Does the 2011 Nissan Leaf leave you feeling uninspired? Does the 2011 Chevrolet Volt appear too aggressive? Is the 2011 Tesla Roadster just too sporty? Do you long for classic looks, big wheels and great all-round visibility?
This weekend an electric car will be sold at an Indianan auction house that will attract admiring glances where ever it goes. But it certainly won’t be able to take advantage of a fast charge station.
It also won’t have any complicated telematics to tell you when to charge up. Nor does it have a range-extended gasoline generator aboard.
But it is finished to an excellent standard, and lists among its feature list all-fabric upholstery, swivelling passenger seat and a top speed of a heady 20 mph. Range is not that far off today’s cars, with a reliable 80 miles possible, even at top speed.
You won’t find this car at your local dealer though, and you may find it a little impractical for the daily drive to work.
Meet the 1931 Detroit Electric Model 97 Brougham.
Detroit Electric made electric vehicles between 1907 and 1939. Aimed squarely at the female driver, the cars offered the freedom of the automobile without the unreliability, smoke and oil of the early gasoline vehicles.
At it’s peak, Detroit Electric was manufacturing 1,000 to 2,000 cars a year. That’s more than many small neighbourhood electric vehicle companies sell per year in America today.
While many electric cars were manufactured during the company’s heyday, only 110 examples of the Detroit Electric are estimated to remain today.
A favourite of Thomas Edison, the Detroit Electric featured either a lead-acid battery pack or, for an additional $600, Edison’s famous nickel-iron battery pack.
While many remaining Edison Electrics retain their original nickel-iron battery pack, “Old Sparky”, the car on sale this weekend, sports a brand new set of modern day lead-acid batteries, just like those used in hundreds of electric car conversions around the world.
We’d love to know who ends up buying this exquisite example of electric car motoring from days gone by.
The lucky winner of the auction will find themselves alongside antique electric car collectors from around the world, including self-confessed celebrity gear head Jay Lenno. While Jay Lenno doesn’t own a Detroit Electric, he does own an electric car dating from the same era, a 1909 Baker Electric.
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The auction takes place this weekend as part of the Auburn Collector Car Auction. You can view it live online.