Friday, October 28, 2011

Electric Car a Century Ago

I stumbled across this absolutely fascinating story about a fully electric car with a 100 mile range that was produced in Denver, Colorado, more than a century ago. The Fritchle electric car was designed and built by Oliver Parker Fritchle from 1905-1920 and more than 1500 of the cars were sold, even though the price, around $2500, was high compared to average vehicles of the time. The Fritchle was so well designed that to get publicity, in October and November 1908, Mr. Fritchle drove a car taken straight out of production from Lincoln, Nebraska to New York City, recharging the battery each day at electrical stations or garages, and covering the entire distance in twenty driving days. The only repairs he had to make during the journey were repairing one flat tire, and relining the brakes after a steep mountain descent.

Much of the journey was over rough or
almost non-existent roads

I find it interesting and a little unsettling that a fully electric car was produced, marketed and sold with the technology available in 1907, and yet it has taken more than a century for the large automakers that now dominate the market to even consider further developing and utilizing this technology for mass market automobiles. I can only think that this is because of the huge influence that oil companies have had on our economy and society. Just think about how much damage to the environment and to public health could have been avoided if Fitchle's designs had been adopted and improved on by Ford, GM, and other corporations.

The 1912 Fitchle Tourer
Thanks to @TweetsofOld on Twitter for bringing attention to the history of this fascinating and innovative automobile.

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