Saturday, 10 August 2013

Car Charging - Sepia Saturday

There was a time when a car would have been regarded as a newfangled contraption. I'm not sure that the prompt falls into that category.


At a time when we are told that the great motor city of Detroit is in trouble we may need reminding that not all newfangled ideas caught on.

Detroit Electric Car Charging - 1919
(By Cress-Dale Photo Co, Seattle - Library of Congress)

However manufacturers had been long sighted enough to have to have a highly valued electric car. This one with the delightful name of Grandma Ducks Car made it to the Brussels Autoworld Museum in 1916

(By Teesu Mantynen, Salo, Finland - CC BY-SA 2.0)
In this car both the bonnet and boot spaced were used to carry batteries used to propel the car. The Brougham body was typical of American cars which were appreciated in city use for being clean and quiet. They were highly valued for social events such as parties, galas and theatre visits.

We are right to ask whether the car industry has learned anything since.

Detroit cars made it all round the world and here's an early one I would have liked, but it was before my time.

A 1925 Gray Tourer (made in Detroit) in Brisbane, Australia
I know nothing about today's electric cars either in Detroit or in the UK. The local TV in North East England recently reported that 25% of charging points for electric cars in the area had never been used. And only last week there was a report that the Liberal Democrats were considering adopting a policy of banning petrol and diesel cars from 2041. Guess that's an idea that I shall never see - it would make me 104!

For other way out contraptions - newfangled or otherwise - drive over to Sepia-Saturday-189.

21 comments:

tony said...

I never realised that electric cars dated back so far.Maybe the petrol industry has always been trying to supper the idea?

Joan said...

I so chuckled at the photo of the car hooked up to an electrical cord strung into the house. Our family was for the most part raised on high-octane fumes, but we do have a few environmentalist lurking about. One of which was going to purchase a new car. I asked innocently, "Are you going to get one of the new electic models?" Silence and more silence. Finally, her friend popped up with the clincher, "Nope, those wimps don't go fast enough." Guess she will never have an electrical cord running from her house or elsewhere.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I had no idea they made electric cars so long ago. Progress indeed!

Jo said...

Dunno about that Bob, these days 104 and 103 in my case, are fairly achievable. Lots of people live into the hundreds.

There are some good electric cars around, Tesla has one, still very expensive though.

anyjazz said...

Now, those have to be some rare ones!

Little Nell said...

Well, you can add me to te list of those amazed at the fact that electric cars existed that far back - thanks for the education Bob!

Alex Daw said...

Wow - what an amazing story. I love that last photo - not just because it is taken in Brisbane - but because they all look so genuinely happy. If you want to find out more about electric cars follow Robert Llewellyn (that old bloke off the telly) on Google +. He's mad about 'em and will keep you up to date on the latest and greatest. His web series about electric cars is called Car Pool.

Brett Payne said...

I think I'd rather fancy a brougham body car for touring - plenty of all round visibility.

Boobook said...

Wow, those early electric cars are amazing. The things you learn on this group!

Mike Brubaker said...

The electric hybrids are very popular here in the mountains of NC. But the distance is still limited on the battery charge.

There is a great documentary from 2006 called "Who Killed the Electric Car?" which I recommend. It tells the story about how this technology was kept from developing like other inventions.

Alan Burnett said...

I firmly expect you and I to be chugging along in our electric cars in 2014 towards some Yorkshire pub to enjoy a pint and talk about old times

Rosie said...

Bob, those are indeed interesting photos of "electric" cars. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall and caught the first reaction when cars came out, (as opposed to the horse and buggy era)...

Kristin said...

The Grandma Ducks has the shape of a carriage.

Jackie van Bergen said...

Great cars! We have many city carparks now with charging bays for electric cars. I expect we'll see more of that as years go on. Not sure I'll be driving in 2041 either.

Karen S. said...

Very interesting for me too, even if I already did know about the electric cars, coming from a car family and born and raised in Michigan! That last photo is a delight to see their happy group showing off their fine automobile!

Tattered and Lost said...

A friend has an electric car and loves it. He was fortunate to get the charging station for his home for free because he was an early adopter of the car.

I do admit to love trying to get my Prius to drive as much as possible on only the batter. I'll admit to feeling a bit smug as I drive by gas stations.

Tattered and Lost said...

And all three of those cars are beautiful. I'd love to ride around in them, especially the middle one.

Wendy said...

I guess there is nothing new under the sun. Like many of the others, I didn't realize the electric car dated back so far. And it never occurred to me there were public places to recharge - I thought that had to be done at home. Interesting.

diane b said...

Its a shame that the electric cars didn't take off sooner.

TICKLEBEAR said...

I don't own a car but I hear the electric cars are doing fairly well here, but still a novelty.
:)~
HUGZ

Sharon said...

I drive a Hybrid car now, which is very fuel efficient. I also had no idea that electric cars dated back so far.