While I have to admit I am very pleased and proud to own a Chevy Volt - a vehicle that has achieved the highest customer satisfaction ratings for a production vehicle for the last two years - I do feel incumbent to remind people that electric vehicles are nothing new. The Baker Electric vehicle was introduced in the early 1900s and was a very popular vehicle with women who found it much more amenable to drive due to the lack of stick shift that required double clutching which required lot of fancy footwork. Thomas Edison purchased one of the first Baker electrics as his first vehicle, and proceeded to redesign the battery to improve the range. With a top speed of around 25 mph and nominal 100 mile range, drivers were thrilled with this silent and elegant (for its day) vehicle.
Jay Leno owns 4 electric vehicles in his extensive collection, and has a fully restored Baker which he drives quite often in the Hollywood Hills. Here’s a video showing him demonstrating and driving it.
So in today’s world where we are celebrating the wonders of the new Tesla automobiles, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and others I think we need to remember that electric vehicles are more than 100 years old at this point at all we have done is make incremental improvements in the design.