Edison's 1912 electic car ready to hit the road again

Interesting historical item, here. In 1912, Thomas Edison built 3 prototype electric cars based on the alkaline battery he had invested about 11 years earlier. The vehicles had an array of 15 batteries (2 volts each) and a 30-volt electric motor which could propel the car to about 25 mph. At the time, that was pretty impressive. Edison saw electric cars as the best path for the future because oil was a finite resource that would eventually run out. Of the 3 cars only 1 remains:

Bob Burrell of Chelmsford, Essex, holds the keys to the only remaining Edison electric car and, for almost half a century, that vehicle languished in a London Garage. Now, after eight years of renovations, the 1912 Edison is ready to hit the streets again. With an estimated value of at least £1 million ($1.58 million U.S. at the current exchange rate), Burrell’s pride and joy could very well be the most valuable historic electric car around, and it makes the Tesla Roadster  look downright cheap by comparison. The 1912 electric car, packing 15 two-volt batteries and a 30-volt electric motor, could reach speeds of 25 miles per hour, remarkable for the time. But with a price tag nearly double that of a typical gasoline-powered vehicle back then, Edison’s dream car was simply too pricey to catch on (some things never change).

Yes, well, one can always hope. The thing is, our current battery technology would likely have powered a car like Edison’s to much greater speed and range. We keep adding systems onto the cars, though, so the power requirements go up. I don’t know for sure but I’m guessing a modern vehicle also outweighs Edison’s by a chunk and a half. Between better batteries and fuel cell technology, I continue to place my investment bets on Edison’s vision for the future.

I’m guessing, too, that Burrell might have restored the car to show it would work but I don’t think they’ll actually see it putting along the streets of Chelmsford too soon. Not at that price tag!

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