If you’re in the market for an electric car, the chances are you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you’re going to need to spend upwards of $30,000 in order to get a modern, convenient electric car. 

If that’s too much, you can always go second hand with any number of previous-generation or self-converted electric cars on popular Internet auction sites like eBay. 

But over the past few months we’ve noticed a steady rise in price of much older electric cars: ones made long before even the famous EV1 was built. 

We’re of course talking about vintage cars, vehicles that were made at a time when gasoline cars were difficult to maintain, required inordinate amounts of fettling, and were smelly, complicated and noisy.

Presumably driven by a renewed interest in electric cars, these vintage cars are being sold from private collections and given new lives, as museum pieces or passing onto new, eager, electric-car-loving owners.  

Take this particularly fine example of a 1918 Milburn Electric. 

One of only 40 survivors, it has a built-in charger, new batteries and a believed 3,752 genuine miles. 

Much like the 2012 Nissan Leaf, it can drive for between 80 and 100 miles on a single charge, but has a more sedate cruising speed of 20 mph. 

1918 Millburn Electric: Ebay

1918 Millburn Electric: Ebay

Sit in the drivers’ seat -- which is actually in the rear of the car as was the fashion at the time -- and you’ll find no steering wheel, infotainment system or smart phone connectivity. 

Instead, you’ll find two levers: one for speed, and one for steering. 

With just a few hours to go at the time of writing, the car is currently sitting at a reserve-not-met price of $20,400. For those interested, that’s only nine thousand dollars cheaper than a base-level 2012 Mitsubishi i.

Admittedly, this particular vintage car isn’t quite the mind-blowing $550,000 price commanded by an 1899 Columbia Electric Laundaulet at auction last year, but then again, it is a sprightly 19 years younger. 

Of course, no-one would ever dream buying a vintage electric car to use daily, but we do hope this particular Milburn Electric finds a home where it is appreciated, loved, and regularly driven. 

After nearly 100 years, we think it only right and proper. Don’t you? 


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