the road, and on November 16, 1901, he accomplished just that. The torpedo was driven on Coney Island, and clocked in around 57 mph, driving one mile in just 63 seconds.

Studebaker 1902
The Studebacker 1902 was originally designed as a bus, with different models introduced for use as electric taxis. The company also made a variety of different styles for the Studebaker electric vehicle. None of which really made any traction in the market though.

Krieger 1906
The 1906 Krieger was originally made in Paris, and US Senator George P. Wetmore was known to own one, and often drove around his home in Rhode Island. The Krieger was one of the first vehicles to introduce regenerative braking, which means the batteries would be recharged when slowing down, and was especially useful when going downhill.

Babcock 1909
The Babcock 1909 made history when the New York Times reported that the vehicle had once traveled 100 miles on a single charge. Though it’s top speed left a lot to be desired, only reaching on average 14-18 mph. This means that the 100-mile journey took around 7 hours to complete.

Bailey 1909
The one well-known characteristic of the Bailey 1909 was that it was durable. During one “endurance” test given, the Bailey was driven up Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, the peak of which sits over 6,000 feet.

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Damien S
About the Author:

The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece, you can follow me on Twitter @MetalPedal. If you live in Colorado, and are in need of a Colorado Springs Auto Mechanic, be sure to check out AAMCOColordo.com for a location nearest you.

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