The battery electric car was one of the first types of vehicles to be created, tested and sold. Between 1832 and 1839 the Scottish manufacturer Robert Anderson designed the first electric carriage with a quite crude shape.
Professor Sibrandus Stratingh from Groningen, Nederlands, invented an electric car which was built by his collaborator Christopher Becker in 1835. The improvement of storage batteries made by two Frenchmen, Gaston Plante in 1865 and Camille Faure in 1881, enabled the birth of electric vehicles. France and Great Britain were the first nations to support the increased market of electric vehicles. By the end of the 19th century, before the pre-heminence of internal combustion engines, which were strong but polluting, automobiles held many speed and distance records with one charge.
Among the most notable of these records was the breaking of the 100 km/h speed barrier, reached by Camille Jenatzy on April 29th, 1899 in his ‘rocket-shaped’ vehicle Jamais Contente, which reached a top speed of 105.88 km/h. Electric battery cars, produced by the companies Anthony Electric, Baker Electric and Detroit Electric in the early 20th century, were sold more than gasoline cars. Considering the limits of batteries and the insufficient control technique of the charge and traction (made by transistor or thermionic valve), the maximum speed reached by these old electric vehicles was limited to about 32 km/h.
These cars were later sold positively to well-heeled customers as town cars (district or city cars), and were often marketed as suitable vehicles for women drivers due to their ease of operation, as they were cleaner, quieter and did not require mechanical maintenance. The following video shows real images of electric cars produced and sold between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
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